Three Steps to Get Media Attention When You Have No News to Report

Media attention is one of the best ways to build brand awareness and demonstrate thought leadership for your company in the industrial sector. Respected third-party mentions of your company can help influence potential customers, and those relevant links back to your website are like gold. But what if your company doesn’t have any breaking news to write about for a press release? There’s a way around that problem. You can still gain the interest of editors, bloggers and writers. Just follow these three steps.

1. Identify the relevant media properties and journalists
If you have any kind of public relations or marketing strategy you probably already know (and read) the relevant websites, blogs, online publications and other media outlets that cover your industry. Make a list and start to dig deeper. Find out who the reporters, writers and editors are that cover the topics most closely related to your subject matter expertise, products and services. Get their contact information. Their email addresses are usually published next to their names.

Next, examine any media kits or editorial calendars these media outlets have available. Even mission statements can reveal special areas of interest. See where your company and expertise fits in. You have to plan because most media properties publish editorial calendars six months to a year in advance, plus it takes time to establish contact with editors and writers, build a relationship and pitch your story.

2. Generate and develop story ideas
This is the step where marketers sometimes get stuck because their company doesn’t have any breaking news to report. But there are always good stories waiting to be discovered and told. Here are a few ways to find them:

  • Piggyback on the issues currently trending in your industry. It might be a technology breakthrough, a shift in market dynamics, new regulations, a key merger or acquisition, or other issues in the news. What is your company’s position on these issues? Do you have a point of view that’s unique or under-reported? Develop a story around it.
  • Offer up an in-house expert to analyze or comment on trends or other recent news. Prepare a compelling bio for your expert that you can submit to editors. What’s special about your experts and what they have to say? Why will it be important to the readers of the publication?
  • Conduct a survey or other research and promote the findings to relevant media outlets. What have you uncovered in your research that may be of interest to the writers and editors—and the readers? You can also use the research tactic to produce white papers, webinars, articles and other marketing content.
  • Choose a topic that’s recently been covered. It might be an article about one of your competitors. Look for a side of the story that hasn’t been reported on and develop a new idea around it. Journalists like to report every side of a story and may be interested in follow-up articles.

3. Make Your Pitch
You have your list of targeted media outlets and contacts. You have your story idea and you’ve turned it into a compelling pitch. Now it’s time to reach out to reporters, bloggers, writers and editors. You need to personalize your pitch to each individual—don’t send out a spray-and-pray mass email. Introduce yourself and your company, pitch your story idea, and tell them why their audience will be interested (answer the always-relevant question: Who cares?). Offer background materials, which you should have at your fingertips ready to hit the send button. Do everything you can to make their jobs easier and make saying “yes” easier for them.

The fact is, the media in any industry is a story seller’s market for you, not a buyer’s market. Every media outlet is looking for the next great story to give to their readers. If you’ve got it, and you can make a convincing case for it, they will want it. Of course, not every idea you pitch will hit the strike zone. Sometimes your story won’t get picked up. But even if it doesn’t, you’ve cultivated relationships with important media contacts in your industry and have positioned yourself as a go-to resource that could be called upon in the future for quotes, opinions and interviews for other stories.

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How has your company received media attention with no real news to report? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Public Relations Thought Leadership

Why Press Releases are Important in Industrial Marketing

Writing and distributing press releases should be part of every industrial company’s marketing and communications strategy. Many industrial companies are in the habit of issuing a press release when they launch a new product or have other company news. But sometimes the press release becomes nothing more than a checkbox on a communications to-do list. That’s not enough. Press releases can be powerful tools and deliver significant payback in terms of getting your company name in front of your target audience and raising the profile of your brand in the markets you serve.

Seize press release opportunities
Product launches and other company news are obvious reasons to write press releases. But relying only on “news” could result in long periods of time in which your company is silent, which lessens your visibility. Fortunately there are many other opportunities for issuing press releases:

  • Promoting a special event your company is hosting or a speaking engagement for one of your executives. The press release should tell why the event is important to your audience and relevant at this time.
  • Piggybacking on issues and trends in your industry. There’s often news in your industry that may not directly involve your company, such as technological advances, regulatory changes, mergers and acquisitions, a new report from industry analysts, etc. You can leverage these situations by issuing a press release that states your company’s position on what’s happening in your industry. Why the technological advance is beneficial—or why the industry should proceed with caution. What new regulations mean to customers. How a merger between two competitors will affect the industry and customers. Why a popular held belief is about a technology or trend is authentic—or misguided. The key is that your company has a unique and relevant point of view that distinguishes it from other voices in the industry.
  • Building thought leadership. When your company produces a new white paper, publishes the results of a survey, or is quoted in an article, you can issue a press release to promote the content and build your reputation as a thought leader in your industry. Again, explain the relevance of the content to your audience and make it newsworthy and timely.

Have a distribution strategy
You should post your press release on your website and link to it from email newsletters, social media and other digital platforms like your supplier profile, but you should also consider a broader distribution strategy to better reach your target audience.

  • Use a press release distribution service such as PRWeb, EmailWire, eReleases, BusinessWire, Gorkana, Meltwater or others. Most services can help you distribute your press releases broadly as well as target specific niches. They will also offer reporting in terms of which publications picked up your release.
  • Communicate with individual editors of specific industry websites. This involves researching a publication and editor’s specific area of interest, and targeting those editors who will be most interested in your news. You might want to reach out to editors and introduce yourself personally rather than simply flooding them with press releases. In addition, if you establish a relationship with editors in your industry, they will be more likely to contact you for an interview and quotes when working on a story that’s in your area of expertise. Translated that equals free, third-party exposure.

Set goals and measure
Press releases can help generate inquiries and engagement opportunities for your sales team, although they work best when integrated into your overall marketing program. To track the effectiveness of your press releases, be sure to ask the distribution service you use or the specific publication what type of metrics they provide.

Key metrics include:

  • Number of pick-ups (where your press release appeared)
  • Number of views (how many people saw your press release)
  • Number of clickthroughs (how many people clicked on a link in your press release)
  • Comparison reports (how your press release performed on these metrics compared your industry’s benchmarks)

Include these four items in all press releases

  • A striking headline: grab the reader’s attention with a headline that conveys the subject matter and why it’s important to your audience. Try writing a number of candidates, then choose the strongest one.
  • Keywords: sprinkle relevant keywords (sprinkle, not pour; a few mentions should do) in the press release to help with search engine optimization.
  • Links: Always include links to landing pages, downloads or other web pages so the reader can get more information (and you can track performance).
  • Contact info: Don’t forget to include email address and phone number for your media contact person.

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How do you use press releases as part of your marketing mix? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Public Relations Thought Leadership