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social mediaAs part of my responsibilities with one of our clients, I coordinate a media placement program. The program works to facilitate exposure for both our client association and its members by helping industry publications find member experts to fill specific media needs. Our client enjoys a great relationship with leading industry media groups who love to quote or otherwise feature members as industry experts.

This process of placing members in the media consists of two primary work flows. In our primary method, editors and reporters from industry media titles are looking for insights, quotes or case study information from our members on a given topic. I present the publicity opportunity in our online membership community and anyone interested can participate. Alternatively, association members have ongoing opportunities to write blog posts or recurrent columns on topics of their choosing.

It’s awesome for our members to receive mention in these publications and on the associated websites. It helps them build both name recognition and credibility with their end-user client target base. Helping to facilitate these placements and media relationships is a tremendous benefit of membership in this particular association. In addition, we do request that placements we curate mention our members as such – members of our association, so that we build name recognition and credibility as an association, as well.

This is an impactful, and growing, program. But once the placement is published, the work isn’t done. There are ways to amplify the content’s reach to maximize everyone’s exposure for their effort made.

After a member receives coverage or mention in the press, we announce the placement in our online community for members, and across all of our association social media channels. We also provide the following suggestions for members to make the most of their networks and maximize their exposure:

  • Include the media placement as a news-worthy item in an email or as one item in your regular e-newsletter, distributed to your company’s email list. Include a link to the article!
  • Add the piece, with a link to it, to your company blog or news section of your website. Make sure the content is easy for readers to promote themselves by adding social share buttons to the post.
  • Add the piece, with a link to it, to your company profile in any industry-related online communities or directories.
  • Post a link on your company’s Facebook page. Tag the people and organizations mentioned in the article.
  • Post a link to your company’s Twitter page, including:
    - A mention @reporter or @publication and @association (some will re-tweet). Include a “.” before each @mention so that the tweet will appear to everyone, not just followers.
    - Hashtags #association, #member (if you have one) and #publication.
  • Post a link to your company’s LinkedIn page. Again, tag/mention anyone else referenced in the article.
  • Post a link to these other areas in LinkedIn: company, personal, personal update, appropriate LinkedIn Groups, and LinkedIn Blog. Include a short explanation in each case. Tag/mention people and companies involved. The others you tag might like and share your update!
  • Similarly, post a link to your company’s Instagram, Google+ or any other social media accounts not yet mentioned.
  • Make an impromptu video (just using your phone or tablet will suffice) with the media placement in hand. It’s OK to show off! Show off the print magazine/issue or show the screen with the article on it. Post the video across all the channels mentioned above.
  • Consider pulling snippets (brief quotes or other poignant points and tidbits) out of the placement and pushing them out over a period of time via your social media for ongoing, refreshed promotion of the placement.
  • Encourage employees to share the news of your organization’s media coverage via their personal social media. More and more companies are doing this by establishing an employee advocacy program.

If both the featured member and our association work to promote and drive traffic to the placement on the media outlet’s website, it can help land the piece on that publication’s “Top 5” list, which, you guessed it, drives even more exposure for member and association. It’s a true win (for the member)-win (for the association)-win (for the publication)!

Please comment below: What strategies work well for you in expanding your content promotion and social reach?

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relationships

Not long ago, I noticed a Twitter post from a business reporter in search of a candidate for a story. I recognized it as an immediate fit for a client. Within a few hours, we confirmed an interview. A week later, our client was part of the feature story in the magazine. After a month, the reporter circled back to us asking if we had additional candidates for her profile. 

This shows why every opportunity should be taken advantage of to build relationships with the media.

Whether an association is searching for news opportunities or pitching stories on a daily or not-so-daily-basis, there are ways to develop a media connection. The following includes our suggestions and insight from editors and writers we work with on a regular basis.

Reporters are human. Remember that.
An editor once told me that news reporters may seem less-than-human, but they are flesh and blood like everyone else. And human nature plays a role in how they like to work. Respect their needs just like you would any business professional. Don’t be afraid to reach out and let them know you have something to offer.

There are deadlines.
If a reporter calls to ask for an expert for a story—even if it’s not breaking news—respond right away. A well-organized PR staff should already have a list of experts on hand. Can’t help this time? Reach out and offer to be a source in the future.

Thomas Wilk is editor in chief of Plant Services, a global publication targeting the industrial manufacturing industry.

“For me, the biggest challenge is to keep expectations aligned for content, deadline and publication schedules,” says Wilk. “It helps when a PR or marketing team is familiar with the subject matter. We appreciate when they understand our questions and can quickly referee changes and approvals by their clients.”

Newsrooms are under pressure. There are constant obligations for breaking news, website updates and social media posts for their audiences.

Alysha Schertz is a former reporter at Biz Times Milwaukee and now a freelance journalist and consultant for business and industry publications.

“Today’s reporters are responsible for two, sometimes three industry beats that were once covered by several people,” says Schertz. “Understanding that and the other changes taking place in the industry will help you work better with us. It all goes back to establishing that relationship.”

Make the right connection.
Not all pitches are a good fit, so it’s important to be familiar with reporters and their beats. Follow the stories, publications, blogs and other social activity related to your industry and theirs.

“When I'm familiar with your clients, what accounts you work with, and who you may know, you become someone I call on regularly for sources and industry expertise,” says Schertz. “Likewise, if you are familiar with my publication and the stories I write, it makes your job easier.”

Follow-up. Period.
So you pitched a story idea and there was little media response? That was just the start. Now it’s time to follow-up.

Send an e-blast or a friendly reminder. Provide a link with more information or a new angle to pique media interest. Say something specific about a recent story that you read. Reporters receive hundreds of emails each day, so this will help you stand out.

How much time before following-up? Three to four days is not an unusual amount of time for reporter response. If you know the reporter well enough, consider how you’ve worked with them in the past. Perhaps you should give them a call.

Follow-up is among the most important tasks in media relations. Make it a habit. Develop a checklist of media contacts and over time you will realize how effective it can be.

Final thoughts.
From your initial story pitch to the final publication, working with the media involves good planning.

“When things are well-planned, there’s a reasonable level of flexibility for the project to evolve and change,” says Editor Tom Wilk.

“I like it when PR and marketing contacts are approachable. Five minutes on the phone can save a dozen back-and-forth emails.”

Making a connection with the media is an investment of time and effort, but when carefully cultivated, it will pay dividends. Stay interested in what the media want and need and they will return the favor by reaching out to work with you.

Adds Wilk, “These are long-term relationships built over time and multiple projects.”

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