Now that you know what Earned Media is, you can start to achieve it. But the trick to gaining PR is first to understand that it will not happen overnight. Until you have a well-defined brand and a consistent message, your mission will not be spread by the masses. You need to seem credible and confident in what you offer before others start to believe in you too. So how do you build this credibility? It all starts with your networks and knowing who you want your brand to reach. Defining and understanding your audience may be the single most important part of any research phase. If your business can’t identify the type of people who buy your product and absorb your content, you’ll never be able to get your message in front of the right people.
When it comes down to it, it's all about “Getting In Where You Fit In.” Every product or service has its own place in a industry, a target audience and a whole experience created around it. And if you leverage your positioning correctly, you can then begin your efforts. When you are a smaller business, quality over quantity will really help you set your place in a given industry, which will make it easier for you to earn PR. It’s all about reaching the right network and providing those consumers with timely, valuable and credible content. Once you know where you fit in, you can start your PR efforts.
ENGAGEMENT > SIZE
So how do you get in? If you have a smaller market to work with like Bozeman, the marketing home base of Total BS Media, make sure you know how the market works. Does it change seasonally? What does it currently have? What does it need? What are some of the events in the community your customers attend? Activities they enjoy? Places they shop? Dissecting your audience allows you to drive more targeted and lead specific campaigns, giving you the ability to deliver the perfect piece of content which will, in turn, reach your audience and can get you directly into your customer’s world. They will then see you as a brand that they can trust to not only deliver trustworthy content but trustworthy products/services too.
If you have a larger target market, consider a smaller subset to target within each campaign strategy. Cultivate your networks! Work every angle of your product. What industries can there be customer crossover? What kind of markets will you appeal to? Understand the benefits you present to every network. Are you locally-owned, women-owned, sustainably made? You can then work these unique selling points and broaden your reach. Work it!
Once you’ve identified your audience, it’s much easier to determine the types of topics that will reach them best. Start by identifying the top five media outlets locally and nationally that fit with the target audience you’ve selected and look at pieces of their top performing content. Follow along on their social profiles and get inside the head of their readers. You can then figure out what kind of content you need to be producing. Understanding the type of content that performs well on a site or in a magazine gives you two insights. First, it indicates that the audience finds it appealing and consumes this kind of information well. Second, it gives you a look into what kind of topics these media outlets cover. If you unveil the topics that perform best, you have a recipe to create tailored content that will both garner media coverage and resonate with your audience.
WAYS TO BUILD YOUR PR:
Once you know what outlets you want to be placed in and have done your homework in deciding what message you want your brand to present, you can begin to pitch your company to appropriate outlets. Need help finding these contacts? There are multiple web-based databases that provide you with current press/media contacts. Some, like cision, come with a price tag. Others like Contactable and HARO are more affordable and help you stay in the know with what kind of content reporters and journalists are looking for. Chances are, they are looking for you! You can even go Sherlock and find editor names and sometimes even emails on LinkedIn. We will go over the art of the pitch in the next post of our series. (P.S.It might come with a downloadable sample pitch)!
Sometimes when doing your PR you have to start small. Although you have an awesome new idea/product/business that you think everyone will fall in love with, it takes a lot to gain that trust from editors and journalists. They need to know that you are standing on your own two feet before they put you in front of all of their readers. There is nothing wrong with starting small, but dreaming big. And in the digital age that we live in, opportunities do not only have to be in print. Introducing an influencer campaign into your strategy can not only gain you an incredible amount of views on your content, but the ROI is high as influencer/blogger collaborations require a significantly lower investment (sometimes just a simple product sample) than a paid advertisement.
In today’s media game, it’s not enough to get noticed on the media outlets your audience follows; you also have to get in front of the people they find most influential. People like people, and people are more willing to take advice on products and services from others whom they find influential. Influencers don’t have to be your brand advocates, but someone who is considered an expert in your given field. Find a blogger that posts about what your brand would post about. Reach out to them and explain why their readers would benefit from learning more about what you have to offer. Remember, it’s not about you. Convince them how you will provide value to their blog. If it’s a good fit, chances are the process will be quick and painless and now your brand has exposure to a whole new audience in the shareable world. And because the blogger culture is so social media based, they will most likely share their blog post on their social channels for you as well which will in turn give you automatic content that you can use on your own profiles to generate even more buzz. Awesome!
We love this approach Jergens took by utilizing “it-girl” blogger Natalie Off Duty to re-introduce a product in a new way.
Don’t forget: Bloggers and today’s influencers can do wonders for your online presence.
Do not underestimate the power of social media for your business. It works and sorry; you have to do it. Consider all social strategies as an added element of your overall earned media strategy. Social platforms can provide a relatively inexpensive strategy to amplify your content to new audiences. Consider creating a social overview of the campaign that identifies which platforms you’ll target and a timeline for execution. Paying for social media ads are also a great way to get your content to more people, and you can set your budget which is one of the best parts. Once you have a general overview of the scope of your social campaign, you’ll be able to create content calendars with tailored audience messages.
Hubspot offers some great practices for optimizing your social media channels.
Keep It Local:
Always stay active in your community. Make an appearance at events that relate to your business. Build those relationships at home first. Often they are the most important. Take advantage of local networking events, seminars and anything going on in all of your industry angles. Keep an eye on niche and local events and their official hashtags to brainstorm if they are a newsworthy opportunity. There's always a lot of press around events: It's a good idea to try to get featured together with them. This will help you build your relationships out and help you become more well-rounded as a brand. And if you are seen at all of these opportunities, it is nothing but good PR for your company right!? Don’t forget about your local media outlets too!
There are so many things to consider when building your brand and your PR. As long as you stay true to why you went into business in the first place, your efforts will catch on, and you will eventually start to gain earn media. If you remain consistent and original, there will be no way to go but up!