Earlier this week InkHouse participated in a PR News Webinar called Pitching the Media: How to Cut Through The Clutter. Our colleagues on the panel included Tracy Schario, communications officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts, who talked about why it’s essential to be aware of major news events – either to plug into them or to avoid pitching at a time when journalists are otherwise occupied; and Jane Carpenter, head of public relations for online home retailer Wayfair, discussed how to build personal relationships with journalists.
For our part, InkHouse explained why it’s important to move beyond text when pitching, to include things like graphics and film as a way to stand out. Here’s some background: Newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30 percent since its peak in 2000. But media properties from Forbes, to TechCrunch, VentureBeat, the Atlantic Monthly, Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post, and Wired (to name a few) all publish contributed content. This means that news outlets are hungry for journalistic content. And yet, it should not all be text based because 90 percent of the information transmitted to our brains is visual and we process that content 60,000 times faster than text.
Social media trends are reflecting this insight as well. Just look at the surging popularity of Instagram, which hit 100 million users earlier this year, and marked 5 million videos within the first 24 hours of debuting the offering. The good news is there is tremendous opportunity for publishing content. The trick is to make it stand out from the very crowded market.
Here are just three of the tips we shared on how to do this:
1. Make the content journalistic. Social content is about how you think, not what you do. When companies "publish promotional information or tired case studies masquerading as thought leadership, results fall flat,” according to Forrester Research. We agree.
2. Use data to validate your point of view. Whether it is your own proprietary information, a partnership with a third party, or aggregating others’ data, backup your claims with facts.
3. If you are launching a new product, consider pitching a video instead of a just sending a press release. News sites are often hungry for visual content. That goes for infographics, too. The bottom line is social content brings people to your digital media properties by providing fuel for engaging with the press more regularly; driving coverage in and of itself; and illuminates your perspective, which fuels interest for quotes and coverage. Social content is also great because you can control it – the message and the distribution.