The trade and business media landscape is changing. Reporters and editors no longer cover companies the same way they did even five years ago. Many reporters struggle to produce more news in smaller editorial staffs, with bigger beat responsibilities and many more demands on their time, including social media participation, video production and event planning.
These changes, likewise, have had an impact on the way media relations is practiced. Companies do not attract the level of earned media coverage that they previously were accustomed to getting. This is especially true for smaller, privately held firms. Many startups find it difficult to garner a mention in their own industry trade publications and local business pages.
The hard realities are that:
- Publications tend to pay attention to the “big boys” in the market, the companies with dollars for sponsorships and ad campaigns.
- Outlets are mostly understaffed, so journalists are overwhelmed.
What should you do if you’re an executive — or a PR pro — hired to represent such companies?
You turn to a content PR strategy and focus on creating content that addresses the concerns that your customers and prospects face.
Content PR: What is it?
Content public relations is a strategy to focus on a few key areas of concern to your target audiences. With content PR, you address those concerns through media you create and publish yourself, or create and place in a media outlet.
How does it work? You tell your own story!
The strategy behind content PR is to use your company’s website and social channels to tell your own stories, such as,
- The pain points that your customers face
- Problems with the existing solutions
- How you help real customers improve their own businesses
Here’s what happens when you do it correctly:
- You educate editors and analysts about the big problem(s) you solve, the trends you observe, the insights you have
- You address concerns that trade publications might neglect or your competitors overlook
Next, consider how some of these stories might be reworked as contributed pieces for one of your trade or business media outlets. For example, your company’s support for a particular industry standard might lend itself to a viewpoint article from your CEO. Or perhaps that great photo of your employees recycling items during a community cleanup day would be welcome as a contributed photo by your local weekly.
“Journalists are looking for more than just press releases and data these days – they need content, content that really engages their audiences and provides more depth to the conversation,” said Jane Hunt, head of marketing and co-founder of UK-based JBH-The Content Agency.
Content PR vs the Old Way of Doing PR
- Content PR is always on – there is no “going dark” if you don’t have traditional news to announce.
- Control your “editorial calendar” — stay above the noise of the trade shows and conferences, and other busy times.
- Better use of budget – Skip the wire service for some press releases; deliver news directly to people who care, through your email newsletter, your RSS feed, or your blog.
- Become a company that educates the market, understands customer problems, and provides solutions.
How Will You Know it’s Working?
You will know your content PR strategy is working when your valuable, original content is rewarded with awareness and interest in the form of increasing numbers of web links, better search-engine optimization, and higher Domain Authority.
What is Domain Authority?
Domain Authority is a way to measure the impact of owned, earned and other content.
Domain Authority (DA), developed by a firm called Moz, predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages. (Are you on the first page of a Google search?) It is scored from 1-100, with higher scores corresponding to more awareness.
Higher DA = More Awareness
In your content PR strategy, you are aiming for coverage in target publications that are at least 20 points higher than your current DA. When you get links from sites with a higher DA, your website DA will eventually go up, too.
That means people are more likely to find your site and any related media coverage closer to the top of a Google search.
Your hard-earned third-party endorsement respected media outlets gets even more traction. And, you get more interaction with your owned content.
What is the PESO (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned) Model?
According to PR measurement guru Gini Dietrich, the various media platforms can be classified as Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned (PESO) media.
- Paid media–ads in traditional media and sites such as Google. Organizations pay for space to distribute info on products and services
- Earned—stories in traditional mass media selected by the gatekeepers—we don”t pay for it
- Shared–social media posts and content
- Owned—media channels owned by your organization. Your website, Facebook page, podcasts, blogs, brochures, etc.
How do you Generate Owned Media?
Think of owned media as direct storytelling. Owned media is content you create and you distribute such as:
- Blog posts
- Product literature
- News releases
What is Earned Media?
Think of earned media as “placed” content — like that CEO viewpoint — or articles written by a journalist about your company. Because they have been vetted by media “gatekeepers,” these all have an implied endorsement.
Therefore, earned media is content about you, or contributed by you, published in media outlets. These can include:
- News and trend stories
- Feature stories and profiles
Gini Dietrich, creator of the PESO model, often tells PR representatives, “If you aren’t using the PESO model for your communications work, and measuring the meaningful metrics that help an organization grow, you will not have a job in 10 years.”
What tactics presented here might you use to reach your goals?