Recommendations for PR Professionals
Invest in editorial-quality content
Marketing departments have been making this argument for years, but it bears repeating. Nobody likes promotional content.
And for journalists, they speak openly. Don’t spread content that’s self-serving!
Instead, share content that’s useful, well researched, vetted by experts and expertly crafted. Tell stories they would want to publish and make their jobs easier.
Are we declaring an end to all self-serving press releases? Of course not.
But consider the 80/20 rule. For every promotional piece of content, you post or share, publish four more stories that are not self-serving. To attract attention, think like a journalist and not as a corporate envoy.
Become a trusted source and treat your credibility as an asset
Journalists say PR professionals only get in touch when they have something to sell. Who can blame them for not responding to pitches? Get in the habit of providing useful information – even if your story isn’t related to your company.
Michael Frazier told CCO magazine that people called him all the time when he was a journalist. He was a journalist and is now head of marketing and communications for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in the United States. They might have had something valuable to share, but whatever they had to say got lost in “white noise.”
When Frazier moved from journalist to marketer, he aimed to be helpful.
I’ve sent short emails, texted and messaged journalists commenting on stories they’ve covered that were unrelated to the memorial and museum (…) These brief, important connections help journalists understand what your interests are and allow you to learn more about their approach to stories. Creating an environment for discovery is critical. It fosters a relationship where reporters now instinctively seek you out for comment on a multitude of topics that are mutually beneficial.
Just as journalists are undergoing a crisis of trust, so too are PR and marketing experiencing a similar dilemma.
The ways companies get attention online has garnered criticism from the public and regulatory bodies. For example, native advertising doesn’t explicitly state its commercial ties and programmatic advertising misuses consumer information.
Therefore, communicators need to promote their organizations in a way that doesn’t hijack attention but instead earns it. How? By creating and publishing useful, credible and engaging content.
Hang out where journalists source their stories
To get attention from journalists, seek out the channels they prefer to use.
Not surprisingly, journalists cite their networks as the most powerful to source stories. However, other channels are just as important, such as emailed press releases, digests, newsletters, and alerts.
Interestingly, Facebook is much less influential compared to a year ago due to fake news. Be aware of country-level preferences, though. Also, be mindful of age-related differences. Reddit is much more likely to interest younger journalists whereas older journalists tend to choose emailed digests, newsletters, and alerts.
Experiment carefully with new technologies and digital media
Experts may tell you to watch the rise of chatbots, augmented reality or machine-generated content to reach audiences. However, the types of technologies you use to publish content should match what journalists use and prefer.
Journalists are optimistic about the importance of live streaming. Around 40% of journalists from English-speaking countries say live streaming will be an increasingly important to share news over the next 18 months. But, just only one in 10 give any credence to VR applications.
Recruit journalists to work on your team
While content-savvy brands could look to hire journalists, most journalists want more information.
Hiring a quality journalist won’t be easy.
Before even considering the move, ask whether a journalist would be satisfied working for your organization.
- Do you currently publish high-quality content?
- Will a journalist feel inspired to write for your company?
If your organization is already on the path of publishing high-quality content, you’re on the road to success.