2020 media relations lessons

Three Media Relations Lessons From This Past Year: Personalize, Differentiate and Foster

We’re more than a year into the pandemic and the media relations landscape has evolved with the changing times. When COVID-19 outbreaks spiked in the U.S. in March 2020, most newsrooms went into full crisis mode. The stories that the media were interested in covering prior to the pandemic shifted almost overnight.

Journalists immediately pivoted to covering breaking news and ongoing developments to keep their audiences informed, and during the initial weeks of the pandemic there was not much room for reporting on anything else.

Through 2020, the nature of media relations, interviews, newsrooms and reporting changed. We went from regular phone and in-person interviews to having all conversations over Zoom while sitting in our makeshift living room offices and kitchen tables. During this time, it was all about focusing on the basics.

b2b journalists 2021

In the world of journalism and media relations, we’re just beginning to see signs of a potential ‘return to normal’ on the horizon. Journalists, specifically within the B2B space, are now focused on reporting on the future and how businesses and consumers can best prepare.

As tumultuous as this past year was, it also presented some key lessons about the media landscape that should not be ignored.

Lesson one: personalizing the connection

While 2020 took many things away from us, it also created an opportunity to make new connections with key media targets.

As we all found ourselves stuck to the confines of our homes, we also found that we had more time to start conversations. However, to land these interviews with journalists, personalization became more crucial than ever.

For example, Cision’s  2021 Global State of the Media Report revealed that “1 in 4 journalists receive over 100 pitches per week with most ending up in the virtual trash due to irrelevance.”

You would not reach out to a prospect customer with irrelevant information would you? In that same vein, journalists need a personalized approach, especially in today’s environment during which newsrooms are lean and mean–and journalists have more being demanded of them every day.

targeted media pitching

Even before COVID, newsrooms were stretched thin. Throughout 2019 and 2020, many publications unfortunately had to cut their staff and journalists. This required those left in the newsroom to be extremely resourceful with their time.

This past year showed the importance of ensuring each pitch was targeted and provided value to each journalist from the get-go. While journalists have been more willing and available to speak with more story resources, these conversations need to provide value to the journalist to help them do their job.


Lesson two: providing relevance and differentiation

Besides being personalized, sources also need to come to the table with relevant and differentiated points of view. It’s about identifying how you can best answer the journalist’s questions and provide responses that other publications have not fully answered.

In preparing for interviews, we recommend our clients analyze the following questions in order to bring value to the journalist:

  • What is the breaking news?
  • What does this news mean and why should the journalist’s audience care?
  • What does this news mean for your customers and your industry?
  • What is one key thing that (your customer or industry watchers) should consider or think about as they are digesting this news?
  • How can you or your company provide further analysis and a point of view for this news?

Keep in mind that if you have unique data that can really highlight what’s going on in the industry or point to outliers or differentiators, that’s always very interesting and helpful for journalists.

Lesson three: treating journalists as you treat your best customers

Being able to position yourself as a helpful resource is certainly a great way to develop a relationship over time. It’s about keeping in mind the various ways you can bring something that the journalist needs to every interaction with them.

journalists are like customers

A key lesson here, especially during this past year, is to always treat journalists like you would treat your best customers. They’re every bit as important to the company as your customer relationships. And, just like your best customers, you want to make sure you are helping answer their questions, identifying new ways to think about things and helping them do their job.

After 2020? Personalize, differentiate and foster.

2020 was challenging, there’s no question about it. However, the past year also put an emphasis on the journalist/ source relationship and presented key lessons to succeed within this environment. It all boils down to added value.

Journalists are pressed for time more than ever before and need valuable resources to help them write the most accurate and engaging article. As a source, you can help them by personalizing your approach, providing value through differentiation, and fostering a long-term relationship.

Interested in doing more with your media relations strategy in 2021? We’d love to see how we can help jump-start your activities and support you for the long-haul. Let’s chat.

pr drives leads

Answering the Age-Old Question: How Does PR Drive Leads

A Ketner Group Communications client case study

“How does earned media coverage correlate to sales and help drive leads?”

It’s the age-old question in the PR world and one that will undoubtedly come up during the lifetime of any agency-to-client relationship.

This question has not been an easy one to answer since the inception of the public relations industry. Albeit, it’s been a constant issue that pros across the board have avidly worked to find an answer to.

