By working with PMG, you’ve already started taking important steps to amplify your online presence. Blog posts, digital resources, social media, etc. are all tools in the digital marketing arsenal that we use to drive prospects to your website and showcase your expertise. But at some point in nearly every agency-client relationship, the topic of public relations (or PR) comes up. Most companies would like to reach a larger audience through media relations—yet traditional PR can be costly, especially on top of a digital marketing program.
At INBOUND 2018, I attended the session, How to Get Media Famous (Without Event Trying) by Janet Murray. And Ms. Murray’s overarching message was that businesses don’t need a pricey PR firm to obtain both local and national press opportunities. Easy social media tactics coupled with a little ingenuity can help you connect with journalists, without any added expense. In this post, I’ll highlight four practical tips you can use to manage your own PR while leveraging the power of your brand's personality.
Crafting a Public Persona That's More Than Just a Talking Head...
Before you even consider investing in a public relations strategy, it’s important to determine who in your company is most appropriate to be the public face for your brand. This person should have a position in upper level management and be likely to continue with the company for years to come. This person should also be comfortable speaking with journalists (and have a touch of charisma). That being said, this person does not need to be a natural born speaker or media mogul. Don’t let a lack of experience be the deterrent that stops you or one of your colleagues from serving as the public voice for your company.
You might be surprised to learn that leveraging press connections is less about your professional knowledge, speaking ability, or presence, and more about the personal interests that make you a well-rounded person. Interests and specialties outside of work are more important than having a perfectly polished media personality. The majority of PR opportunities will present themselves at the intersection of your professional abilities and personal interests. Journalists may not be interested in how you’ve built your business or what makes your product or service unique, but they will be interested in how you manage your time as a business owner and full-time parent, for example. They may not care about how your product can save time or money, but you may be able to successfully pitch an idea regarding how business leaders have a responsibility to support environmentally friendly work practices.
If you wait for the perfect article that directly relates to your business and what you offer, you’ll find little opportunity to leverage the benefits of PR. Think about the media you consume every day and find opportunities to connect your brand or life experiences to trending topics.
Tweet to Meet: Using Twitter to Reach Journalists
As a digital marketer, Twitter is my least favorite channel. Twitter lacks the eye candy Instagram offers and personal connections you find on Facebook. Using Twitter for your business may or may not be appropriate; it’s important to work with your Account Manager to determine on which social media channels your brand should be active. However, from a public relations perspective, Twitter is critical. Twitter is where journalists live and where you’ll need to go to start building relationships with the media.
Janet recommends a little “light stalking” to get the conversation started. Start with local newspapers and news networks. Look for writers and producers on Twitter and follow their profiles. From there, expand to nationally syndicated channels. It’s essential that you go beyond following the brand. For instance, don’t just follow The Wall Street Journal. Look for the journalists who produce the content. Pay attention to the bylines in articles—these are the people you need to reach through Twitter. Take 5 to 10 minutes each day to like, retweet, and comment on the posts of key journalists. After you’ve established yourself on Twitter and started engaging with influencers, you may even want to pitch an idea to one of them through Twitter's Direct Messages function.
Be “Pitch Perfect” with Your Media Outreach Plan
After you’ve decided who will be speaking for your business, and that person has had the opportunity to build up their Twitter presence, it’s now time to craft the perfect pitch. And it may be tempting to go a little over the top with your opening line to snag some attention. However, press pitching isn’t the appropriate opportunity to use witty one liners.
Keep your pitches short and to the point. Journalists are busy and will appreciate your brevity. Cut out the formal, social introduction and go straight to the reason you’re reaching out. A pitch press should be one or two paragraphs with no more than a few lines about your business. The star of your show is your idea or the article you’re hoping to be interviewed for. If sending an email, be sure the subject line is succinct and straight to the point. Here is a template to get you started:
Subject Line: Article Idea Pitch – Business Name or Personal Detail
Subject Line Example: Millennials in Marketing: Idea from Seasoned Account Manager at PMG
I read your recent article about [insert complementary subject] and wanted to present a different opinion on [insert topic]. As you know, millennials are a growing force in the workplace and there are hundreds if not thousands of articles written each year on the various ways their preferences are impacting the future of marketing. I’d like to write an article that highlights the importance of AI and how the next generation of marketers will need to pivot to stay relevant in the marketplace.
As a [job title] with over [# of years of experience], I’ve seen first-hand how the marketplace is changing. Many young marketers—who previously leveraged their expertise as a digital native—will be left in the dust with the coming changes. This article will appeal to both millennial marketers and early technology adopters. My marketing agency has over 10 years of experience in adapting to the changes, and our unique approach to new technology has allowed us to keep up with these rapidly evolving preferences.
I can be reached at [email address] or [phone number] for more information.
Thank you for your time,
If pitching via Twitter isn't quite your speed, I also recommend checking out press websites. There are a number of sites that journalists use to find sources for their articles. Here are a few to get you started:
To Get PR Right, Let Your Personality Shine
If you find yourself asking "what more can I do to maximize my web presence?", with a spare hour or so per week, your business can easily leverage PR in addition to your regular marketing activities. Public relations is the perfect complement to the optimized content you’re creating for your website. It allows you to engage in conversations outside of the content that is generally relevant for your brand’s blog.
If you have any questions about how you can get started with PR, reach out to your PMG account manager. We’d love to help you brainstorm some great ideas to help you connect with new audiences.