More than newsworthiness

This game used to be relatively simple.

You found something newsworthy, suggested it to the right journalists, and they covered it. Now it’s a lot more complicated.

Being newsworthy is often no longer enough. Journalists (and especially bloggers) want you to bring something else to the table: an AUDIENCE.

For now, this isn’t something most of them talk about openly. But it’s become part of their editorial calculations by necessity. If they cover you, how many page views can you deliver to them?

Podcasters are pretty blatant about this. They interview people who already have big followings, either via social media or email lists. Because they know the thought leader will then push the link to the podcast out to their lists and say, “Hey, I was on this podcast the other day, check it out.” And then the podcaster will get more downloads and be able to present that higher number to advertisers.

You remember this from when blogs were still on the upswing – bloggers would guest-post for each other, then go back to their own blogs and direct their followers over to the other, bumping up page views.

Now back to you. What audience can you deliver to the influencers you pitch? Maybe you do have a platform to promote their resulting stories about you – a significant social following, email list, or web site where you can share the link and drive traffic.

Last week I was working with a media relations pro from a non-profit at my Pitching Boot Camp. She asked for my input on an email she was sending to a new writer at a top-tier national paper. I suggested that she include the size of her organization’s social media following (they’re fortunate to have 7 million Facebook fans) and hint that she’d use them to drive traffic to resulting stories.

About 45 minutes later, the writer responded to explore the opportunity.

But even if you don’t have a platform like that, if you think hard enough, you can still make this principle work for you. You figure out which audiences your target influencer is going after – maybe something like “young moms.” Then find some ideas or content that have performed well with that audience, and use that to validate your pitch. So it would look something like this:

Dear Important Healthcare Influencer,

I’ve noticed that you’ve been sharing items of interest to young moms recently. Our hospital has some quick guides that help moms determine whether to take their toddlers to the ER, the doctor, or stay home. Since we posted these, traffic to our site is up 15 percent. I imagine that with your broader reach, you’d see even more moms clicking through to check these out. Would you like to share them?

This is the new type of thinking I explore in my 4 Pillars of a Media Relations Master report. It’s been gratifying to see the positive reaction since I put it out a couple weeks ago. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out. It’s NOT a “quick guide” – mastery isn’t something you achieve quickly.

This article was originally published on March 17, 2016

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