Our very own Adrienne Newcomb has written blogs discussing how clients can use earned media coverage to drive leads. While our clients have also shared their own personal experiences on how they’ve used earned media coverage to drive their marketing efforts.

As well, various measurement and analytics programs including Cision and Meltwater have become popular in the past decade to help close the gap between PR and sales. Providing various metrics and breakdowns to help PR pros explain how PR correlates to sales.

public relations marketing funnel

It’s a tricky scenario. Technically, PR is considered top of funnel in the sales and marketing world. However, if used as part of an integrated marketing plan, it can be an influencing factor in turning the heads of just the right prospect at the right time.

Earning the coverage

This was the very case for our client Larry Waks of Foley & Lardner LLP. A partner at the law firm, Larry represents many clients across food and beverage, distilled spirits, consumer products, fashion, entertainment, media, intellectual property, and mergers and acquisitions.

Dubbed “Lawyer to the Stars” by some of his colleagues, Larry’s innovative and personable approach has made him a go-to lawyer for many in the entertainment industry and allowed him to build an exciting and unique client base.

This includes representing George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman, in the $1 billion sale of the Casamigos tequila brand to global spirits giant Diageo Plc. Larry used his expertise to help develop the recent Garth Brooks concerts at drive-in theaters across North America.

During our recent collaboration with Larry, we helped promote his role in the launch of Travis Scott’s CACTI spiked seltzer. We secured a podcast interview between him and Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz to discuss Larry’s recent work on celebrity alcohol deals and his trajectory as a lawyer to date. The interview was a success—E.J. and Larry had an insightful conversation and great banter, providing for an interesting piece of content that, if leveraged correctly, could be very useful.

Turning the coverage into leads

After the interview took place, Larry and our team worked with Foley & Lardner’s internal marketing arm to alert them of the upcoming article and ensure internal and external promotion from Foley’s channel was ready to go. Meanwhile, Ketner Group worked finalized image and publishing details with E.J.

foley leads from pr

When the article went live on Jan. 20, the integrated effort between Foley and Ketner Group resulted in Larry receiving an influx of notifications from clients and qualified leads within the distilled spirits space. These inquiries led to new connections and ultimately the start of new business projects.

Answering the age-old question

While the above is just a minor example of how earned media coverage can help drive qualified leads, it’s also a testament to the concept of making earned coverage work for you. It’s about taking the quality coverage that the client and PR agency have worked with and ensuring it gets the attention it deserves from an internal and external perspective.

While one example can’t quite answer the age-old question, if used correctly, it can help to create a trickle-down effect of driving sales leads.

How we can help earn coverage

Earning media coverage can be a tough task. If you want to learn how we can help you earn some media coverage, schedule a free consultation with us.

austin-startup-week-2020

Austin Startup Week: Planning for Startups, Take Two

This year, Ketner Group Communications is thrilled to participate in two Austin Startup Week panels! For the first year, Austin Startup Week will occur digitally and we couldn’t be more excited to participate after the fun we’ve had in previous years. Just last year Catherine Seeds was part of the panel, Differentiate or Die: How to Go Beyond Startup Status.

Panel one: 2020 PR and marketing planning

This year, I will moderate the panel discussion, 2020 PR and Marketing Planning for Startups, Take Two: What to Do Now, alongside Adlucent’s Senior Director of Marketing, Laura Russell and Revionics’ SVP of Global Marketing, Jonathan Dampier.

This panel, held during Austin Startup Week 2020, will discuss how marketing strategy has pivoted during 2020, offering best practices for managing marketing and PR programs in this time of uncertainty and practical insights for moving forward.

Panel two: innovative retail concepts

Additionally, our very own Jeff Ketner will also moderate a separate panel discussion titled, “Innovative Brands and Retail Concepts: The Next Wave.” Panel participants will include David Matthews, Managing Director of RevTech Ventures and Michelle Breyer, COO of SKU.

This session will focus on the what’s next for brands and retail concepts that is now dominating the news cycle. Prior to the COVID pandemic, all anyone could talk about was “The store of the future!” and what that meant for shoppers. We now live in a different world, which still revolves around what our future store and favorite brands might look like, but consumers priorities have changed, and expectations have become higher. 

