With a new year approaching, you likely have a new PR plan full of targets and goals.
But is that plan full of the same old tactics, or are you trying to shift your media relations to embrace the new?
The continued rise of content marketing, brand journalism, and storytelling alongside new platforms means this year will change the PR landscape forever. As the market matures and evolves, your link-building and PR strategies cannot remain the same.
For organizations to stay relevant in the coming year and beyond, new ways of connecting with the media are necessary.
When companies continue to cling to outdated ways of doing things, it is up to the PR team to change the rules of the game, push back on internal stakeholders who are used to the status quo, and deliver PR that is timely, relevant, and most of all, effective.
1. Optimize Your Online Press Room
Any reporter or blogger interested in your company will visit your website, especially your press room. This is valuable real estate on your website, and it must be designed to meet the needs of the people who actually will be using it.
Consider what types of resources make it easy for media to work with you and how you may be able to streamline routine requests from media. Include social media profile information so they can follow your organization, and consider including the option to receive updates from the press room by email or RSS.
Etsy has a pretty cool press room which includes a downloadable fact sheet, brand assets, contact information, and more:
The goal of the press room should be to deliver as much content as possible to meet different needs. A trade reporter may require background on a specific solution for their industry, while a local newspaper wants details on how many people you employ.
In your press room, include a variety of content, including press releases, corporate backgrounders, fact sheets, product shots, infographics, corporate photos, and videos.
It always helps to have a phone number included because it makes any brand look more trustworthy. Besides, it makes it easy for a journalist to get an instant quote from you on anything he/she is currently working on. You can easily set up a virtual phone number for these purposes, not to expose your number. Here’s how to do that.
Additionally, you want to include speaking engagements for executives, trade shows, and other events so the media know where to connect with you.
2. Make Stories Visual for Social Media
Media relations as a discipline tends to be heavy on written content. To bring content to life, PR teams should seek ways to create context for the story using visuals, particularly for social media.
Too often, there’s this idea that one piece of content – written or visual – can be used on every platform. This entirely defeats the point of using social media.
To make the most of social media and your visuals, take the time to understand the type of content that performs well on each platform. For example, if you are going to use Pinterest to promote stories, you’ll need visuals that are simple and eye-catching. Also, take the time to create dynamic descriptions for each pin. You may want to use infographics as well.
For a platform like LinkedIn, you can use a combination of text and visual content, while on YouTube, you’ll need to create a video specifically for the platform.
If mastering multiple platforms is overwhelming, start with the one or two platforms where your potential customers are most active. Remember, the goal is not to create 100% new content for each platform but to ensure you use the platform to its full potential with the right kinds, types, and sizes of visual or other content.
Canva is an excellent content-repackaging tool, allowing you to create images, infographics, and even videos in different dimensions that fit different platforms.
It also stores your branding kit, allowing your creatives to have a consistent look and feel across many channels. This is important because your brand will only be recognized if you build consistent touchpoints with your target bloggers and publishers.
To streamline your social media posting, use GenAI to create social media updates and video descriptions. Tools like Text Optimizer help you write semantically optimized video descriptions to increase their chances of ranking:
3. Use Social Media to Connect with Media
If you struggle to get noticed by your target media using email pitches and press release distribution, it’s time to move to social media. Reporters rely heavily on Twitter and TikTok in particular, to find stories, connect with sources, and more. By meeting the media where they are, you can build stronger relationships leading to coverage.
For Twitter, make a point of finding and following your key media contacts. Create Twitter lists so you can follow what they are tweeting, interact with them when appropriate, and share their content with your followers if relevant.
When one of your targets is looking for sources or other information, try to be helpful, even if it doesn’t directly serve you. Connecting a reporter with a contact who could act as a source or sending background information makes their lives easier, which then makes them come to trust you. That way, when they do have a story that may be a fit for you, you’ll come to mind.
To connect with reporters/bloggers on Facebook, ensure you like their organization’s pages. Some outlets will post queries for sources or other information on their pages. Reporters often post as they work on a story, so comment as things develop and offer value.
Finally, if you have a developed relationship with a contact, connect with them on LinkedIn to stay in touch. LinkedIn has become a Rolodex of sorts for media looking for sources or background info.
Overall, media relations require a lot of time and effort, but it pays in the long run. It is a good idea to add each of your media contacts to your CRM tool to continue developing your relationships and keep a searchable database of reporters you have been in touch with.
Here are a few tools to help you use social media for PR and media relationship building:
- Twitter Search – Twitter’s native search can be used to find people. The best thing about this tool is that it will also show you if you have any connection to any found person so that you can potentially be introduced. For example, you can search for reporters that work for CNN:
- Followersanalysis – There are also a few third-party Twitter search tools that help with Twitter bio search. Followersanalysis is a handy Twitter search engine that lets you find Twitter users with any keyword (or keywords) in their Twitter bio. You can also see how many followers each found profile has and their location:
- Twitter Lists – Finding those profiles is the first step. Learning what they write and talk about will help you to create a more effective outreach strategy (for example, you can come up with a content asset that will likely interest them based on their tweets). Also, it is a great method to build a relationship with them by interacting with their updates, answering their questions, etc. For both of these purposes, I recommend creating a separate Twitter list that would include all the reporters and bloggers who are interested in my niche. Tweetdeck (only available to Twitter premium users) is a great way to keep an eye on Twitter lists on a regular basis. Simply click the Add a new column icon, select Lists and select the list you created to follow your content amplifiers:
- Drippi (Twitter) – Drippi allows you to export leads from any Twitter profile’s connections or individual Twitter threads. If you choose the first option, it is similar to Twitter’s search:
- Give it your target Twitter username
- Choose whether you want to search within its following or followers:
- Enter keywords you want Twitter profiles bios to contain (e.g. reporter, blogger, journalist). For instance, you may want to find journalists followed by the official CNN account: Those would probably be the journalists you want to research. Or you can filter by your target industry or keywords to narrow those Twitter profiles down to your niche.
You can automatically DM those saved Twitter accounts which I wouldn’t recommend doing. I’d rather use the tool for discovery rather than automated outreach.
- Adapting to Change: The evolving nature of PR, influenced by the rise of content marketing, brand journalism, storytelling, and new platforms, requires businesses to shift their strategies. Sticking to old tactics could render PR campaigns ineffective.
- Relevance is Key: The PR landscape is dynamic. For businesses to remain effective, they need to ditch outdated methodologies and adapt to modern media relations techniques.
- Three Key Resolutions for PR:
- Optimize Your Online Press Room: Ensure your online press room serves the actual users—reporters and bloggers. It should be a rich source of diverse content tailored to various media needs.
- Visual Storytelling on Social Media: Recognize the unique content preferences of different social media platforms. Instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach, tailor content (especially visuals) to fit the specific social platform’s style and audience.
- Leverage Social Media for Media Connections: Traditional email pitches might not always yield results. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can help build meaningful relationships with media contacts, positioning your business as a go-to resource.
As the PR landscape evolves, businesses cannot afford to remain stagnant. With content marketing, brand journalism, and storytelling changing the game, brands should embrace a new approach to PR and link building.
To stay relevant and maximize PR effectiveness, brands should focus on optimizing their online presence, making stories visually engaging on social media, and leveraging these platforms to connect with media contacts. As we step into a new year, these resolutions can serve as a roadmap to a more dynamic and successful PR strategy.