Everyone wants content that becomes so popular, even mainstream media takes notice. In fact, 35% of people that post videos do so in the hopes that they will become viral. However the chances of going viral, whether it’s a blog post, video or infographic, are actually very slim━unless it’s a funny baby or cat video. Even then, you have a lot of competition. (Almost 45% of Internet users post videos of cats or other animals, according to Pew Research Center.)
So, in a world where cat videos seem to reign supreme, how do you get your content picked up by media? Instead of hoping that it will magically be seen by millions, you need to develop a strong content distribution strategy.
When it comes to content distribution, there are 3 primary channels that you should know first. They are:
● Owned - Your own channels that you post on such as your website, blog and social media.
● Earned - When your content is picked up by other channels, influencers, blogs, journalists and media. (What we will focus on in this blog.)
● Paid - This is anything that you pay to be created, promoted and shared. This includes branded content, pay-per-click ads and other advertising.
A strong content marketing strategy will address all three of these distribution channels.
Earned media is almost like word-of-mouth marketing. If you get it from respected media outlets, it can increase your brand exposure, establish credibility and perform wonders for your reputation. But, figuring out how to gain it is often the most difficult goal for businesses to accomplish.
Many marketing agencies will tout their own theories and strategies as to how to gain media attention, but have they ever actually gone through the process and been successful? At 10twelve, we have experienced firsthand the process and challenges of getting media to pick up your content, especially as a business owner running on a shoestring budget.
These are the tips and tactics that we have found to be truly effective and that won’t cost you a fortune.
1. You must have high-quality content.
Before you can begin to think about getting the media to share your content, you need to have something that is worth sharing. High-quality content goes beyond great writing and perfect grammar. You must provide value.
Simple rewriting and syndicating of the same information that has already been shared by hundreds of others isn't valuable. If someone has already done it, you have to do it way better. Otherwise, the chances of it being interesting to media is slim.
You should also ask yourself: Is my content culturally relevant? When the media notices, it’s usually a sign that what you are creating holds value. Usually, it is a value that appeals to a wide audience. Unless it is a trade publication, it should be something that a large number of people will relate to or will see as a topic worthy of discussion.
2. Sponsor or perform engaging research.
Research is a powerful asset to have, especially for brands that want to attract earned media. Third parties are often looking for statistics and resources to cite in their own content. When research is relevant to your target audiences, it can strike a discussion and lead to customers, influencers and even press shares.
3. Tailor your pitches.
Journalists may get hundreds of press releases, emails and inquiries everyday. Why should they look at yours and respond? You have to stand out. Do not send cookie cutter messages. Instead, personalize your messages to a specific journalist or outlet.
Make sure that what you are pitching is something that they would be interested in covering. For example, you wouldn’t approach food or home-focused media outlets like Spoon University or Martha Stewart if you are developing a cybersecurity app. Instead, you might focus on publications like CIO.com or TechCrunch.
The key isn’t to send as many messages to as many outlets as you can. It is to send well-crafted messages to the right media, so that they are more likely to be interested in your content and respond. Think like a journalist. Craft messages that are short and to the point but helpful.
4. Do you know someone on the inside?
Do you have a sheet with journalists that cover your specific topic or industry? A list with ones that you’ve reached out to or have already established a connection? Having a connection on the inside is often the most promising way to get your content noticed.
It is better if you start forming relationships with journalists and others that work in the media before you even have a story to tell. Go where journalists go to learn about the industry and meet others in it. You'll have a better understanding of how it works and maybe make a few connections.
5. Connect with influencers.
If you don't know someone directly, you might know someone who does. Look to your network to help distribute your content and increase its exposure by connecting with influencers. These can be loyal customers, DIY bloggers or college friends.
6. Look to emerging outlets or industry-specific publications.
Perhaps The New York Times, TechCrunch and Huffington Post aren’t going to pick up your content. There’s a lot of noise and competition that you have to fight through when you reach out to mainstream media outlets. It’s like you’re sending your pitches to a black hole, in which you’ll never know if anyone actually receives or sees the messages that you send.
Your chances of getting a response will be higher if you reach out to emerging content sites like Mogul or Mic. Look to local news publications and sources. Identify publications that fit your industry, niche or target audiences. Your content is most likely to be relevant to these audiences, which will make those publications more likely to be interested in what you have to share.
Perhaps after emerging, non-traditional media outlets start running your stories, the more established ones will take notice.
7. Utilize journalist and source connection platforms.
When you are sharing valuable and engaging content, it is a win-win for both you and the journalist or media outlet that picks it up. Journalists need to find great stories and experts. If you don’t have a direct contact to a journalist in your niche, there are some sites that you can utilize to connect with reporters that are looking for sources. Here are some of the best to try:
● Help A Reporter - HARO is a platform for reporters to connect with sources. If you have expertise in a certain niche, there could be a journalist looking to make a connection.
● Contently - Founded in 2010, Contently is a platform where brands can share their content and create a portfolio. Freelance journalists and nontraditional publishers also use the platform to connect.
If you don’t have any media connections, these are good places to start forming them.
Getting the media to take notice of your company isn’t easy, but it’s possible. With engaging content, a strong strategy and these tips, you can increase the chances that your stories will be shared by media. For more tips and insights on crafting and distributing business content, chat with us.