The panel will discuss, from a VC point of view, what the next wave will be, beyond today’s “so hot right now” digitally native brands. They will explore what future shoppers will expect of these brands and retail concepts, including highly personalized services, more experiential shopping and product curation, and of course, convenience.

austin-startup-week-event-2020

Re-evaluating 2020 planning

As our CEO, Jeff Ketner, mentioned earlier this year, “2020 planning was derailed for many companies far too early this year, especially startups who looked to 2020 as the year to make their public launch.”

The pandemic has forced companies to scrap carefully laid business and marketing plans and adjust at lightning speed to constantly changing conditions. We’re now past the mid-point of 2020, and the question is: what comes next for startups?

Despite the ravages of the coronavirus, we’re seeing some signs of optimism.

Startups are focused on the future and have moved quickly to pivot their products and services to meet the uncertainties of the post-pandemic world.

Companies are rethinking business models, looking for new opportunities to help their customers succeed, and many are aligning their marketing and PR plans accordingly.

Setting a course for the remainder of the year

Both panel discussions will touch on initiatives that are a must for every company, PR practitioner and marketer, including:

  • Re-examining your brand’s proposition
  • Innovating fearlessly
  • Focusing on the fundamentals
  • Reallocating your unspent marketing budget
  • Planning for 2021 with pivots in mind

Join us for Austin Startup Week

“2020, am I right?”

This year has not only tested our personal and professional resiliency, but has taught us valuable lessons on how to roll with the punches and rise to the challenge. “How?” you ask.  Join us this year at Austin Startup Week 2020, a five-day online event showcasing the Austin startup community, to find out.

prnews agency elite top 100 award win

Ketner Group Communications Named to 2020 PRNEWS Agency Elite Top 100 List

AUSTIN, Texas – Sept. 1, 2020 – Ketner Group Communications, a public relations, marketing and communications firm helping innovators establish market leadership, today announced it has been named to the 2020 PRNEWS PR Agency Top 100 list. The list highlights the top communications, marketing, and digital agencies serving the U.S. as a resource for those in search of an agency partner.

Agencies making up the list were chosen based off the following: creative campaigns with proven results, reputations built by client testimonials and industry awards, agency thought leadership, as well as noteworthy agency capabilities or offerings. The list includes firms of all sizes for a collective representation of the best of the industry.

prnews agency elite ketner group

“To be named in this list among so many other creative and successful agencies is a huge honor for us,” said Jeff Ketner, CEO, Ketner Group Communications. “We have worked hard to make this not only an agency that prioritizes exceeding client expectations, but one that enables our amazing team to learn and grow in their careers, and live their best lives outside of the office. Our team brings its A-game to the table each and every day, and it shows.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ketner Group team has continued to provide the highest levels of support and results for clients, securing media coverage in publications like Reuters, Variety Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, Marketwatch and more. It has guided clients on the best practices in communications during a pandemic and officially launched the agency’s first webinar series, KG Connects, bringing together influencers and industry experts to discuss trends in PR and marketing. As well, Ketner Group has again been featured as one of the top PR agencies in Austin, and the agency’s president, Catherine Seeds, was recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Power in Central Texas.

The Agency Elite Top 100 list is available via an all-new searchable portal on prnewsonline.com, giving brand-side marketers an effective and efficient tool in narrowing the search for their next agency partner. PRNEWS expects more than 50,000 client-side visits to the list annually.

To learn more about Ketner Group’s expertise in public and media relations, content development, and digital marketing, along with future career opportunities, contact us.

Media Contact

Mariana Fischbach, Director of Media Relations
Ketner Group Communications
[email protected]

Media Training

The Media Training Playbook

Every organization needs to make big decisions about their media relations approach. You must determine who within your organization will own the program and identify the conversations you want to lead. Once you’ve done this, you need to ensure your spokespeople are media trained and ready to take an interview on short notice.

Building muscle memory through media training

You wouldn’t send your sports team out to compete against their rival without practicing plays. The team has to build muscle memory and develop chemistry. Media training works exactly the same way. It builds your spokesperson’s muscle memory and familiarizes them with the process. With practice and coaching, they will know a series of plays to implement based on the type of interview.

media training is like sports

Types of interviews:

Your spokesperson may need to take an interview in the following formats:

  • Written responses via email that quote them directly in print or digital articles;
  • A phone interview or on-camera conference call that will quote the spokesperson throughout digital and print articles;
  • A podcast recording that will feature a Q&A style interview that turns into the basis for an article or is printed as submitted;
  • Broadcast interview in which the journalist will utilize an (on average) 30-second video segment of the spokesperson’s interview – sometimes these segments are live.

