Even with a steady dose of blog posts, podcast episodes and social media updates, no content marketing strategy is complete without the addition of earned media. During a time when the general public is consumed with a skepticism of marketing tactics and spin, media coverage can be a powerful tool for your B2B business. Brand awareness, website traffic, social shares and new business leads are just a few of the potential benefits of having your company featured or mentioned in the right media outlet. The goal is to maximize your business’s mentions by ensuring they are seen and consumed by members of your target audience.
Reaching your target audience with earned media means securing coverage in the right website or publication. Rather than just firing out pitches to any and every journalist or blogger that crosses your mind, do some background research and determine those who warrant the attention of prospective customers. Even if you have no journalism background and have never stepped foot in a newsroom, you can still target the right reporter, writer or commentator by knowing their coverage area or consumer demographics.
For example, if your target audience is made up of a younger generation, pitching to a print newspaper probably wouldn’t be as valuable as an online publication. Or, if you’re pitching a story about the achievements of one of your team members, an education reporter or sports writer likely won’t be of much help. Study your market. Chances are there are niche publications or journalists reporting on the ins and outs of your industry that your company can target to make the most of your pitches.
Using Twitter and LinkedIn
Social media can be a strong ally when compiling the best media outlets for your B2B business. With its fast-paced atmosphere and wide range of users, Twitter is full of journalists, bloggers and thought leaders that can help you deliver your company’s story to your audience. Follow them and engage with their content to cultivate relationships and in turn, share your own content. You can even take it a step further with targeted ads to put your content directly in front of your industry’s most recognizable leaders. While they may not immediately turn around and reshare it, you can get your name out there, making a personal connection much more attainable.
LinkedIn is another source for developing contacts and professional relationships, but it requires a bit of work on your end. Much like your Facebook profile that includes friends, classmates and coworkers from your past, your LinkedIn connections are likely filled with dozens, if not hundreds of professionals from a variety of different industries. By using LinkedIn tags, you can separate your connections into different groups, making it much easier to navigate when you’re trying to foster a professional relationship. From there, you can easily keep up with what others are sharing to shape your own content strategies as well as comment on and share what those connections are posting.
From bloggers and podcasters to authors and influencers, positive reviews and ratings are worth more than gold to many content creators. It’s how they stand out from the crowd and make a name for themselves. As the media landscape continues to change, these content creators have become as trusted as the local newspaper or nightly broadcast news station was years ago. They’re a valuable addition to any media list and something as easy as a positive review can lay the foundation for a fruitful relationship.
Maybe you subscribe to a podcast that discusses social media campaigns that could interview one of your associates. Or, perhaps you found a popular B2B marketing blog that could feature a guest post or quote from a team member at your company. Whatever the case may be, publishing a review is your introduction to these outlets. By simply giving a content creator a five-star rating or writing a few sentences to give your endorsement, you’re creating an instant conversation starter and a reason to reach out to your company for more.
When it’s treated as a priority, earned coverage can be more effective than paid media for brand awareness and lead generation. Keep in mind that earned media doesn’t happen overnight. It is dependent on building and maintaining relationships with the various media personnel and content creators in your industry. Don’t disregard or cut off a connection just because you didn’t generate news coverage from your first pitch. Be patient and stay committed and your business will soon be reaping the benefits of earned media.