This resource shows Public Relations (PR) professionals how they can augment their Media Relations with Presscast. Readers will learn how to use Presscast to secure valuable press coverage across specialized media.
In general, PR professionals are advised to shift focus away from traditional journalism and instead look to insert their client’s message into more specialized, Tier II publications. Additionally, we examine how the ability to track performance and provides measurable results is crucial for client retention.
The Media Relations
Not so long ago, TV and print media each had a national reach in the high 90th percentile, and being covered by the Times was a surefire way for a brand to become a household name. Those days are gone. As mainstream media players continue to lose market shares each year, hundreds of thousands of small, specialized publications have cropped up around hundreds of industry verticals. Where a few hundred authoritative newspapers used to dominate, hundreds of thousands of digital pure players have stepped in to fill the vacuum. The result is that today’s media landscape now bears an uncanny resemblance to Fast-Moving Consumer Goods — it is a landscape dominated by short-lived fads, and where staying up to date is 90% of the battle.
And yet, there’s something of a collective delusion in our industry. PR firms have mostly failed to go digital, preferring Tier I media-coverage instead of the programmatically-targeted, performance-driven PR their clients actually want.
As PR firms continue to argue the intangible benefits of Tier I media-coverage (publicity, image, mind-share,brand-association, etc.) they forget that most businesses only care about such things insofar as they drive sales. For the average SMB, this amounts to something closer to content marketing than news coverage. In other words, consumers don’t want to be told about a company; they want to learn about a topic. From a PR perspective, this means success is measured not by the number of feature pieces, but by the number of times the client is mentioned in relevant content (ideally with a link).
(Tier) 2 is better than 1
Robert Browns of PR Old Street Communications proclaimed that Media Relations are dying because “the pool of available journalists and quality publications PRs can target is shrinking,” but this is only half correct.
While it’s true that the ratio of PR consultants to Tier 1 journalists is shrinking, the number of quality publications is not. Again, the growth is located in Tier II publications: small, usually online-only publications that target niche verticals. These publications not only offer a wide pool of high-quality content, but also provide a means to segment and target the audience.
Rather than prioritizing publications by their absolute reach, digital PR makes it possible to compose dozens of niche publications in order to reach the exact combination of geography and demographics desired.
Of course, this means one has to rethink the traditional strategy of individually contacting journalists. Now, with the sheer scale of Tier II publishing, a more automated approach is necessary.
Email outreach is the simplest approach, but it remains a fundamentally ad hoc process, meaning that the bulk of one’s time will be spent negotiating with editors. Furthermore, publishers are increasingly wary of guest-posting, which undermines a publication’s voice when performed in excess. Editors regularly increase their prices for guest posting in an attempt to reduce demand.
This is where Presscast offers a viable alternative. By providing a structured negotiation for embedding native messages in publications, Presscast allows publishers to maintain voice, quality and other editorial standards without limiting third-party contributors. As a result, prices remain reasonable and PR agents can run scalable media relations campaigns across a broad spectrum of Tier IIs. With Presscast’s media analytics, PR professionals can mix and match publishers to reach their desired audience, as well as track impressions and click-through rates.
For PR professionals, end-of-month reporting can be filled with dread. Officially, clients are billed hourly with no obligation of material results, but reality is far less generous. In practice, some form of result is required if the contract is to be renewed, yet hard numbers (especially actionable ones) are incredibly difficult to produce.
While tools like Muck Rack allow PR professionals to perform journalist outreach, they do nothing to actually secure coverage, let alone allow the client to relate money spent to money earned.
Since the advent of Google Ads (formerly AdWords), the whole of marketing and communications moved towards optimizable processes, i.e.: business practices that allow the redirection of cash-flow from under-performing operations to lucrative ones. The future of PR (especially Media Relations) is in agile, iterative processes, and this implies real-time reporting.
But fear not — we’ve got this covered, too.