There was a time when marketing was only about advertising. Buying a tv commercial would secure to any company a place in heaven, and PPC campaigns actually worked. During this time, you could launch any brand just sticking to it a big advertising budget and see it skyrocketing. Marketing campaigns would focus on awareness: people knowing that there is a new restaurant around the corner or a new cleaning product was enough to guarantee sales.
But the dramatic increase of competition, as well as a general maturation of buyers purchase decisions, has moved the attention of marketing more into the evaluation stage of the purchase funnel. Nowadays knowing that there is a company A selling a product A does not drive the equation to a = > sales. You need an added component, a credibility base, thus: knowing that there is a company A selling a product A which I believe is excellent = > sales.
And here another point, people don’t believe advertising, but they trust their family and friends, their social networks online, or journalists. When credible sources are talking about that brand, people will want to know what they are talking about and will look for it with a base of trust towards it.
Thus, the marketing dilemma presented here is: how to make people and authoritative source talking about me? If you are not Microsoft, Google or the AI inventor, unless you take critical steps to make this happening, it will not happen. And before you start making aimless attempts for achieving this level of attention – also called publicity – there are several doubts that need to be cleared out.
There are basically two types of groups to be targeted for leveraging credibility for your product or service: social networks (influencers) and media (media coverage). In this guide we focus only on the second group, although we will be briefly describing influencers and influencer campaigns on chapter 6. Also, we will be focusing on organic (or earned) media coverage, meaning media coverage where the editor or journalist naturally mention or feature the brand. This differs from branded or sponsored media coverage where the outlet gets paid for mentioning or featuring the brand.
“Essentially, advertising is paid media, and PR is earned media. Advertisers…decide what the ad will say, how it will look, where it will appear and how many times it will appear. They control the message.
News coverage is seen as more trustworthy precisely because the message cannot be controlled. The story is being told by a trusted third party.”.
The first step is understanding the different types of format that media offer, focusing on the other chapters of this guide on how to achieve them. This chapter will help you answer the following questions:
- Which media placement formats exist?
- What are the differences between them?
- What advantages and disadvantages does each one of them have?
- What are they best suited for?
- How can I successfully get them?
- What should I do after I receive them?
The most common types of media formats are press releases, mentions and features.
Press releases are, putting it simply, information about a newsworthy event that is later used to contact journalists. The main difference of Press Releases compare to the other formats is that these get distributed ONLY to press releases sites.
I common call I get sounds like “can you get my press release on Forbes?”
And I am like “Forbes has no section on their site for press releases”
The client “okay, then I want my press release to be featured in CCN”
And me again “we can’t feature your press release in CCN, but we can certainly help you feature you or your company. As per your press release, I can have this distributed to press release sites.”
A press release is normally a piece of news shared by the organization itself directly written by them, and providing all the details about a launch or a particular event. With a press release, readers will get to know the company and the great things they are doing. Press releases, however, have a very low impact. As the piece is written and provided directly by the company and not written by a journalist, it has 0 authority value. Also, these are shared normally to PR aggregator rather than news sites, as a result generating low traffic. But let’s summarize advantages and disadvantages.
- It can reach our objective public very quickly.
- It is normally provided at a low cost.
- Might be targeted to certain locations, increasing your chances of reaching your target audience;
- Although is very questionable whether Press Releases has a direct impact on SEO, they do provide lots of backlinks which certainly helps your metrics.
- There is no credibility added from a specific media outlet or journalist.
- Most editors ignore press releases when writing their pieces.
- Traffic generated through press releases is normally very low.
When should we use it?
The ideal moments would be the launching of a new line of products or services or an event such as a speech, a party or a charity event. You could also combine this with video PR previewing the avenue of your event.
Every time someone talks about your brand in social media, an online publication or a blog, you have gotten a mention.
They are characterized for being more informal since anyone can generate a mention on any website. However, they contribute greatly to your media reputation, so being informal does not reduce in any way their utility.
As we have reported on here the most commune types of mentions are brand and quote mentions:
Quote mention: the mention is introduced through a quote from a company representative. Sample:
“When it comes to reputation management, timing is key.”, says Roberto Liccardo, CEO of GoodNoon, an award winning marketing company. “The more reactionary your response appears, the more damaging it is to your reputation. By getting ahead of these things, you can control how they unfold and avoid the dominance of conjectures in the media, instead of cold facts.”
Brand mention: the mention is introduced only through a backlink. Sample:
For instance, the goodnoon protocol provides a framework for developers to build powerful dapps, enabling everyone to easily authenticate and manage their digital or real-world assets (such as original content, ID, university degree, in-game item or a house) on the blockchain. This can also help with gathering and verifying all types of data, including news and other information shared online.
- Get immediate feedback on how people perceive your brand, as well as a sense of your online visibility.
- Positive mentions establish a relationship of trust and increase your credibility.
- Mentions GREATLY help SEO if they link back to your website.
- Mentions help you become a point of reference in the industry.
- They can be hard to track, although as presented earlier online tools might help in this direction.
- If the mentions are negative, they will have the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.
- You cannot control directly if people will mention you.
In the web, in the eyes of Google and to those of your clients, the more mention you receive, the better. However, since you cannot really control the feedback they express, you should develop together with your media coverage and PR plan a customer service improvement plan to make sure your brand is well perceived through the web.
This type of media coverage is characterized by being more elaborate.
