We wanted to get in the holiday spirit for our last post of 2022 (the blog will be back January 5 with the first PR Profiles episode of 2023) and what better way to do so than with Father Christmas himself? Believe it or not, Ol’ Saint Nick has a few PR tricks up his red sleeves.
Here’s how you can put Santa’s PR prowess to work in your next earned media campaign.
He’s making a list. He’s checking it twice
Your story will dictate who you pitch to. Relationship building with journalists is important (as we’ve heard time and time again from PR pros and journalists), but just because you have a relationship with a journalist doesn’t mean they want to hear from you if your story isn’t relevant to them.
A media database is a great tool to help you find and build lists of journalists who would want to share your news with their audience because it has informational, educational, or entertainment value. Use the database’s search and filtering functions to help you target the right contacts based on keywords, subjects, geographic location, and media type.
The database search will likely return a lot of contacts, so you’ll want to spend some extra time ensuring that they all are the right fit. Look through their recent coverage and social posts to make sure that your story is appropriate for their audiences and is something they do indeed write or talk about. You don’t want to pitch a journalist who only did a one-off piece or merely mentioned your brand/industry/niche/competitor in passing.
After additional research, you’re ready to go with a targeted list of journalists that, just like Santa Claus, you’ve checked twice.
He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice
As you’re going through your list, confirming that you have only relevant contacts, make sure that you’re not reaching out to journalists who are commonly detractors of your brand or client. These will be journalists who may talk about you or your industry frequently but do so in a way that is consistently negative. Unless you’re 100% positive that your news will completely change their opinion of you, you may not want to include them on your list.
A media monitoring tool can help you identify detractors. You’re likely already monitoring topics related to your brand, industry, and competitors which means the content returned by your tool is written by relevant journalists. If you start to recognize a few names connected to articles categorized as negative, you may want to remove them from your media list.
He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake
We are not promoting watching journalists while they sleep (this isn’t an episode of “You”), but we are saying you should know when to pitch.
When you should send your pitch depends on the type of media. For example, broadcast has some very specific deadlines. To learn more about broadcast timing—and best practices for follow up—you’ll want to check out Celena Fine’s webinar. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Timing also depends on who you’re pitching. If you’re pitching a feature writer that needs lead time to complete their stories, don’t pitch them a story that’s happening tomorrow. Know the publication dates so you can be sure you’re going to get your story in at the right time.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
Without measuring your results, how will you know if you’ve been successful in achieving your goals?
We’ve heard it said that measuring PR is difficult. We don’t disagree—it doesn’t have the same clear metrics as marketing and sales—but it is possible, and you can get incredibly meaningful in your analysis.
You’ll want to have a suite of PR tools, or better yet, one integrated platform to help you measure your results. Using an email distribution tool for your pitches means you can look at open and click rates to gauge how your pitching went. Your media monitoring and social listening tools will capture mentions of and conversations around your story and brand and provide other valuable insights like sentiment, share of voice, and engagement.
However, when it comes time to measure your impact, make sure you’re not looking at any one metric in isolation—total mentions, impressions, or Santa-forbid, AVEs! One lonely metric will not be able to tell the full story, nor will it convey the impact your PR activities have made.
Effective PR measurement is a lot to get into in a fun holiday blog post so we’re going to direct you to our free guide instead: “Measuring Impact: How to Successfully Connect Your PR Outcomes and Activities to Business Goals”. It will teach you how to:
- Define impact and connect it to business goals—in C-suite ready language
- Gain meaningful measurement practices and practical metrics for your framework
- Pull it all together with a beautiful example dashboard
- Overcome common challenges standing between you and your measurement practice
So be good for goodness sake
The last piece to a successful measurement practice is putting the findings into action. Don’t just sit on all that excellent data or hard-won insights—use them to refresh your strategy so that your next earned media campaign can be merry and bright!