It’s important to note that each medium brings nuances in the way your spokesperson needs to deliver their message to be effective. Therefore, as you begin your organization’s media training journey it’s important to emphasize the differences in interview formats. The spokesperson’s technique will have to change with each.

For example, broadcast requires an additional set of skills as the spokesperson has to convey key messages via body language in addition to speaking. For broadcast, we usually like to bring in additional partners that solely focus on this medium in order to really help the spokesperson prepare for all of the nuances that broadcast demands.

Every time I advise clients on preparing for a broadcast interview, I kindly ask them to stay away from sounding and looking like Ricky Bobby on this now iconic scene from the film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Take a look, and you’ll see why!

Developing a media training process for each type of interview – whether creating an internal training process or bringing in an outside professional – is key.

media training plays

Media training – how to get started

As you build a media training program or work with an agency such as ours to get your spokespeople trained, we recommend the following “plays” to build out your media training playbook:

Play #1 – Knowing why to prepare for a media interview

In coordinating with spokespeople for media interviews, it’s important to discuss the importance of training. They need to know why training matters and how it will help them in the long run. Getting your spokespeople bought in early on in the process is critical to ensuring future interview success.

Play #2 – Spokesperson Do’s and Don’ts

A critical part of media training involves walking spokespeople through things they should and should not do during the interview. For example, letting your spokesperson know which customers they can or cannot name publicly, as well as which facts and figures they can reference versus ones they cannot speak to, is key.

Everything a spokesperson tells the journalist is deemed “on the record”. If something they say isn’t fit for print, the spokesperson must explicitly get the journalist to agree that the information is strictly “off the record” before sharing. This can be very helpful to help them understand context without revealing private info publicly.

Play #3 – Different methods of answering questions

It’s important to identify different ways and tactics spokespeople can use to respond to questions. For example, at times, a journalist’s question may be long winded and a spokesperson’s natural tendency may be to go off on a tangent.

Identify these characteristics and walk the spokesperson through various ways of answering a question. The goal is to deliver quotable soundbites that stand out within the journalist’s report.

You should also practice scenarios in which the spokesperson must politely decline to answer a question if they do not have an answer for it or cannot publicly speak to it.

Play #4 – Practice, Practice, Practice

Once you’ve run through the initial plays, it’s time to put all of that muscle memory into gear and walk through several mock interviews. The spokesperson should be walked through interview exercises designed specifically for the kind of stories and reporters they’ll speak to.

As you do so, identify each reporter’s interview and reporting style and discuss what they respond to and how the spokesperson can adjust their messaging to be more effective for each journalist.

Practice makes perfect! As you start media training your spokesperson, ensure you are going over the above plays and getting them prepared to perform “on the field.”

If you need additional help, Ketner Group is available to help your spokespeople hit the ground running and achieve success! Contact us today to get started on your media training journey.

developing a media relations strategy

How to Launch a Media Relations Program: SoGal Webinar Recap

This past month, Ketner Group president Catherine Seeds and I had the pleasure of hosting a media relations strategy webinar with SoGal, a global platform for the education and empowerment of diverse entrepreneurs and investors. During this webinar, we provided attendees with key tactics and strategies to consider as they look to launch a media relations program.

We discussed:

  • Why businesses across verticals should consider a media relations program
  • The value of media coverage
  • The key steps to launch a media relations program

The top takeaways:

  • Do your research
  • Get to know your media targets
  • Personalize your conversation with each.

Here are some of the highlights from the webinar:

Why have a media relations program?

A media relations program can drive external awareness for your company through validated third-party sources.  Let’s say your company just landed its first round of funding or launched a new product in the market. If you do not tell your story, someone else will.

By creating a media relations program, you have the ability to tell your story to a member of the media community and reach multiple audiences beyond your own network.

What’s more, a media relations program can help bolster your company’s cache among a particular audience. Let’s say your chief data officer is well-versed in a particular technology within the healthcare industry.

You can generate media coverage by having them provide commentary for a relevant story a reporter is working on. Securing exposure for him/her as an expert on related hot button conversations positions your company as trustworthy and informed. Ultimately, it helps elevate your brand recognition and brings a sense that you can solve tough challenges.

Last but not least, a media relations program can build your company’s digital breadcrumbs. Highly relevant coverage helps you to rise through the ranks of engine search algorithms for your business’ key terms.

