How to Convert Your PR Wins Into Sales
A media outlet covered your business or published something you wrote. Time to sit back and let the leads roll in, right? Only if you want to leave most of the value on the table.
While press coverage does lead to prospects directly reaching out, it often takes an additional step or two to convert media exposure into new business. B2Bs, in particular, need to leverage media coverage in their marketing and sales channels to realize the best return on their investment in PR.
A good reason to touch prospects
Putting your media clips directly in front of prospects and existing clients is the single best use of press coverage for B2Bs.
Interactions with prospects often go cold over time, leaving your sales team looking for a more valuable reason to follow up than, “Hey, just following up …” Media coverage relevant to the conversation with the prospect provides an excellent reason to reignite the relationship.
The note can be as simple as, “I remember a few months ago we were talking about X. Our CEO was just interviewed on this topic, so thought I’d share.”
It works even better if your sales team can help the prospect feel like part of the clip by saying something like, “Our conversations last year about Y led to some ideas that found their way into this article I wrote that was just published.”
This approach also works with existing clients who you may be hoping to renew or engage on additional products or services.
The social bump
While posting your press coverage on social media may seem obvious, it’s easy to miss the mark.
For starters, unless it’s obvious from the title or photo, make sure it’s clear that you’re in the story, lest your followers think you’re just sharing an interesting article. If your post has telltale verbs — quote, write, interview, publish, feature, highlight — you’re probably on the right track.
Be sure to tag the outlet as well as the journalist if they have active accounts. Media outlets and journalists don’t share every story they publish on social media. Tagging them encourages them to share the story and gives them a chance to share your company’s post instead of writing their own. This puts your brand directly in front of its followers in a way you wouldn’t otherwise get.
The key to enticing outlets and journalists to share (or at least like) your company’s posts is to write in their style. Show in the post why the content is valuable to the outlet’s readers while also mentioning your company’s contribution. But don’t get discouraged if outlets pass on sharing your posts. It’s somewhat rare to get this type of bonus exposure; some outlets have a policy not to share posts.
While sharing press clips from your company’s social media accounts is essential, the best leads often come from individuals involved in the story sharing it on their personal accounts, particularly LinkedIn. Suggesting that anyone quoted, mentioned or even remotely related to the story share the company post with an additional comment is a good way to control the baseline message while allowing your team members to personalize for their audience.
Related: Is Public Relations Dead?
Adding media clips to your company’s news page is always important. Still, marketers often overlook the best way to leverage press coverage on a company’s website: blog posts that elaborate or summarize.
There are often worthwhile ideas expressed during an interview that don’t make it into a story. Putting these thoughts in a blog post along with a link to the story adds value to the content of the clip and gives your blog a timely update with the added validation of the media coverage.
For longer clips like podcasts, your blog can be a home for highlights or key nuggets that a lot of folks might miss if they don’t want to listen to a full hour of audio. This type of post can also help your blog bring in search results if listeners are looking for something discussed in the interview.
It’s called a newsletter for a reason
It’s safe to assume that most of your customers and key contacts will not just happen upon your press coverage in their daily media consumption. If your company does email marketing (and it probably should), including selected press clips in your newsletter helps make sure people interested in your business see the media is paying attention to it.
Only the most major press clips would warrant an email blast of their own. More often, it makes sense to include recent coverage as one of multiple items in a newsletter. Your newsletter is also a great place to link back to your blog post summarizing or expanding on the coverage.
Redeploy as needed
While the biggest burst of value from media coverage usually arrives in the days and weeks after a clip runs, media coverage can still be used to convert sales for months or years after publication.
Take a moment every quarter or so and review all the press clips your company has had over the past few years. With these in the back of your mind, you’ll find opportunities to use them to your advantage in the sales process.
When potential clients ask me questions about how PR works, I often answer their questions and refer them to an article I’ve published for more information. They’re usually impressed that not only do I have a thoughtful answer at the ready, but they’re also reading it in a reputable outlet.
One tried-and-true method to get continued mileage out of media coverage is to mine clips for quotes that become part of your marketing. This applies both to positive and amusingly negative lines.
For example, I used to lead a band called the Metal Shakespeare Company. When Piers Morgan said we were “desecrating a great poet” on America’s Got Talent, we put that quote on press releases, posters, Facebook ads, all sorts of places.Usually, the media quotes you. When you start quoting what the media said about you, you know your PR campaign is going well and that it’s integrated with your sales and marketing in a way that’s going to drive results.