October 03, 2018
/ by Sarah Parker
Now that you’ve looked back to benchmark, it’s time to look out and get more selective about outreach. This will help you optimize your PR strategy and make it as effortless as possible for high value content creators to cover your brand.
Getting organized is often about looking over your approach with fresh eyes. Ensure you're reaching the highest value content creators, meaning the best influencers for your brand. When you focus your time and effort on high value contacts, you increase PR efficiency and performance— and therefore your overall PR strategy.
Kinds of Content Creators. To grow your content creator community, think through the entirety of content channels and content creators that may be highly valuable to your brand. Journalists, contributors, bloggers, social influencers, and thought leaders are all worth evaluating.
Look for journalists who write for publications highly relevant to your audience, and on topics and micro-topics your brand cares about. Don’t overlook contributors or independent bloggers who tend to write as analysts or commentators rather than reporters of objective information.
Then think further; everyone’s buzzing about “social influencers” who evangelize products on YouTube, Instagram, or SnapChat. Less buzzworthy, but still valuable, are influential thinkers who may not be writers by trade, including cultural figures or business leaders. These people have audiences who look to them for curated recommendations and advice.
Is there a social influencer or thought leader with a following that overlaps with your target audience? Work to build a relationship with them that benefits both your brand and theirs, starting by following them and sharing their work that your audience would find interesting and/or useful.
Curating Content Creators. Once you’ve thought about the kinds of content creators you want to signal, divide them into groups to differentiate friends, foes, familiars, and potentials for your business.
“Friends” are content creators who love your brand. Take care of them by engaging with their work and keeping them well-informed of developments in your business, competitive landscape, or shared areas of interest. These brand advocates can offer perspective in times of trouble, which is an incredibly valuable asset to your PR strategy.
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. “Foes” are influencers with a negative opinion of your business. Identifying them is a key crisis management strategy. Examine negative views to shore up arguments against common critiques — and even find opportunities to convert foes into friends.
What about influencers who sort of know your brand? These “familiars” may have mentioned you in passing, or may have spoken with you to gain understanding for a story. With some baseline knowledge established, these warm leads are worth your outreach effort. Study their topics and micro-topics, and keep them aware of relevant stories.
Finally, “potentials” are the best possible influencers who don’t know you, yet. Think journalists at big-name publications to super-relevant industry writers you wish would respond to your pitch. Gathering intel on what they write about, have recently written, and how it performed is well worth the effort — as is sending them compelling pitches that make writing about you seem effortless.
Just be sure you personalize your pitches, noting what about their work you've enjoyed.
Prioritize Content Creators. Finally, you need to focus your efforts on the content creators most likely to deliver impact for your business. Don’t base outreach strategies on name recognition or publication size alone. Look at the real impact of influencer content, then focus on the highest value content creators.
Look at the reach of a publication or size of social following. When an influencer mentions your brand, how many people in your target audience are likely to see it? Next, assess whether this influencer’s audience engages with or acts on influencer’s content.
Do they share it? If they do, you’re extending reach to new potential customers. Do they click through to your website to learn more? Check which content drives new unique visitors, returning visitors, mobile visitors, or referrals from social. Finally, check whether those visitors complete high value actions that benefit the business.
Lastly, consider whether the influencer’s content appears with high domain authority. If so, backlinks, mentions, and sharing will signal to search engines that your site is highly relevant. Look for improved SEO rankings as a result of influencer content.
Engaging Your Best Influencers. Congratulations! You’ve found influencers with the highest potential for your brand. Now, you must work to engage these content creators. On a high level, there are three things to do: Provide value, reciprocate value, and track value.
First, know that influencers grow their reach and keep their audience interested by sharing relevant, useful content and insights. So that’s exactly what you need to give them. Yes, you can weave in your business identity and brand messages as part of your larger PR strategy, but offer compelling content.
Next, reciprocate value. You want influencers to create content that helps you with your goals. Remember that influencers have goals, too. Be sure to promote the influencer’s content and channels. Participate in appropriate ways by thoughtfully commenting on their posts or articles.
Finally, track content value. If you’ve identified many important influencers, keeping track of all of them can be a chore. Beyond basic media monitoring, you need to differentiate important mentions from noise, and understand article impact. This intelligence will help you optimize time and resources to connect with the highest value content creators.
Want an easier way to do all of this? Check out TrendKite StoryKit. And if you want a deeper dive into influencer marketing, check out our Influencer Marketing in the Age of Digital PR playbook.
It’s all about relationships. The more you know about an influencer you wish to engage, the better you can engage them. It takes time and effort. Prioritize your efforts by tracking stories that are highly shared and drive traffic to your business. You can even provide your content creators with information on their effectiveness they may not know themselves.
Looking out and becoming more selective can help PR pros grow a more valuable content creator community and optimize team efforts for the business as part of a comprehensive PR strategy that feeds back into bigger brand goals.
In our next posts, we’ll discuss looking in to get your PR strategy organized and focused. As always, our goal is to get benchmarks behind you, refine outreach strategies, and define performance metrics so you can prove PR’s business impact.
That’s the best way we know to get the budget, team growth, and modern PR tools you’ve earned and keep improving your PR strategy!
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