Tactics for building the program

As you consider creating the program, you must decide whether to run the program in-house or work with a public relations agency. Depending on what path you choose, we always advise that your company dedicate a single in-house lead. That person, often the CMO, can make sure the agency and internal stakeholders work together seamlessly.

When budget is tight or you’re just starting out, there are many easy and free tools available to help. For media opportunities, HARO and Qwoted are two platforms where reporters look for sources for stories they are working on.

As well, Twitter is an important platform to keep in mind. Identify and follow relevant reporters and engage with them regularly. Plus, they often post to Twitter when they need sources for a story. Sometimes even better, Twitter lets you avoid annoying pitches by keeping up with what they vent about.

Three best practices to launch a media relations program

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to begin. We often advise these top three best practices to get started:

  • Identify your target audience
  • Identify key conversations you want to drive
  • Do your research and build your top 20 list of media contacts and publications you would like to work with

After that, it’s time to begin your outreach and prepare for interviews!

Get to know your media targets

Many attendees emphasized the value of not just tracking journalists, but building an effective relationship with them. Really, the art of media relations is all about differentiating your company in the eyes of the journalist.

Take the time to really personalize your outreach to each of the media members you connect with. And make sure that the story you offer is relevant. We can’t overstate how much this helps you build an effective relationship in the long run.

As Catherine best put it, “nurturing those relationships will always pay off in the end!”

To learn more, download the complete webinar presentation.

People shaking hands during a business meeting

CMOs and Media Relations: A Symbiotic Relationship

It’s quite possible that chief marketing officers (CMOs) have had to answer the following question countless times; “do we need a media relations program?”  

Spoiler alert… the answer is yes!

In addition to creating thought leadership and external awareness, a media relations strategy helps feed top of the funnel marketing initiatives. As well, a robust media relations program provides the sales team with additional ammunition throughout the sales cycle.

However, CMOs and heads of marketing hold the secret ingredient to make a media relations program succeed – driving the relationship.

A symbiotic relationship

During my time as an agency-side PR professional, the best agency-client relationships and most successful media programs I’ve seen have had a CMO at the wheel.

CMOs provide a holistic awareness of what is going on throughout their organization and understand the type of information that is most helpful for their customers and prospects. As such, CMOs can serve as the ideal conduit for information to flow between internal and external audiences.

Developing a strong media relations program requires knowing how your company serves customer needs and how industry trends affect the market. There’s no better person to lead that than the CMO.

Making the connection

As you position your company for media interviews, keep in mind that the CMO can serve as a primary spokesperson for the reasons discussed above. In the past, some of my clients have flagged concerns about having the CMO take interviews.

However, given their leadership over corporate and product messaging as well as customer needs, CMOs have proven themselves to consistently offer unique and valuable data and context during media interviews.

During every media interview, CMOs should look to create a personal relationship with each media contact. It’s no secret that reporters have to move at the speed of light to cover breaking news. They need a portfolio of sources they can tap to gather a balanced perspective of what the breaking news means for a particular community.

As CMOs connect with new media contacts this is a time to share the particular topics they can offer expertise on and available to discuss as news evolves.

After the interview, we often recommend that the CMO connect with the reporter. The best way is on social media, discussing recent stories, current industry trends or even funny discussions taking place in the Twittersphere. Just as CMOs do with customers, it’s about building a relationship with the media to stay top of mind.

A CMO’s media relations strategy during COVID-19

From a media relations perspective, today’s environment demands increased responsibility in the type of information we share externally.

CMOs need to take the personal media connections they’ve made and analyze how their company can further serve reporters’ needs in an efficient and responsible manner.

It’s about asking what kind of information is needed and useful for the reporter, as well as for their customer base. As well, CMOs also have the responsibility to work with their communications team and PR agency not only to align timing for company announcements with other marketing campaigns but to ensure the media and public will be receptive to the forthcoming announcement.

It’s critical to have all stakeholders and experts on hand to evaluate what is appropriate to announce and what should be put on temporary hold in the current climate.

We all hold a responsibility to limit misinformation and provide helpful commentary. CMOs across organizations can serve as guardians, conveying information that is helpful and informational in a time of crisis.

Strengthening the CMO-driven media relations program

As CMOs continue to get more comfortable with their media relations programs they can succeed by serving as conduits of information, fostering a personal relationship with media contacts and serving as guardians against the spread of misinformation.

