The media industry has experienced a turbulent year so far. Prominent digital media outlets like BuzzFeed News, Vice, and Gawker have closed operations. And as of June 1, broadcast, digital, and print outlets had almost 2,000 job layoffs, surpassing the roughly 1,800 reported all of last year.
The situation has created an environment where PR pros outnumber reporters 6 to 1. This imbalance has put immense pressure on reporters. On top of dealing with declining resources, they also struggle to maintain credibility amid fake news and blurred editorial-advertising lines.
It’s more important than ever to have a strong earned media strategy. Earned media is one of the most effective ways for startups to build brand awareness and credibility and reach their target audience. Contrary to a common misconception, successful PR for startups isn’t solely about who you know in the media. No reporter will cover a story as a favor for a friend if it lacks merit. Earned media is about securing coverage for your company, without the need for payment, because the story is newsworthy and interesting to readers.
To succeed with earned media in this dynamic media landscape, your tech PR agency needs to rethink how it works with reporters to tell your stories and expand its strategies to avoid relying on an outdated media relations playbook. Let’s dive in to how to elevate your media relations game.
Seek New Digital Channels
PR for startups isn’t just about traditional newspapers, trade publications, and TV anymore. Your PR agency should explore new earned media channels like podcasts and newsletters.
Podcasts are booming, with over 4 million available today. While many cater to niche topics, they can hold substantial influence if you identify the right fit for your target demographic. Podcast appearances boost your brand’s credibility. You can showcase your expertise by educating listeners about industry trends, your company, and your product. You can also repurpose the interviews across various platforms to extend your reach and engage others.
Newsletters are another increasingly popular channel. More reporters are departing newsrooms to launch independent newsletters. Platforms like Substack have gained tremendous traction, with over 20 million monthly active subscribers and 2 million paid subscribers.
Subscribing to a reporter’s newsletter provides direct access to insights and preferences to help tailor pitches. Some reporters also share pitch opportunities in their newsletters so you can get an inside scoop before they broadcast them on platforms like HARO or Qwoted. Following newsletters that offer industry insights can also help PR pros develop more pitches tied to trends. Like podcasters, these independent newsletters are influential. Tapping into them lets you get in front of targeted audiences.
Capitalize on Content Demand with Contributed Articles
As newsrooms continue to shrink, media outlets are constantly searching for quality content. That’s where you come in. This presents an excellent opportunity to secure coverage with contributed articles.
Companies can pitch contributed articles to media outlets, offering a vendor-neutral viewpoint on topics appealing to the publication’s readership. It’s important for your PR team to assist your subject matter experts (SMEs) in generating ideas grounded in industry expertise and informed by keyword research. It should also possess the writing chops to ghostwrite if the SME’s availability is limited.
Contributed articles serve as valuable PR for startups, especially during lulls between significant announcements. They allow you to deliver insights on industry trends, positioning your company as a thought leader and raising your visibility. This will open the doors to more writing opportunities, speaking engagements, and mentions in reporters’ articles.
Embrace Generative AI
When used strategically, generative AI tools can improve efficiency so your PR team can focus brain power and hours on more complex problems. These tools can help with everyday tasks, such as creating press release outlines, writing pitches with compelling subject lines, or building media lists. They are also great for brainstorming ideas, whether for contributed articles or various pitch angles.
For example, say your PR team is pitching your CEO for a profile. They have some insights into the reporter’s interests but want to dig deeper. By feeding several recent articles by the reporter into the AI tool, they can better understand what the reporter seeks in these profiles. The more they iterate with detailed prompts, the better the results. Armed with these learnings, they can tailor their pitch to align with the reporter’s preferences.
However, it’s important to realize generative AI tools are just a starting point. They still require a human co-pilot to refine AI-generated content with your expertise and personalization to ensure it’s compelling, original, and accurate. Reporters can easily spot AI-only pitches, potentially harming your company’s reputation.
Find an Adaptable Tech PR Agency
Adaptability is vital for your PR team in todays fast-paced media industry. It’s essential to prepare for media campaigns by having multiple backup plans to ensure success. The plans should not include bombarding reporters with irrelevant pitches. It’s about pitching with empathy by getting to know reporters and who they write for.
Rejection is a reality in media relations, and taking it in stride is important. Your PR team can strategically research reporters and write a great pitch, but sometimes there will be silence. And that’s OK. As long as the team is ready to pivot. A strong PR team stays updated with industry news and brainstorms together to develop new strategies and different pitch angles. Flexibility is a superpower.
By staying agile, harnessing the power of generative AI, exploring new digital channels, and capitalizing on content demand, B2B technology companies can thrive in the ever-changing media world.
We specialize in PR for startups and understand the unique earned media challenges and opportunities companies face in today’s media landscape. If you want to supercharge your earned media game, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.