A marketing communications and business professional with over 23 years of experience, I can speak to the value and the credibility of earned media. As a result of the often deafening noise within social media platforms, smart businesses, brands, and organizations are turning to more traditional media methods. At CAMERON Communications, we love earning media for clients — when we do, it enables us to amplify it or “splash it” across their “owned” media platforms, namely their website and social channels, further amplifying messaging, increasing engagement and building relationships, and keeping their brand front and centre longer.
Earned media acts much like an endorsement, and little peaks interest or drives sales the way third-party acclaim does. Some of our clients charge individuals or even entire teams with the task of drumming up earned media. To simplify this often onerous task and to increase the odds of media uptake, today we’re sharing five tips:
1. Know who you’re dealing with. Reporters typically receive hundreds of press releases and pitches a day — know what it is they cover and ensure you’re familiar with their beat and work.
2. Help reporters deliver what their audience seek. Pitch story ideas you know will be a hit with the audiences they write for. Every reporter wants a story readers will share online. Sorry to break it to you, but it’s about the reporter and their needs, not yours.
3. Send a story to address a need. What’s newsworthy now? As an example, in late December and early January, sure as guns, there’s an overwhelming interest in and demand for health, fitness, and lifestyle content as readers set and strive to meet New Year’s resolutions. In response to this particular hunger, one might offer content to address the fervent demand and better yet, serve it up in a list format, with bite-sized blurbs that are easily read and digested. Working with health and lifestyle clients as we do requires that we establish relationships with related reporters, are familiar with their editorial styles, and read their work.
4. Carefully craft your subject line. Clever. Simple. Brief. Your email or DM subject line (which should be mobile friendly too) needs to grab the attention of the reporter you are contacting.
5. Keep your pitch brief. In your brief, clearly explain why your story is relevant to them and their readers. Strive to make a connection. In establishing relationships with reporters, I/we often reach out to those whose work we follow, simply to let them know that we’ve read/enjoyed/found their work thought-provoking, etc. You want to build genuine and meaningful relationships with all those you interact with — and reporters are no different.