Marketing and media relations go hand-in-hand, creating new paths of growth for a company and a powerful asset for brand building. The secret ingredient to making these programs work together lies with the CMO.

Person holding microphone for media interview

Media Interviews: Best Practices for Spokespeople

If your company has ramped up its public relations and marketing program, chances are, your company has been asked to take media interviews.

Whether this is the spokesperson’s first time or their 100th time to take a media interview, their ability to successfully drive the interview is critical to achieving the desired coverage.

When it comes to media interviews, each spokesperson must find their own unique style. After all, a journalist is typically reaching out to a particular spokesperson because they need a subject matter expert. Therefore, exuding confidence and knowledge during the interview process is a must.

Tips for nailing the interview

Though each spokesperson should have their own unique interview style, there are a few things you can do prior to the interview to prepare and nail the talking points.

Do your research

Just as the journalist did his/her research before reaching out, the spokesperson should do the same. Getting to know the journalist’s reporting style will help the spokesperson provide relevant points during the interview. Doing the research will also provide the spokesperson with additional fodder to create a connection with the journalist during their chat.

Keep in mind that journalists receive more than 100 emails a day and take about 3-5 interviews on a daily basis. Therefore, ensuring that you are providing a differentiated point of view and unique data points, will help the journalist explore different angles to the story they are working on.

As well, if you are currently working with a PR agency, the agency should work to gather sample questions ahead of time and provide the spokesperson with a media profile that highlights the journalist’s experience to help the spokesperson prepare.

Talk it out

Keep in mind that the interview can happen in a variety of ways; via phone, in-person, podcast recording or over live broadcast. We recommend having the spokesperson undergo a mock interview training process to identify areas of improvement and hone their unique interview style.

Keep in mind that public speaking is not everyone’s forte and therefore, practice makes perfect. Having the spokesperson run through several mock interviews that go over the nuances of all these forms will only help the spokesperson perfect their style.

For example, if the spokesperson plans to do a live broadcast interview, taping the person during the mock interview process and then reviewing the tape will help the spokesperson identify areas of improvement in clarity, tone and body language. This will help the spokesperson ace the 15-30 second segment that will eventually make it on air.

This will help avoid the scenario Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights found himself in when being interviewed live and he kept raising his hands up to his face, saying to the broadcaster, “I don’t know what to do with my hands.” With a little practice, you can avoid this problem during your spokesperson’s interview process.

During the interview

It’s go time! As your spokesperson speaks to the journalist remind them that everything they say to them should be deemed “on the record.” Key tips to keep in mind include:

  • Provide soundbites. Remember that the journalist may only use a portion of the interview in their story. Therefore, ensure that your comments quickly relay the key messages you want to be published.
  • Provide unique data points, numbers and statistics that you can reference publicly.
  • Be energetic, honest, transparent and yourself.
  • Do not answer a question you do not know. It’s ok to not know the answer to every question.
  • Do not comment on speculation.
  • Do not name any customers that you cannot reference publicly.

After the interview

As the term states, media relations is about building a relationship with each media contact. Therefore, ensure your spokesperson connects with the journalist to thank them for the interview. Additionally, connecting with the journalist via Twitter and LinkedIn will not only help the spokesperson keep the relationship going with the journalist, but will also help to keep a pulse on their ongoing coverage.

As we’ve mentioned before, practice makes perfect! If you have an upcoming media interview, now is the time to start preparing. Utilize the above helpful tips to get started, but don’t be afraid to call in the pros once your program really takes off!

analysis-of-market

The Data Formula: How Unique Data Drives Top-Tier Coverage

Clients often ask me, “How can we achieve top-tier coverage in publications like CNBC or The Wall Street Journal?” While there are a variety of ways to achieve this goal, one of the best ways to drive top-tier coverage is by collecting and sharing data.

However, you must remember that not all data is created equal. Let’s take a look at the factors you should consider to provide reporters relevant and useful stats worthy of top-tier placement.

Type of Data

By definition, data means “facts and statistics that are collected together for reference or analysis.” As you look to land interviews with top media contacts like Bloomberg or Business Insider, remember your data should serve as a reference or validation point for the reporter. For example, if the reporter’s beat focuses on how AI is influencing the workplace, you should point to key trends within that subject, adding further context to that particular topic.