It usually has a deeper structure, since they don’t only introduce a brand, but also help the reader to embrace its culture, to like its concepts, idea, and develop a relationship with that specific brand.
Features give a deeper view of a business and company so they help people to link to with their vision in a much a stronger way that mentions and press releases can do.
- Features provide a lot of information regarding a brand.
- People who read a feature will feel compelled by the brand.
- The feature turns a brand into a reference for your industry.
- Most companies don’t qualify for features. Thus, hiring a PR agency is often needed to achieve this type of coverage.
- Features come with a high level of competition.
- To obtain features it is needed to have market traction, which means there needs to be evidence about what you are saying.
When should we use it?
A PR agency will help you to feature your brand, making sure that you have something worth sharing with tangible results.
Features often come with statistics, research, and expert opinions so make sure you are able to provide these.
How can we generate media news?
Since you cannot control media news directly, the best way to influence others is through the uniqueness of your brand. However, offering the best service is not enough, and sometimes it is not even necessary.
What we should focus, instead, is in making relations with the appropriate people. Once our media reputation starts growing, we should see an increased flow of coverage.
Let’s walking into some ideas to generate media coverage for the specific formats described.
- A newsworthy event.
If you try to ask for a press release for an irrelevant new, you will soon find out the consequences. So this step is the most important one and cannot be ignored.
If nothing worth telling has happened, then do not tell it.
- Write the statement you are going to send.
You have to make sure that 60% of your content focuses on answering six key questions that will allow the editor to see it is newsworthy.
Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
Once you have the answers in your press release, you have to write about the details. 35% of the information will focus on these, while the remaining 5% will explain some background information.
If you fail to follow this pattern, you will get ignored.
- Send the statement to your chosen media outlets.
It is important to consider your target audience. You can study which people usually read a specific newspaper or webpage in order to aim effectively.
If you pick one with public interested in your brand, you can already consider you have succeeded.
- Make sure to have your website and social media in order for visitors.
The purpose is drawing attention, so once you have it, be quick to make said audience yours. You have to engage them immediately after they read the new.
Even if they just share it with friends, it will be a valuable resource, so take advantage of it.
Rules are a bit different for mentions since anyone can make them. However, they are just as strict.
- Encourage them.
You can use your social media to interact with your audience.
There are plenty of methods, but make sure each time you publish something, you ask people for their opinion. Use polls and creative pictures to make people share and interact. Create interesting content that is worth sharing.
If you keep giving in your interactions, you will also start receiving feedback.
- Track your mentions.
This step can be complicated without strategies. Therefore, before you pick a tool, you have to understand where will most of our mentions come from.
Social media are some of the most common sources, but you should also stay alert for any blog or website that backlink to you.
In general lines, the tool you choose should not only track mentions but be able to do sentiment analysis to determine if the mention was positive or negative. In this way, you will have an idea of your media reputation and what do consumers think of your brand.
Once you start receiving more mentions, you will not be able to read each one so this will give you more practical feedback.
Some tools to consider are:
Mention – This service tracks keywords. If you track your brand’s name, you will receive a mention through email or push notification each time someone mentions it. It looks all over the Internet and has different plans according to the number of mentions. It does also include a sentiment analysis.
Buzzsumo – It allows you to track your brand, but it also extends to competitors, keywords, authors, domains, and backlinks. You can set content alerts or create a personalized dashboard to see them all together.
Hootsuite – Aside from handling your social channels, this tool can help you to set streams with Mentions as a filter. You can do it for each one of your social media, as well.
If you need any other tool, you can review this article for more information.
Before you even start to contact journalists, you need to cover several points.
- Have something worth talking about.
It is not enough to have breathtaking news. What you tell needs to be mind-changing at some level.
- Gather enough information to back up your statements.
Find experts in the topic to interview, research for statistics or studies that could be useful, and find satisfied customers who can talk about what you have done.
You are taking a huge part of the work out of their shoulders. Even if they prefer to research on their own, this will show you are truly providing a story worth telling –and a true one.
- Study where do you want to see this media news published.
Each publication has its own style and has different criteria for what they call good. So make sure to study the patterns and see where does your story fit.
- Make sure to be attractive.
Since you are going to have competition, help the journalist to envision the story. In this way, they will be personally interested in publishing it.
How to take advantage of your media coverage?
Once you convince someone else to talk about you in a positive light, you are halfway through.
Your company has increased its credibility, there is a good chance to increase your visitors on your website or social channels, and you can feel happy your company is worth writing about.
However, if you stop there, you will not reach as many people as you could have, and all the effort will vanish too quickly.
So, the key is to act immediately. If you actively promote the media placements generated, you will see better results.
Ideas for promotion of press releases and features
Be ready to mobilize your marketing resources. If you start a campaign, more people will read these articles and share with their social circle.
Share through your own social media channels. When doing so, always credit both the journalist and the media outlets.
Take advantage of hashtags. These useful tools will help the news to reach relevant audiences.
Be sure to feature some excerpts in your own website. The best place to do it is either on your blog or your news section. As per usual, make sure to give credits and only show a little part of the work.
Give your followers more information about the topic –if you share the article, you can follow up with subsequent posts where you supplement with videos or pictures, for example. This will help you to keep interested for a longer time.
Use social media advertising and sponsor the link to the article. You can use articles or just plain ads for this task.