Matt co-founded TrendKite in 2012 and oversees all aspects of the organization’s product strategy and development.
In Part 1 of this post on earned media, we answered the question, "What is earned media?" Hopefully, we made the point that earned media is a particularly effective way to share your messages with the market. Today, we’re going to look more deeply into how you get more of it.
The fact that earned media isn’t something you pay for, doesn’t mean that you can’t influence and encourage it. Sitting back and waiting for journalists, analysts and other influencers to take notice of your brand is not a winning strategy. Instead, you need to court the attention of those who have credibility with your audience and convince them that your messages are worth mentioning. Here’s how:
Identify Relevant Authors and Publications
The first step to garnering more earned media is understanding who your audience looks to for information about the industry you serve and products like yours. Consider journalists, bloggers, industry analysts and even prominent customers in the space. Once you know who the players are, connect with them through social media and in person networking if possible so you can begin to develop a relationship and introduce your brand.
Give Them Something Interesting to Say
Earned media is rarely based on straight-up product or brand promotion. People are interested in companies when their messages or offers are connected to something that’s already on their minds. Think about trends in the general economy or your industry and how your brand story ties in. Your story pitches should be timely and topical, so you’ll need a good strategy for industry monitoring.
Sing Off Key
If all of your competitors are talking about the same topic, in the same way, you have an opportunity to stand out by taking a different point of view. Journalists, in particular, like to balance stories by including quotes from sources with different opinions or approaches to the subject. This makes competitive tracking an important aspect of increasing your opportunities for earned media.
In the same way that people are more trusting of information from third parties than they are of information that comes directly from brands, your customers’ opinion of your products and services carries more weight than your own. Whenever possible, include customer quotes or the opportunity to interview customers in your story pitches.
Images are a powerful way to communicate your messge. Including images and video in your press releases is an effective method of increaseing interest and improveing the chances that they will be shared. Including visuals with story pitches makes the reporter’s job easier. Of course, they should be interesting. Standard screen shots are generally not that exciting, so try to think of something that will capture the imagination of your audience.
Although you don’t have direct control over earned media, you can increase your odds of success with careful planning, good industry and competitor monitoring tools and a bit of creativity.