Media Relations is an important part of a Marketing plan. Getting your content featured in the media helps provide significant reach for your products and services. Atul Dhakappa, Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting decided to catch up with Rick Grant, Chief Content Officer at RGA PR, a PR agency focused on the mortgage domain in the US. Rick has over 30 years of experience and has played several roles including editor of some leading trade publications.
We caught up with him to understand what it takes to create a successful media relations strategy and how it can help your marketing programs.
Q. Media Relations is an important part of a Marketing plan What do you think?
Rick: Even with all of the opportunities companies have to publish their own content today, getting ink in the trade press is still very important. The media offers a third party view into the events occurring in an industry and on the companies that are making news. That’s how they get their readers.A publication will typically cover topics that the editors feel is of interest to its readership. They expect readers to want to know about trends and forecasts, legal and compliance information, and marketing information that will help them grow their businesses.
Readers aren’t typically clamoring for more information about where they can spend their money.This means that companies need to pitch stories that go beyond their particular offerings to include information that the editor believes the publication’s readers will find important. Companies that can develop such content and get it picked up by the media will get a significant boost. This is one of the easiest ways to elevate company executives to thought leaders.
Q. We’re hearing a great deal about the importance of content across all marketing. What are your views?
Rick: Content Marketing is really the only marketing anyone is talking about today. Every company I’m working with understands the importance of developing articles, blog posts and social media status updates that expose their thought leadership and turns their executives into experts.At the same time, banner and button ads just don’t convert like content. People want to know the story and, especially on the business-to-business side, they want to know that the people they do business with truly understand them and their problems. Content marketing can do that.
Too often, though, I see organizations spend a great deal of effort creating content without taking enough time to make sure it adds value to the market they hope to serve. Any content that you develop that talks only about your own products or services is purely brochure-ware. This is not the type of content that is in demand these days. People will seek out white papers, eBooks, Infographics, and social media that offers them value. As a former trade publication editor, I help my clients develop those kinds of content.
Q. Once you have the right content, what do you do with it next?
Rick: Developing good content requires both time and effort, but just having it is not enough. You need to have a good plan for distributing that content and for re-purposing it in as many ways as possible. I tell my clients not to pay for the same story twice, but to use a good story as many times as possible.
We do that by re-purposing the content. For instance, if we write a good white paper or report, we can pull a feature article and some blog posts out of that material quite easily. We can then use social media and e-mail marketing to drive traffic back to those pieces, which will drive traffic back to the landing page, where we can harvest hot leads.
Good analytics can tell us what specific parts of our story got the most interest and that can inform future content.From this, you can see that hits in the media are only one part of an overall campaign. They are important, but they are just one more way we drive traffic back to our landing pages. You really must think out what you plan to do with your content, even before you start drafting it.
Q. How do you measure success from a media relations strategy?
Rick: We want to see our clients featured in the trade press on a regular basis, but determining what new business comes from such an appearance is difficult. It becomes much easier when we consider the aggregate of all places the company’s thought leadership has appeared during the month.We have really good analytics available to us today, so we can tell where our traffic is coming from. We try to measure everything we can, but when I talk to my clients, they are really only interested in a few key metrics.
- How many people ultimately hit the landing page?
- Of those, what percentage downloaded the content?
- Of those calling into the sales department, what percentage said they were influenced by the content?
To be successful, a company needs to develop a steady stream of valuable content, get it shared across all channels and in as many formats as possible and then drive all resulting traffic to a landing page where they can measure overall campaign conversion.