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Why PR pros need a content strategy

Every year around this time, Vanity Fair comes out with its Oscars issue to coincide with the glitzy and glamorous awards ceremony that celebrates the best o f the best in the entertainment industry. Like the Oscars themselves, preparing the Vanity Fair issue takes months of preparation from putting James Franco on the cover to coordinating online coverage with what appears in the print version.

Vanity Fair’s long-range planning for its Oscars issue isn’t unique and in fact, they’ve done it for years. So why is this worth blogging about and why do you care? Because Vanity Fair has a content strategy and it’s not the only one who needs one. As a PR professional, you do too.

Forming a content strategy as a PR pro means you’re building ideas and developing relationships months, sometimes even years, before they actually pay off in the form of coverage for your client. Planning your pitch could take a lot of preparation before it’s actually executed but it’s essential to success.

The one phrase journalists constantly use as advice to PR pros is, “Do your homework.” And, as someone who consistently  avoided doing homework for many of my formative grade school years, I can assure you that the times I barely opened my books and turned in a half page of scribbled writing was the worst version of “doing my homework” – and I wasn’t fooling anyone.

It’s no different with journalists or influencers. They love getting a pitch from someone who’s clearly done research beforehand. Knowing their recent bylines, being familiar with their Twitter feed and providing them all the information they need is the best way to impress a journalist by doing your homework. A good pitch is as easy to spot as a bad one so taking the extra time to get to know your subject beforehand is the best thing you can do.

Doing the “research” kind of homework – not the rushed, scribbled down, frantic kind I used to do in fourth grade – is the best kind. And in order to make researching media contacts easier for PR professionals, Cision is releasing new, comprehensive media research data for CisionPoint. Specifically, users planning campaigns in four key vertical categories – Arts & Entertainment, Automotive, Fashion & Beauty, and Government – will have access to newly robust data within CisionPoint.

Content includes detailed overviews of the journalist or influencer; coverage history; biographical information; deadlines; Twitter handles; audio interviews; contact preferences along with pet peeves; and detailed pitching tips.  Outlet information provides demographics, circulation, viewership and other audience metrics; social media metrics for online sites; editorial opportunities and calendars; and article submission guidelines and deadlines.

We’ve included the Twitter handles of journalists working for newspapers who also have a presence on Twitter. They might not have a huge number of followers, but they’re the people regularly covering arts and entertainment. Building a relationship with them might start on Twitter. Here’s your headstart: 

CisionNavigator has also compiled a list of the top 10 television shows covering gossip and entertainment news. The programs have been ranked based on their Nielsen audience measurement.

So PR pros out there, what is your content strategy? What has worked for you?

If you want to get a sampling of the sorts of information included in Cision’s expanded arts and entertainment premium profiles, you can download a copy of Cision’s Arts & Entertainment Briefing Book here.

About Cision Staff

Cision's research staff makes over 20,000 media updates to Cision's Media Database each day! For more updates and other thought leadership in the industry, follow @Media_Moves.

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