This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% the author’s.
Your company is finally launching that next great feature and it’s time to get the word out. You obviously want to maximize exposure and get the most benefit from multiple channels as you can, while not exceeding your budget. The question for a lot of executives at this point is: how?
In the early web, one surefire way to get the word out was to send a company press release to a list of trusted journalists and hope they would provide a favorable review. As the web matured, multiple services sprung into existence to handle that process for those busy executives, offering deep syndication to multiple newspapers and web portals. For a time, this worked fantastically for everyone involved. Press releases were being read. Journalists were writing follow up articles. Links were bountiful for those companies that were employing a SEO strategy.
Like all good strategies, the effectiveness of submitting press release after press release eventually waned to the point of the inverse of what those busy executives desired. Press releases stopped being read, buried into obscure sections of newspaper syndication resources. Journalists, slammed with too many irrelevant pitches, shifted focus elsewhere to find the next hot story. Press release links themselves became devalued for SEO purposes.
At some point in the decline, companies like Cision decided to pivot, collating their numerous journalist contacts and making it more available to executives seeking coverage. It was in this moment that working the press became an influencer marketing campaign. With HARO, companies could answer journalistic requests in exchange for coverage, and with the influencer database access, companies could again rebuild the process of reaching out directly to journalists.
Where do influencers fit in?
It’s true that influencers are more frequently associated with TikTok fails than company-specific journalism, but the concept is not without precedent. LinkedIn, as an example, is a good analogy for how one can use B2B influencers and leverage their authority for a variety of purposes from initial exposure to sales. This is the direction the press is moving.
Journalists are what you might refer to as authoritative influencers. Their opinion conveys a subject matter expertise that is sought after by both the brands that wish to work with them, as well as the readers for whom they write. With this consideration comes the ‘how’ in relation to working the press.
For whose benefit?
Setting aside the old school perception of press releases, the true power they possess in the age of journalists as influencers is in influencing the journalists themselves. When writing the press release, don’t think of the intended audience being for general consumption, but instead consider the press release as being written for only a small handful of selected journalists, as the beginning of an outreach campaign. In this way, the press release itself can be thought of as having a lead generation KPI for that very small group of people. Once the release is crafted, influencing the influencer can begin.
Influencing the influencer
There are a variety of strategies to make this work. Sometimes an email with a press release isn’t enough, and a deeper touch is required. Let’s think of a specific journalist for the press release. Who does she follow on Twitter? Who is she connected to on LinkedIn? Facebook? The list can go on.
In simple terms, it becomes a matter of getting your content in the hands of her upstream contacts. If people in her Twitter feed can be paid to recommend your product, will she take a closer look at the press release you emailed her? If her connections on LinkedIn are also discussing how they derived value from the update, does that influence her further? Through repetition of multiple marketing touchpoints initiated by finding relevant influencers that the journalist pays attention to, the likelihood of getting her attention and becoming the subject of one of her next pieces is greatly improved.
To layer on influencers for your next public relations campaign, consider signing up for a free demo of Intellifluence.