First things first – yes, the print industry is fading – and while many people will tell you this means you don’t need to focus on pitching to magazines and trade outlets, they would be very wrong. Trade publications and industry magazines are still going strong. Additionally, with the growth of digital editions and 24-hour news cycles, contributed articles are often welcomed by editors to supplement editorial placements and provide companies a chance to position their subject matter experts as thought leaders in specific fields or industries.
When agencies suggest new programs to clients, companies may sometimes stop and ask what the work entails and if it carries any value. Take blogger relations, for instance. Some may wonder why anyone would need to have relationships with bloggers, who bloggers are and if people even read blogs.
To answer some of these questions and others, we put together a quick guide to blogger relations. Check out the info below to get up to speed.
Recently, I attended a Business Wire breakfast session about the changing media landscape. In the session, Serena Ehrlich, director of social and evolving media, discussed how PR professionals can take advantage of the visibility provided by search and social media to increase the impact of their news programs.
While the fresh-squeezed orange juice and egg and bacon croissants were an added bonus, I also left with a ton of valuable information to shape the way I think about the evolution of PR. Here are a few key takeaways:
While reporters can be great assets to your brand with their non-biased, third-party opinion when you are looking to establish credibility, they can also be like a pack of wolves that tear into your brand and leave you in shreds when an unfortunate incident emerges.
How do you react when that happens?
The launch of a new product can have a dramatic impact on a company’s business success. Do it well and it can catapult the company’s revenue and market share. Flub it and the opposite is true. A critical component to a successful launch is the impact that a communications program makes in creating awareness of the new product. It’s the messaging that communicates the new product’s benefits and media visibility that builds credibility in the market.
While every launch has its own idiosyncrasies in the form of objectives and resource allocation, we’ve found over the years that they also have certain commonalities. One of those core common elements, particularly in business-to-business launches, is the importance of the credibility built thorough public and market analyst relations. These sources build trust with audiences and create a certain sense of security and safety – if one of these experts touts the virtues of a product, it brings a validation of it to customers and prospects.
When longtime client Harris CapRock Communications cued up its biggest product introduction in years, it turned to M/C/C to spread the word.
In the communications field, Harris CapRock has a reputation as an innovator and a leader. As the company launched its game-changing Harris CapRock One service, it needed marketing that was up to the task. As part of an integrated communications program, public relations was critical to building third-party credibility and generating customer interest.
In the U.S., we love to compete and win. We take a great sense of pride in our accomplishments and love to be recognized for them. We love being on a winning team as well as being fans of sports teams or individuals that are winners. It feels good when you are winning, and you earn a new level of respect as well as credibility. An example of this is the most recent winner of the Masters Golf Tournament, Jordan Speith. He is now perceived as one of the top two professional golfers in the world and ranks No. 5 when it comes to endorsement value at the ripe old age of 21.
Awards in the corporate environment are just as important if not more so. They have a
huge impact on a company’s credibility and therefore the perception of its buyers and prospects. In addition, awards create a sense of pride among a company’s employees which has a direct effect on productivity and turnover. Finally, awards also influence the value of a company, its brand and its position in the marketplace.
Lately we’ve been talking a lot about targeting niche audiences through all marketing disciplines. Our Media Director Sherie has written about the effectiveness of targeting audiences within varying geographic niches while VP, Creative Todd drilled down even further to talk about targeting within a niche of people who ride around in a certain type of car. On the relationship marketing side of things, our President has even spoken out in the American Cities Business Journals about using bloggers to reach customers who have specific niche areas of interest. It wasn’t so long ago that marketing was tasked with reaching the most people at the same time through one medium. But the intricacies of the Internet and insights that come with running and measuring thoughtful digital advertising campaigns and social marketing programs have narrowed our focus towards speaking to a handful of the right people in an environment and at a time that is right for them.
At the end of last year, we were given the opportunity to give this philosophy a new and different application – by looking at the members of the media we build relationships with on behalf of our clients as niche audiences we were pursuing in different regions. It all began with a Brit.
“It’s been a running joke in European PR circles for years: U.S. marketers think of ‘Europe’ as a single, homogenous entity. Of course, that’s nonsense. But, if you asked European marketers how PR practice – especially influencer relations – differs between U.S. regions, it would be a short conversation.”
~Richard Fogg, managing director, CCgroup
What Richard’s talking about up there is a little bit of the pot meeting the kettle. Richard is the managing director at CCgroup, a London-based PR firm that decided to find friends across the pond and conduct research to build a resource that would help international marketers understand the idiosyncrasies of running PR campaigns across multiple U.S. regions. M/C/C was honored to represent the West South Central region, joining nine other agencies representing the state of media relations activities in their own respective regions. After collecting input and evaluating their survey results, the CCgroup put together a website that paints an interesting picture of the U.S. media landscape; and we think domestic marketers would benefit from checking out its findings, too. Three areas of interest stood out to the researchers and participants.
Bloggers allow readers to have an inside peek at their family lives. They write in a way that makes you feel like you’re a close friend and they let you in on all kinds of tips and secrets. From travel to technology and health to fashion, mom bloggers write about every industry and specific topics, similar to beat reporters.
Did you know 55 percent of moms who use social media daily made a purchase based on the recommendation of a blog? With that kind of impact, it is an absolute must for brands targeting moms to reach out to bloggers, but these influencers are not like traditional reporters.
When pitching bloggers there are three important things to remember:
1. Customize your pitch
Bloggers are able to see right through a mail-merged, cookie-cutter pitch. Describe why your product or service is perfect for their exact situations. It helps to look at each blog and read some recent posts. Look at social platforms to see what kind of content engages their readers. Get to know their families and see where your brand could fit into their lives. Do not ask what type of content they write about — you should already know this.
To read more, click here.
Google’s algorithm updates have informed the public that good search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just about on-page optimization. Public relations now plays a big part in getting ranked higher in search engine results. Quality links from sites that have greater domain authority, such as top tier media outlets, produce higher rankings in search engine results.
Now that we know that PR can affect search, we want to define where and how social media comes into play. Google may place a high value on social media links, or they may not even matter. Can social media really affect search?
The answer is yes and no. I recently listened to a webinar hosted by Spin Sucks and presented by Andy Crestodina titled rather bluntly “How Does Social Media Affect SEO” that offered some insight. Continue reading “Does Social Media Affect Search?” »