A good example in this instance could be results from a survey of employees from various organizations and verticals about their opinions on AI. Whatever the subject, ensure your data is robust enough to answer key questions on current trends. As well, always avoid any promotional or self-serving message. Think of the data that you are providing as the greatest asset you have to highlight your expertise within the particular subject you are validating.

Know Your Audience

Now that you’ve identified the type of data, it’s time to ‘get to talking!’ What I mean by this is that you must do your due diligence and speak with each reporter you are looking to work with and identify the relevant data. For example, if you are working with a reporter who has extensively covered holiday sales outcomes in previous years, reach out to them prior to the start of holiday sales this year. Your goal should be to come away with a full understanding of what the reporter will be focusing on during each season and how your data can add third-party validation to their reports.

Timing is Everything

As you plan to send each journalist the stats you’ve collected, remember that timing is everything. For example, let’s say you own a financial services company that helps consumers file their taxes by the Tax Day deadline. The best practice here is to begin compiling relevant data about six-to-four weeks out from the deadline in order to showcase major trends that will emerge during Tax Day. As well, having the ability to provide key stats to reporters in real-time will also help you win at the coverage game.

Learn From Data Success Stories

Let’s take a look at a top example of a company who has owned the data success game recently, Adobe. If you can recall 2018’s Cyber Week sales coverage, chances are you saw the name Adobe everywhere you looked. Adobe achieved this by providing key statistics on popular trends, such as online conversions and voice assisted shopping to top reporters. It also shared this data in both real-time and as a recap, earning recognition in Fortune, Reuters and many other tier-one publications.

The Data Formula

So, remember, if top-tier coverage is a top-tier goal for you, the best way to get it is by following the data formula. It’s all about providing authentic value and unbiased third-party analysis to help a reporter write a compelling story. The process starts early as you identify the type of data you can provide and make initial connections with your journalist base. This preparation makes execution easy, and once you know which audience and data findings are a match, you’ll just need to hit ‘send’ when the time is right.

planning a strategy

Three Best Practices to Create a Meaningful Media Relations Strategy

One of the first questions we ask clients is “what does media relations success look like to you?”

As you may expect, the answers vary throughout – and with good reason. When it comes to media relations goals, not all strategies are created equal. Why? It’s because clients across the board have different goals, which makes each media strategy highly unique. As we work with clients on their media strategies, we use the following key points to get the planning started:

Media Relations Question #1: Identify Your Target Audience

Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, identifying your target audience should be the first step. Who do you want to connect with? The publications you go after will vary depending on if your desired audience is the C-suite, baby boomers or Gen Z. While top-tier publications such as WSJ, CNBC and USA Today should be a top goal, it’s important to not discount the trade publications.

Trade publications reach a particular audience that may be interested in learning more about your niche or product. As such, it’s important to identify the exact audience you wish to reach in order to move the needle for your business.

Media Relations Question #2: Identify Your Key Conversation

The next question we ask clients is to identify the conversations they would like to own, be a part of and even stay away from. In the world of media relations, thought leadership is key. Companies can drive thought leadership by offering compelling insights that journalists cannot attain anywhere else.

As a best practice, we ask our clients to be highly targeted within their thought leadership approach. As American philosopher Nicholas M. Butler best put it, “an expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.” By identifying their key conversations, clients can highlight their expertise and garner the type of media coverage that will drive positive exposure.

Media Relations Question #3: Identify Your Top Publications & Media Contacts

The final step is to narrow down the journalists and publications your company will build a relationship with. As the term ‘media relations’ infers, thought leaders should build genuine relationships with key media contacts that cover their space.

Receiving an average of 300 media pitches per day, journalists have limited capacity to sift through every email and pitch. As a best practice, we recommend working with our clients to build a list of the top 20 journalists that they will build a relationship with beyond just a single pitch. For example, going beyond the pitch means that our clients will work to actively follow their columns, connect with them on social and whenever possible, meet with them in-person to discuss different industry trends. The more a journalist knows about a company and its thought leaders, the likelier they are to reach out next time they need a source.

Working Toward Meaningful Coverage

Cracking the media relations world can be a tough task without the proper knowledge and direction. However, by working to answer the first initial questions, companies can set the foundation for a strong media relations strategy that drives meaningful coverage. Learn how to drive meaningful coverage for your business by asking these three questions about your media relations strategy.