PR Manager at Monarch Air Group, overseeing the company’s reputation and brand awareness in the media.
For many companies across industries, producing enough newsworthy content to build a sustained presence in the media is a difficult task. Some industries simply do not generate the number of massive, newsworthy events required to maintain the attention of the mainstream media on a regular basis.
One perfect example of such a market may be my own company’s industry — the private jet business. At least, the best starting point for actors in this market may be the simple acknowledgment of that truth.
The Challenges Of Marketing To A Niche Audience
I want to address the qualities of an organic media presence. I’m not going to talk about either advertising or branded content, as those strategies can purchase a media presence at any time. I’m referring to the trust-based media relationships that can land a continued presence through online and print publications.
The solution seems to lie in the cultivation of relationships and consistency. At Monarch Air Group, we have identified four crucial strategies to help drive our message organically in the media. These strategies may be deployed as a sequence by themselves, depending upon your message and audience.
1. Pitching Press Releases
The most common and straightforward strategy is the press release, even if they remain the scarcest due to a potential lack of newsworthy events within such niche markets. There is one key that can help any media strategy succeed, however: a consistent relationship with reporters, editors and publishers at your top media outlets.
Consider trying to land your press releases in publications that can link your company to a newsworthy event. This is one straightforward strategy that relies heavily on your connections and relationships in the media as well as the timing of your release. For instance, you don’t want to pitch a release on a Friday, a holiday or a day on which another event in your specific industry is likely to experience a great deal of coverage.
2. Writing Opinion Articles
Another personal favorite at Monarch Air Group is writing opinion articles about the industry. These are usually published only once by editors as they request exclusivity. In contrast to the press release, companies can use opinion articles to talk about the trends and outlook from a specialist’s point of view while vaguely mentioning the company.
Once you pass a certain point of excessively pushing your brand, your article may be disqualified or require further takeaways in order to avoid coming across as a sponsored or promotional piece rather than organic content. That boundary is not always clear, but years of experience and solid relationships can grant you some leeway.
3. Pitching A Story
The two previous strategies can enable companies to both control the message and avoid competing messages within the same piece. But there is one other strategy worth exploring: pitching a trend to the press for them to cover. This is once again reliant upon your connections and relationships, especially in outlets with global coverage, which rarely accept opinion articles out of the blue.
For this to be a successful strategy, you can assist a reporter in making his decision, sharing real trends with stats and facts about the industry. Most likely, although you proactively pitched the story idea, you won’t be the only source in the final piece. Depending on the outlet and audience that will be reading your particular publication, it can definitely be worth it — although, again, you won’t be driving your own narrative.
4. Extending The Lifecycle Of Your Media Content
Your content on the media is considered owned content. In other words, a non-paid placement that has been published because it’s appealing. Believe me, there is too much value-driven content out there for an editor to publish your content out of full kindness. If it’s published, it means it ticked plenty of boxes.
Now, how can you extend the lifecycle of that owned content? By transforming it into your own content. From owned to own. How? Social media serves as the main channel today for extending the lifecycle of owned media content. By publishing across different platforms and mentioning diverse stakeholders in the piece, you can generate engagement and increase your reach. LinkedIn works well for promoting relevant media stories and demonstrating to your followers that others, including the media, are talking about you.
Creating a page with media placements on your website also helps, as it demonstrates your brand’s credibility to potential consumers. A blog post on your domain tailored with hot SEO keywords can also help extend the lifecycle of a topic, although it must be original content and differ enough from the initial piece, as Google penalizes duplicated content. It can, however, include a link to the main article, which can help your SEO plans.
If you want to build a consistent organic media relations strategy, you must first have a good relationship with the media in your industry and the understanding that you want to provide value, not just use their channels for your benefit.
Secondly, consider exploring strategies that can enable you to create and promote original content based on market trends for publication in specialized outlets. This can bolster your brand’s credibility, as many new clients will Google how the media talks about your brand before using your product or services. Accumulating positive media reviews is paramount these days when it comes to brand perception.
Lastly, learn how to use social media and your own channels to extend the lifecycle of your published media content. This can help you engage with followers who may not have been exposed to the original content release. Amplification is key, especially when others (the media) are saying good things about you and positioning your brand or executives as leaders in your industry.
Remember: You don’t need to generate weekly newsworthy content to have media relevance. Relationship building and the production of high-quality content are the keys to sustaining your brand’s presence in the media.