There’s a common perception out there that getting your content noticed by the media is based purely on luck. Basically, you’re just supposed to throw whatever you can against the wall with the hopes eventually something will stick and get noticed.
While this is definitely one strategy to adopt, it’s probably not the best. There is certainly, without a doubt, some aspect of luck in getting your content picked up by the media; however, there are strategies and steps, which can be taken to increase the visibility of your content and ensure it is being noticed.
Digital and Traditional Media
Before we go into too much detail surrounding strategy, we need to clarify what type of media we are referencing here. It is important to define what kind of media you are seeking attention from. It could be digital media outlets such as: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogs, Reddit, Forums, etc. Or it could even be traditional media outlets like: television, radio, print, etc.
When you are determining which medium to target, it is important to ensure you are targeting the platform which makes the most sense for you and your brand. If you don’t use Facebook, or have much engagement there, it probably doesn’t make much sense to focus your attention on this platform.
Digital Media Strategy
Once you have determined the media target for your content, it’s time to start strategizing on how you are going catch their attention. Your best chance to get noticed by the “all-powerful” media source is to reach out to them directly. Every media source has somebody dedicated to the maintenance and overview of all incoming messaging – whether it be through social media, email correspondence, telephone, etc.
When you reach out, it’s important to keep in mind you may not hear back from the media source. But take it from someone who has been on the receiving end of all media inquiries, they do not go unnoticed. For the media source to pick up your content as a story, it often needs to have promise of popularity.
If you are reaching out to a media source through social media, there’s a good chance they won’t engage immediately. However, somebody else may engage with your piece of content, then somebody else, and another. Eventually, when enough people are engaging with your piece of content, the probability of the media source engaging is much higher.
Take, for example, your local news. Many local news outlets have started to accept user-generated content as a reputable source for news as it happens. With budget allocations being reduced, they no longer have resources to send out a cameraman and reporter; therefore, they have started involving their audience in contributing to their content.
Allow Your Brand to Become a Storyteller
When you are reaching out to various media platforms and your audience, it’s important to make sure you are giving them a reason to engage with you. Simply displaying your content is not reason enough. If media attention is what your goal is, you will need to ensure you are shaping your content as a story.
Compelling, human-focused stories are much more interesting and provide a much higher likelihood of being noticed by media. If you are looking to increase general audience engagement (which increases the probability of being picked up by the media), you may want to consider asking questions, taking a poll or even creating a contest around your content.
TIP: If you are considering a contest for your content, make sure to read the terms and services of the platform you are using. For example, Facebook has strict contesting rules.
Track and Measure Your Digital Media Strategy
As with anything in business, it is really important to take a look at all of your efforts to reach the media and assess the successes and challenges of your work. This will allow you to make data-driven, informed decisions and adjust your strategy for the next campaign. Consider using web presence analytic software to track your content marketing performance.
Be sure to track any pieces of content you have created on your website, but also any of your off-site pages. These could include press releases, influencer’s articles, social posts, off-site blogs, etc. You should also track any off-site pages you did not create, such as news coverage. Doing so will give you fuller insights into the social signals and traffic this content is generating for your web presence.
As with all content marketing, you’re going to want to make sure the content you are looking to get picked up is top notch. Whichever platform you decide to use, make sure you are creating unique content for each platform and native to the particular platform. Meaning, the content you share should not be exactly the same across every platform.
When you are thinking about what kind of content to post to different social media platforms, think about how you would use the particular platform to post to your own personal account. You should adopt the same rules to your professional content as well. Here are some general guidelines and tips on what to be thinking of when posting to the top social media platforms, in order to get noticed by more people and media.
Facebook – The content you share on Facebook should include a picture. According to research, posts including pictures receive 39% more engagement than posts without.
Twitter – Your content on Twitter should be short and concise. It should include at least one hashtag, but no more than two. In fact, tweets with less than 100 characters receive a 17% higher chance of engagement. Shorter tweets enable those who retweet to add their own commentary, which many Twitter users appreciate.
Instagram – Instagram posts should include a nicely stylized picture and the description should include lots of hashtags. Hashtags on Instagram are the only way to get noticed by people beyond your followers.
LinkedIn – When you are posting to LinkedIn, it’s important to think about the time you are posting. The best time to post on LinkedIn is generally during business hours. Avoid posting in the evenings, or on weekends. It’s important to keep your content very professional and you should generally avoid using acronyms such as: LOL or LMAO since you are primarily speaking to a business-oriented audience.
Content Beyond the Big Social Media Sites
When you are determining what media platform to target, you may want to think outside the box for which platform to use. Blogs, industry-specific social media platforms (Houzz, Dribble, etc.), industry specific forums, and even Reddit (the self-proclaimed “Front page of the Internet”), are all great outside-the-box options for disseminating content. Reddit is a really powerful tool for increasing influence. It can, however, be very confusing to use, particularly if you are new to it. Budget time to research and understand the rules of any non-traditional channels you may want to try.
Whichever platform you decide to use in order to garner attention from the media, the ultimate factor to take into consideration is using the platform which makes the most sense for you and your brand. Do your research – go wherever your audience and media already are. According to Newton’s law of motion, for every action there is a corresponding reaction. Your deliberate actions designed to drive your content to media will, in turn, produce a reaction. There is undoubtedly an aspect of luck to getting noticed, similar to being in the right place at the right time, but there also needs to be a strategy. The next time you try to get your content noticed by the media, just think of Newton – Actions=Reaction.
gShift Digital Media Series
In the next two segments of this series, we will be looking at how your digital content strategy can be impacted by advertising and public relations. Keep a watch out for those posts over the next week or two.
In the meantime, if you would like to get an overview of the entire series you can watch the recording of our gShift Digital Strategy webinar: Get Lucky with Digital Media.