4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Earned Media Coverage

laptop, newsapapers

Here today, gone tomorrow.

This hackneyed idiom should probably go on our list of overused phrases in PR, but we'll use it here if only to aptly describe the frustrating and ever more rapid succession of today's press cycle. As the pool of full-time journalists continues to wane (see Nieman's bleak 2015 report), today's PR professional has to spend increasing amounts of time writing pitches that stand out from the masses. And for all that effort, when a story does get picked up by a major outlet, it's buried by a constant stream of other stories—often without enough time for it to generate adequate impressions for the resources spent. Which begs the question: Is it still worth it for PR professionals to prioritize earned media, or should they pour all of their resources into newer media channels instead?

The answer lies in utilizing traditional media and emerging media in tandem. Pauline A. Howes, associate director of communication at Kennesaw University, argues that pursuing traditional news coverage is still highly relevant in today's troubled (journalistic) times—and that goes for clients in every industry.

She states, "[B2C] clients perceive value in having their stories told through the news media, because it reaches their peers in the business community, investors and the general public...[B2B] customers consider published articles more credible than paid advertising ... Nonprofit donors appreciate the impact of their contributions more after seeing articles about organization accomplishments."

However, a solid social media and online strategy are is still crucial to keep momentum going once a story has been published or aired. Below, Howes shares some tips for making the most out of a press placement both on and off of social media.

This piece contains an excerpt from PR News' Media Training Guidebook. Pick up a copy today for a deeper dive into traditional and emerging media campaigns.

Amplify the impact of coverage of your clients online and through social media. Reposting, retweeting, sharing links through your social media channels, websites and other platforms can extend the reach and impact of a published article. Corporate and nonprofit online newsrooms often include a section that features recent coverage that both the general public and media can view.

Explore options with media using multiple platforms. The websites of newspapers, magazines, television and radio may offer additional outlets for your stories that may not make it to the printed page or news broadcast. For example, some TV stations’ websites allow video and information to be uploaded by the public. This is one way of telling the story of a nonprofit or the community service of a local business.

Use social media to announce news. Stories that break online via Twitter, YouTube, a blog or another form of social media are often then covered by news media. Securities and Exchange rules now allow financial disclosures on social media. Thoughtful use of this strategy to convey news may make sense to reach diverse audiences that get their news through different channels.

Educate your clients about new media. Your clients may not be aware of many of the online media options now available and, consequently, underestimate their value. Educating your client about new media alternatives can solidify perceived value of media coverage in the digital environment.