Media relations programs often operate on a fairly regular cycle: internal information or activities are deemed newsworthy, a pitch is distributed to relevant reporters, interviews occur, one or several outlets run the story and the whole process starts over with a different newsworthy topic. While securing an earned media placement, especially with a top-tier outlet or key trade publication, can be an exciting win, the story’s impact shouldn’t end once someone has finished reading it. The most valuable return on investment from an earned media piece can occur well after the story has been published, when you have more control over who sees the story and how.
While most communications programs focus heavily on securing earned media placements, the most successful ones place equal focus on extending the media placement’s impact after it has been published. The most efficient way to accomplish this is to leverage the massive volume of social media and digital channels you have available to maximize the lifespan of the story.
Business Owned Channels
The first and most efficient way to extend a media hit’s impact is to post it across your owned channels. These can include social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, a company website/blog or a regular newsletter. You already have audiences who engage with your content, and the ongoing impact of the media hit can be quantified by evaluating engagement data such as the number of likes, comments and shares.
When it comes to posting to social media, we could dedicate several blog posts to how to best create and execute an effective strategy for each platform. Still, there are several tactics to help increase engagement that are applicable no matter which platform you’re using:
- Post about the article more than once, so the story appears on your audiences’ timelines when they’re active on their social channels. For each post, pull a different quote or find a new way to deliver a key message. And engage your creative team to design custom images that will resonate with the audiences on each platform to accompany your posts.
- With every post, make an effort to engage with a different entity connected to the story. This includes tagging the author, the outlet/publication or another individual or business featured in the story (if appropriate).
- Interact with other relevant accounts that post the story, especially the publisher or reporter, by commenting, liking or sharing their post.
While sharing a story on your company’s owned channels is the first step, it’s certainly not the last one. It’s equally essential for executives and employees to share any earned media coverage on their social channels, as doing so can exponentially increase the piece’s impact. When executives share the story, it’s important that they also include additional context or their perspectives that reinforce the messages delivered in the piece. Doing so will strengthen your key messages in the minds of your audiences and will help further your credibility as an organization, as well as your executives’ as thought leaders.
Because employees are sometimes hesitant to post work-related content on their channels, it’s key to make the process as easy as possible. Pre-drafting or providing copy recommendations will save your employees time and help ensure a cohesive message is delivered to your audiences any time the story is shared. And, to make it even easier for employees, set up a process through your intranet or social channels like LinkedIn that allow them to post the story with one or two clicks. The less time they have to spend worrying about how they’ll share the story, the more likely they’ll be to do it.
Support the Sales Funnel
Once the story has published, been posted across the company’s owned channels and shared by executives and employees, some may mistakenly think that’s as far as it can go. Fortunately, the coverage still has more to give. Sharing earned media placements with prospective and existing customers can help secure new or additional business by reminding them you have the skills and expertise to accomplish their needs. It can also help you effectively reengage with former customers and win business back from your competitors. To make this effort as successful as possible, the communications and sales teams should work together to identify priority targets within the sales funnel and develop interesting ways to share the coverage with those potential, existing and/or previous clients that resonate most with their business needs.
Today’s media environment is fast and furious, and communications teams can easily focus their time and energy on securing earned media placements. But neglecting to leverage those placements effectively is a critical mistake. As organizations continue evaluating the cost and benefit of earned media efforts, it’s more important than ever to wring every ounce of impact out of secured media wins and prove how valuable those efforts are.