Every brand wants more earned media, but, too often, these well-meaning brands go about it in all the wrong ways. They strive to “put their names out there,” they bombard media representatives with anemic press releases, and they sponsor initiatives or events that cost a lot more than they get back in new business. That’s an all-too-common reality, but the purpose of this article is not to bash on brands that are trying their best to build their brand recognition. The idea is to resource the brands who show initiative with some better steps to take to earn not only more, but also more effective media coverage.
Test Effective Social Media Strategies
Countless brands have social media accounts, but they don’t have effective, aggressive, and intentional strategies for those platforms. Social media is, above all, “social.” It’s about relationships, and relationships need to be nurtured. You need to have consistent, positive content that creates engagement and engenders warm, positive, emotional connections to your brand. This strategy takes work, creativity and consistency. It also takes trial and error. Split testing various messages, headlines, and images will help you determine which kinds of narratives and approaches work best to engage your fans on social media. Having a plan in place will also help protect you from the inherent danger in social media: making a mistake you can’t take back.
Craft Compelling Content
Not everything your brand does is newsworthy, but there are some things that will be. Don’t miss these opportunities. Even more important, look inside and outside your walls for opportunities to get out into the marketplace and create compelling stories. You may have people within your organization who have stories your audience will really connect with, and there may be opportunities in your network to connect, engage, and create the kinds of stories the media will love.
The fundamental idea here is to look beyond what you might want to talk about and find or create some stories that your audience will want to engage with.
Get More People Talking
When deciding which brands to cover these days, many media outlets begin by looking at which brands are already getting attention. If you are trending on social media, or if certain celebrities are talking about your brand, you are in a better position to get the attention of the media. But you don’t need a celebrity endorsement to increase your earned media opportunities. When you implement strategies to increase customer engagement, your market base will become your best advertisers. When they engage with your content and share your offers more people will see, and some of those people will be media decision makers.
This approach sounds organic, but it can be cultivated. When you successfully get people talking and keep them talking, that conversation naturally grows. More people are pulled into the stream, and they, in turn, draw more people in. More people actively engaging with your brand means more possible stories, and, when you implement a strategy to capture and magnify these stories, you have more compelling content to seed to interested media partners.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations.