Marketing and PR greatness must include equal parts intelligence, creativity and a focus on results. But there’s one more important ingredient necessary to help you stand out: enthusiasm.
Serena Ehrlich from BusinessWire has all of these characteristics and at the Digital Summit LA conference, she shared a cornucopia of practical advice about media relations and promotion of news content with zest and gusto.
Here are a few highlights.
It’s common sense and supported by research that industry media is a source of news and trusted information for buyers of every kind. Consumers and journalists have changed right along with the technology used to discover, consume and engage with content.
Therefore, it’s essential that marketing and communications professionals empathize with their audience to understand their preferences and give them what they want.
Because newsrooms have shrunk and journalists are overwhelmed with bad pitches along with a news cycle that runs 24/7 it’s a challenge to stand out. But no fear, you can really increase your chances of successful media pickups by following a few news release tips from Serena:
- Include usable support data
- Be interesting
- Be relevant to target audience
- Be catchy
- Include quotes
- Include multimedia
Of course, outbound media pitching isn’t the only way journalists can be exposed to your news content. Search engines and social networks can deliver thousands of additional readers that are actively looking for information that your brand has to give.
That means making sure news releases and newsroom content is optimized for the right keywords and promoted through social media. Serena suggested using Google Trends to find keywords to add to your release headlines to increase opens, which is great. You can also use tools like keywordtool.io, Moz Keyword Explorer or if you have a Google AdWords account, their Keyword Planner. (we’ve covered press release optimization extensively here in the past in case you want to venture that way)
Serena brought up that since journalists are increasingly judged on the traffic or page view performance of the articles they write, be sure to let them know when they cover your story, that you will share what they write across your social networks. If they know you’ll help promote the article, they might be more inclined to use you for the story and again in the future.
When it comes to social media promotion, Serena stressed the importance of earning trust. How do you do that? Here are her tips:
Share smart content:
– News releases and coverage
– New ideas
– Stats and data
– Ask provocative questions
Share happy content:
– Case studies
– User generated content shares
– CSR content
– Employee life
Share negative-fix content:
– How can you solve this pain point?
– Share consequences
Social networks are where people spend their time, period. And to engage with customers, brands need to be where the customers are. To help you promote your news content where people are actually spending time, Serena shared these tips for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and YouTube:
LinkedIn Tips: Professional Competition
– Link with coworkers: Trigger LinkedIn’s algorithm by sharing updates simultaneously
– Include contact information in your release: LinkedIn promotes people mentioned in news releases
– Use LinkedIn blog opportunities to reach new audiences and drive traffic via company blog teaser
– Write content that includes the 6 Ws, you, lists, hacks, psychology, careers, talent and multimedia
Twitter Tips: Smart, Clever, First
– Format: 118-character count – include a headline, link, comments
– News content types to post on Twitter: Stats, releases, coverage
– Don’t forget to use relevant hashtags – up to 3
– Include up to 4 images, GIF or video
– Join hashtag chats
– Add Influencers to Twitter lists
– Create RT DMs groups – people you can reach out to for mutual sharing of content
Facebook Tips: Personal, Smart, Visual
– Increase Your Reach
– Facebook parses content by type
– Facebook matches word use in updates
– Use free audience targeting
– Upload video in early afternoon
Use Facebook Live for reach:
– 10 minutes in length
– Include surprise material
– Comment pinning pending
Be sure to try Facebook Notes for the SEO value
Reddit Tips: Passionate, Smart, Informed
– Reddit has a large audience with 45,000 targeted communities
– Share links to drive traffic, but be sure to participate with the Reddit community first to build relationships (don’t just dump your links)
– Only share relevant information
Instagram Tips: Fame, Recognition
– Instagram is a visual social network, so be sure to use high quality or interesting imagery
– Showcase behind the scenes, physical products, physical locations
– Highlight employee engagement
On Instagram, be sure to:
– Sign up for a business page
– Drive traffic via URL in profile or Stories
– Be descriptive
– Use hashtags (up to 30)
– Like other people’s images to increase interactivity
Pinterest Tips: Showing off + Smart
– Pinterest is the most aspirational network
– It is very focused on B2C, but there are opportunities for B2B
– Extremely high CTR
On Pinterest, be sure to:
– Fuel the smart board
– Be hyper-targeted
– Be descriptive
– Use hashtags
Snapchat Tips: Unvarnished Truth
– 71% of Snapchat users are 18-34 years old.
– Users have an average of 15 friends
– To maximize your impact on Snapchat, buy a geofilter!
On Snapchat, be sure to:
– Provide VIP/exclusive access to content
– Be highly relevant with real time discussion
– Include offers and coupons
– Consider takeovers
YouTube + BizWireTV Tips: Video News
– 33% of YouTube searches are for news
– YouTube TV is launching in 2017
On YouTube, be sure to:
– Create content for all sales funnel steps
– Determine what your audience watches in long form and shorten it
– Create a video of text content
-Try FB live to announce news
– Try www.gifyoutube.com
– Try Sponsorships with BizWireTV
There’s a lot to think about if you want to do well with your news content across so many social channels. Hopefully these tips are useful for your efforts at getting news content noticed by journalists through both outbound and inbound efforts.
You can connect with Serena on Twitter @Serena and on LinkedIn.
This is the first of two posts from the recent Digital Summit Los Angeles conference I attended. The second will feature Loren McDonald of IBM (Is Cognitive Technology the End of Marketing As We Know It?).