It’s without a doubt that we have seen some major shifts in media consumption in the last two years. And whilst some of these changes were accelerated through Covid-19 and its subsequent impact on consumer behaviour, media owners have constantly adapted.
One thing that remains a constant is the impact that media coverage can have for a business. The power that media exposure holds has not waned. In fact, a quality mention on a high authority website (and many media outlets offer the highest authority going) does wonders for business web traffic and, in turn, sales thanks to the intrinsic link between online media exposure and the algorithms of search engines.
With media owners continuing to innovate and change their own business models, the way that we all consume media has shifted into a completely new experience. So, how do you navigate and capitalise on this sea of change? Here, we share our top tips across the Siren team who have worked consistently with media throughout the last eventful 20 months.
Media remain some of the most influential of influencers
Naomi says, “Depending on the media, their opinions matter to the public. Consumers listen to media; they are guided by them, and they still hold significant influence, especially the news pages and weekend sections.”
Stacey adds, “Media remains an important consumer touchpoint in the widening omnichannel comms approach and the power of editorial buy-in continues to reinforce the customer journey. Plus, some media sectors have flourished over the past couple of years, not just digital. For example, consumers’ reliance on regional media skyrocketed as we were all forced to live our lives more locally.”
As a result, coverage in these highly respected outlets, both online and offline, remains like gold dust for brands and businesses in terms of influencing consumer actions.
How media impacts brand SEO and web traffic
Stacey says, “Media needn’t just mean broadcast and print. There are new digital platforms taking off near-daily, offering great new routes to reach target consumers and opportunities to flex different comms muscles and to create a wide variety of engaging content.”
It remains that media websites are some of the highest authority sites out there. Securing a brand mention or weblink on a national news or consumer media site is incredibly valuable when it comes to SEO and natural search. Thanks to those inclusions, the Google ranking of your website is increased, meaning when it comes to Google search results your site will feature more highly and therefore drive-up web traffic.
Utilising media as a source of much needed good news
Katie says, “I think it is fair to say that most of us – even the stalwart news journalists – are exhausted by the relentlessly negative news cycle. We are seeing a trend towards constructive formats of news coverage – audiences want good news, and it presents a great opportunity for PR professionals to highlight new campaigns, success stories and good old fashioned ‘nice’ news stories”.
Dimitra adds, “It is the growing number of positive news-based media titles that are making those stands shine brighter than ever. Magazine launches such as Positive News, the first media organisation in the world that is dedicated to reporting about what's going right, and the ongoing publishing of The Simple Things, a media brand dedicated to inspiring readers to take the time to live well both physically and mentally showcases consumers are wanting to celebrate good news happening across the globe”.
Brands should take a moment amongst all the fast-paced developments taking place in the world to reflect on what positive impact they are having on consumers, employees, and other brands. Have a brainstorm on what else you can do to instil authentic goodness and positive impact on your sector and joyfully share this news with those eager to absorb it all.
Ultimately, the right kind of media still sells. It still creates action by readers, influencing the consumer and generating business growth.
So, in this new world of media, how do we engage and land the right coverage for clients? Here are our top tips:
- Now more than ever it’s important to keep up to date with the media and how it’s changing and evolving. Journalists are more time pressured than they’ve ever been, so knowing their publication inside out and tailoring your pitch to fit specific sections is a winner.
- Continue to cultivate relationships with media and, importantly, create new relationships. Some sectors are thriving, and have all-around relevance, such as the media focus on sustainability.
- For the bigger stories you need to be specific – email personally. Have a well thought out pitch and know that the journalist’s feature fits with this.
- Quality, not quantity – take the time to reach out to your client's target media and build a relationship with them. It is no longer beneficial to just spray (and pray) a release.
- Send bespoke emails to these target media – if they are not interested, ask them what they are writing about instead and see if the topic is suitable for another client or if you could adjust your pitch. Remember, an exclusive comment always goes down well!
- Follow up is key – if you get radio silence after the first attempt, follow up. Be careful not to badger them though. If after two follow-up attempts you don’t hear back, they are not interested.
- The days of picking up the phone to the news desk are sadly not as straightforward. Speaking to media on the channel they most prefer is key – WhatsApp, Twitter DMs, Instagram or a good old-fashioned chat on the mobile – we need to adapt and meet them there.
- It also helps if you can relate back to other article/s the journalist has written to show you regularly read their features and understand the type of pieces that they write.
- Show support across media by sharing your client inclusions across socials, tagging the journalist and title. A little appreciation goes a long way.
- As soon as a journalist makes a request, make it a priority and give exactly what they want straight away. That way they know you are reliable and will keep on coming back.
- Use collective media networks to gain access – investment here is HUGE. With face-to-face meetings off and running, there will be a huge positive engagement here. We must mobilise like crazy now that reduced restrictions allow us to!
If you’re keen to engage the media but don’t have the contacts or aren’t sure who to reach out to, drop our connected team a line.