Earned media coverage is a key component to successful marketing communications programs. After all, who doesn’t want third-party validation of their story? It builds both brand credibility and awareness. The path to securing that validation, though, can be a long and winding one. It takes time to build media relationships and secure quality coverage.
Instead of waiting for company announcements that warrant press releases, there are ways you can empower your agency team to consistently engage with target media contacts. Make it easier on yourself and your marketing communications or PR agency by incorporating these six strategies to achieve a more effective media relations program.
1. Supply your agency with regular content
Media relations wins do not come by news announcements alone. The more information you give your agency, the more fodder they have for proactive pitching and creative story ideas. Your agency should be your eyes and ears to the world outside of your company’s walls. This vantage point helps them see your content and data in a new light against the backdrop of current events and industry trends. With access to more information, they can seek out opportunities you would have otherwise missed. Consider sharing nuggets like:
- Updates on new customers, partners, or executives
- Customer case studies that prove your value and differentiation
- Interesting anecdotes from the sales team – did a prospect get excited about something?
- Internal organizational changes that might signal shifts in your industry
- The latest mantra your CEO is championing
2. Incorporate research
Work with your agency to develop original research that tells a story no one else can. For example, conduct a survey of your customers or other relevant audiences. Your agency can pitch these findings to media outlets, use them to build a thought leadership campaign, or even create content like infographics, reports, and webinars. Incorporating primary research and your own expert analysis into your strategy helps position you as a thought leader in your space.
3. Give your agency more autonomy
You won’t always have hard news stories to share. Relinquish a little control and let your agency run with proactive pitching ideas to secure a more regular cadence of media coverage throughout the year. To start, you can open the door for newsjacking – piggybacking off a breaking news story – by developing a list of topics your spokespeople can speak to, if an opportunity arises. Articles earned proactively can drive a steady stream of interest for your sales team and act as a consistent touchpoint with all of your key audiences. They also serve as engaging content for customer newsletters and social media campaigns.
4. Have an opinion
Don’t be afraid to take a hard stance on industry issues and trending topics. Putting your thoughts and opinions out there can grow your presence as a thought leader. Coverage of you or your subject matter experts, by extension, elevates the credibility and value of your company. These pieces can also be great conversation starters on social media channels to further engagement on key topics.
5. Don’t underestimate the value of industry publications
Securing national media coverage is always exciting, but it’s not the only way – and sometimes not even the best way – to achieve your marketing goals. Use industry publications to reach a more targeted audience and speak directly to your expertise. This coverage can build brand recognition, strengthen your SEO, and act as a stepping stone to national publications. Top-tier journalists do their homework and can read more about you in industry publications than they may glean from your website.
6. Understand it takes time and space to get results
Why is that? Because relationships aren’t built in a day – and great media relations professionals build and nurture relationships with the reporters you need to know. It’s hard to be patient, I know. But believe me, it’s worth it. Trust that your agency is always working on your behalf, even if they’re not pitching a news announcement.
A solid media relations strategy that garners consistent results does not rely solely on news releases and media tours. The agencies who rock at media relations know this, but getting next-level results is a joint effort that can hinge on the way you approach the partnership. Work with your agency to come up with the mix of strategies that’s right for your business, and your media relations program will take off.