We’ve all read about – and felt – the changing. media. landscape. And sure, it’s real. But as PR pros working in an age when even the term ‘new media’ feels old and social apps appear and disappear like stairwells at Hogwarts, we can’t simply sit back and watch earned opportunities slip away. We have to evolve and expand by mining new communications platforms for the earned potential that lies within them. Trust me, it’s there.
Long-lead opportunities take months to move from pending to confirmed on ye old media status report, and short-lead placements – from daily newspapers to online websites – take days or weeks to come to fruition. As we know, social media is instant. We live in a feed-driven, digital world with everything from weddings and babies to vacations and tacos flying at us from all sides, all the time. Brands are part of these feeds in the form of owned content powered by paid media. And since media companies have adopted social channels as a viable distribution method for their content, shouldn’t PR pros be working harder to earn coverage for clients from media…on social media? Meta, yes, but stick with me.
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You’re already staging editor events to introduce products, so why not create an on-site content opportunity and encourage editors to share their experiences? Not only do they likely boast some level of reach and influence on their Twitter @handle, but they might also be responsible for determining what content gets posted from their publication’s channels. A tip: add social media editors or content directors to your media lists.
Take another classic PR tactic: the media tour or deskside appointment. Editors often are too busy to entertain mid-day meetings with spokespeople, but if you can offer a meeting that’s more experiential or info-taining, you might endear yourself further to a new media contact while pursuing a micro-lead placement opportunity for your brand. Think makeup tutorials for beauty brands, tastings for food companies or live demos of consumer tech. Extend the invitation to more of the editorial staff and you might secure a dozen placements – from Boomerangs on Instagram to a Facebook Live event – before you even reach the elevator.
Speaking of Facebook Live, this particular product offers perhaps the richest soil for driving earned coverage on an owned platform. For starters, a bunch of media companies (and celebrities) famously inked deals with Facebook last year to ensure use of the Live product. (The timing also coincided with Facebook’s ad campaign pushing the feature, so consumers were saturated with reasons to believe in sharing their own broadcasts.)
While media companies can’t sell their livestreams to advertisers, they can make the editorial decision to feature a product or spokesperson in the same way they determine what’s fit for column space in a magazine. So the next time you’re planning a media day with a celebrity, consider reserving a few time slots for those aforementioned social media editors. Their Q&A won’t take days or months to reach its intended audience. They’ll actually be part of the placement by engaging with the editor and talent in the moment. And because nearly all Facebook Live videos are left online for future viewing, impressions in the form of viewer numbers grow over time. Speaking of impressions, there’s also significant measurement value in securing micro-lead coverage, because true reach is so much easier to obtain from social platforms and digital sites.
These examples merely scratch the surface of what PR pros stand to earn if we adopt the mentality that the changing media landscape actually represents an expansion of opportunities, rather than a ceiling closing in on the comforting, go-to tactics we once enjoyed. You’re not playing catch-up. You’re helping to usher in a new definition of what spells PR s-u-c-c-e-s-s.
Michael J. Lamp is SVP, Social & Digital Media, Hunter Public Relations