6 Strategies to Maximize Earned Media for Your Brand
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Getting media exposure in top-tier publications is exciting, but how you leverage that exposure is what will really pay off for your brand. Your PR team -- be it a single person or an entire agency -- and the publication itself can only move the needle so much when it comes to leveraging publicity. Having a plan in place for spreading the word will not only get you more publicity, but it also helps to reinforce to the media that the world cares about what you’re doing.
For those who’ve managed to get their voice and expertise out to the public through various media outlets, here are a few pointers on how to use that exposure to build a business:
1. Give your media exposure a boost.
Turning your employees into social media advocates is one way to amplify your company’s voice in an otherwise noisy world. But don’t stop there. If you’re struggling to grow your following, tapping into your team’s personal networks can dramatically increase your company’s total following.
The more people you get talking about you or your company on social media, the further and wider that message will go organically. Every platform -- be it Google or Facebook or Instagram -- has its own algorithms that keep track of what links are being clicked, which ones are being shared to determine what is relevant and what type of content it should show similar audiences.
Let’s say you’re a small company with a total of 5,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. And let’s say you’ve got a team of 25 employees who have their own networks of 250 followers each. That’s another 6,250 people who have the potential to see the content and decide to follow your company.
The bottom line is -- the more it’s shared, the more the public pays attention, and those algorithms play an integral role in how often your content will appear. Also, it’s good merit for the writer or journalist who took the time to cover your story, as metrics matter to each platform. The number of times articles get shared is just one of the metrics editors use to evaluate writers.
2. Your sphere of influence is personal.
Sending a personalized message to your sphere of influence can go a long way. Reach out to people in your tribe and ask them to share the article -- and be sure to do the same for them. Building a powerful tribe of associates who all support and share each others’ wins is not only great to exposure, but it also feels great to know you have a group of people cheering you on.
It’s tempting to send a generic message to all of your contacts, but remember -- there’s an actual person receiving your message. Taking a few minutes to craft individual messages to the people you believe will be most likely to share the content makes all the difference in the response you’ll get. However, most business owners are incredibly busy and crafting a dozen or more individual messages might not be realistic. Another option might be to ask your network who would want to participate in sharing each others’ wins, create some basic guidelines, and once a week, everyone can share each other's content.
3. Build a Twitter chat around the topic.
Schedule a Twitter chat where people in your company talk about the article and its content. Do it shortly after the article publishes while it’s still hot on the publication’s website, but give yourself a bit of lead time to build buzz for the chat and increase attendance and participation. Have a conversation about the article/topic in the same way you would offline, but instead, you talk to each other on twitter. You can even do this if you’re in the same room.
Use relevant hashtags, and tag other people or companies you’d like to have chime in on the conversion. Ideally, those should be your target customers. If you’re a small company, don’t let this deter you. It’s possible to do the same with friends and family, and your PR agency can also help.
4. Pay to promote the article across social media.
All major social media platforms have the option to run paid ads to target your ideal customer. Choose the platforms where you think most of your audience is spending their time, and build small-scale ad campaigns to advertise your article to them. Start small, and make adjustments as you go. For instance, run two different versions of the ad, featuring the same image and different copy -- or different images with the same copy -- to learn what your audience responds to the best. You’ll be surprised how far even a $20 budget will get you.
5. Measure results.
Most competitive agencies invest in comprehensive analytics software that monitors your brand against competitors in real-time. Understanding the impact of your PR results is vital for your bottom line and to quantify your return on investment.
Your competitor may be leading the way in overall media mentions, but if those media mentions are echoing into a black hole, you’ve still got a competitive advantage. Your brand may not be winning out over the competition in terms of mentions but could still be owning the conversation around topics important to your target audience -- especially ones that drive new business.
6. Be hands-on with PR.
With the right strategy and team in place, your efforts will produce results. Your PR agency will open the door to the media world and partnerships, but no one knows your industry or brand better than you do. If you’re hands-on with your PR effort, you’ll be setting yourself and your agency up for success.