Perhaps I’ve been watching too much gymnastics lately (the Final Five is FIERCE), but a successful media relations program is like nailing a perfect balance beam routine...stay with me here.
Contrary to popular belief, not all media coverage is created equal. It is imperative to plan for - and secure - the right balance of coverage that not only drives awareness and buzz, but also boosts demand generation. Attention grabbing media coverage, like back handsprings and other tumbles, can shock and awe the audience, but creative choreography (other forms of coverage placements like thought leadership and contributed content) help to connect the dots that create a well-rounded and cohesive media relations program.
Here are a few tips on how to maintain a balanced media relations
Set realistic goals
This may sound intuitive, but on a monthly or quarterly basis, take some time to talk to your team about objectives. Is your goal to produce material for your sales team to share with prospects? Perhaps you suggest pulling back on creative initiatives and allocate more time to sector-specific press campaigns. Be thoughtful about making sure that each period of time has a unique goal to keep ideas fresh and coverage varied.
Pick a theme and adjust accordingly
A sound media strategy (a.k.a the perfect routine) communicates messages to different audiences that are connected by a central theme. Using your goals as a guide, map out your core theme and identify which audiences you are meant to reach and find angles that they will find interesting.
For example, if you are working on a campaign for a healthcare initiative, your message is going to be very different in speaking with patients versus providers. If you need some help doing this, don’t be afraid to tap your internal industry experts like engineers and the sales team - they have valuable viewpoints!
Here at InkHouse, one of the rules we live by is to think beyond the press release (my colleague Jill explains why here). There are so many ways to communicate these days, be sure to take advantage of them! Traditional media hits and relationships with reporters remain important, but utilizing other mediums of media coverage like contributed content (paid and earned) and company blog posts can help communicate controlled messages. Social campaigns should also run parallel to media campaigns. You never know where you are going to catch the eye of a key reporter or potential prospect.
Trust your data to find out what works
Here’s the situation: You are tasked with the ask to be featured in a tier-1 publication like the New York Times. Being the savvy PR pro that you are, you land a beautifully written NYT piece that appears in both print and digital. Everyone, including you, is thrilled! Until reporting season when you find that your hit in a trade publication drove more traffic to the site than any other media hit that quarter.
Use Google Analytics and social media monitoring platforms (like Brandwatch) to see which stories are driving traffic, clicks, shares and conversations. Find out what publications are beneficial to you and establish relationships with respective reporters. Not to say that top tier hits are not a big deal, but if your goal is to increase demand generation, you need bring information to where that target audience is.
Keep these tips in mind for a balanced media relations campaign. They could be the ticket to a perfect score!