Along with our friends at PRWeek, we’re hosting a series of events called Earned Media Rising Exchange in cities around the globe. This invitation-only series features leading media and communication executives discussing 2020 content trends and how to best integrate media throughout their PR and marketing campaigns.
Last week, we kicked off the series with a session in San Francisco, where we discussed topics such as:
- Key trends and issues in the media landscape
- Crafting stories that stand out in a modern media environment
- Making the most of your media partners
- The evolving but important role of traditional media
Each event features a keynote speaker, as well as a panel of communications leaders from different organizations. In San Francisco, the keynote speaker was Editor-in-Chief of the San Francisco Chronicle, Audrey Cooper, and the panel included Steve Mnich, Head of Westcoast and Startup Communications at IBM and Jenn Deering Davis, VP of Global Communications and Content at Cision.
The PR industry has often struggled with being able to connect earned media to financial and business results. We’ve also worked to create a more effective relationship between PR professionals and journalists. We talked about these issues and so many more in San Francisco. Here are a few takeaways from the event.
1. Journalists are independent in all things but neutral in none. Audrey Cooper discussed that it’s her job as a journalist to incite civil discourse, to bring awareness to issues of local and global importance, and to engender trust with her audience. These are increasingly complex goals.
2. There is no one right way for a PR pro to reach out to a journalist. Pitches don’t have to be formal to be effective. Sometimes a quick note with an idea and the question “What would you think about this story?” is a good way to start. But keep your email pitches short and to the point and always include context – why should someone care about this? How does it fit into their world? Finally, exclusives are one of the most effective ways to reach a journalist.
3. It is possible to connect earned media to revenue. The PR industry continues to get better and better at showing actual business impact. This is through a combination of increased access to and expertise in analyzing data, better technology tools, and overall awareness of the KPIs that matter.
4. Find the stories people don’t know they want. Stories that include real world examples and a focus on people perform well. The goal is to figure out how to get attention in new and novel ways. Uncover the stories or angles audiences are hungry for – even if they don’t know they’re hungry yet.
5. The relationship between media and public relations is symbiotic. Mutual respect is important. Remember that everyone is busy and you all share the same goal – telling a compelling story.
We’re in London next, and then New York. Look for an Earned Media Exchange Event near you soon!