More than One Way to Milk the PR Machine

Nov 2, 2016

After 14 months, dozens of emails, numerous brainstorming sessions not to mention several bottles of Tums my PR team was excited to have our client profiled by Forbes. And then, just like the careful-what-you-wish-for dot-com Super Bowl ad, very quickly the number of article views grew  at last count, it was up to 6,800 online views, per the ticker on the Forbes site for that article. Seemed like a perfect opportunity to milk the PR machine.

In a call with our client after the Forbes article hit, we explored what the client could do to leverage this hard-earned placement. Nonplussed, the CMO turned to her social media director, who replied that the Forbes article did not align immediately with the calendar of themes they were planning in their integrated digital marketing plan.

It is amazing, and extremely frustrating for all parties involved, how often this takes place  a great placement finally hits the web or print edition, and then it gets lost in the ether-nether digital filing cabinet, never to be seen again.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, we encourage our clients to develop integrated digital campaigns that leverage all of the various content assets being developed. But some things cannot be anticipated, and one of those things is when the national media will decide to run a story on your company. Don’t let it go to waste just because the calendar doesn’t have a placeholder for it.

To avoid such painful conversations from taking place in the future, here are a few tips for optimizing your media coverage for sales, marketing and lead generation regardless of what campaign you are currently working on.

Leveraging earned article placements

When a quality bylined article placement, award or other newsworthy item hits  expected or not expected  there are several channels you can leverage to compound the interest among your target audiences.

One of the most effective ways is to immediately review the coverage and then list it on your company’s and executives’ Linked In profiles under publications. Over time, the list of articles will grow  this is important because these proof points can be used for award nominations, speaking abstracts, and effectively demonstrating your company’s and executives’ track record, all made quickly available by clicking on a simple hyperlink on a LinkedIn profile.

Your sales team should also get in on the act and proactively promote the article placements, blog posts, awards, speaker nominations and other PR activities. This is to their advantage, as it helps soften the sales cycle by positioning your company and executives as industry thought leaders both for prospects and existing customers.

One way to quickly accomplish this is to draft an email “wrapper” for the sales team that they can then distribute to their contacts through sales force automation tools, such as (Your PR firm can help with this.)

And last but certainly not least, be sure to display your PR hits on your web site, adjacent to the online pressroom. We advise clients to keep media coverage separate from company press releases by calling it “XYZ Company in the News” or “Media Coverage of XYZ”. If you get lots of hits and this becomes too much of a burden (a nice problem to have!), there are electronic services available that will automate the newsfeed selection and posting process for you.

Leveraging speaking engagements

So you’ve been accepted to speak at an industry conference. What’s next? Don’t wait until the conference is over to harness the power of social media. Have the speaker and your company Tweet about what an honor and thrill it is, ask if anyone else is going and invite them to attend your session.

Here are a few more practical ideas on promoting your conference workshop or concurrent session:

  • Arrange for a meet-the-speaker hour at your booth following your presentation.
  • Send e-blasts to your customers and prospects with details about your session. Even if they don’t attend the conference, it’s good for your image to make them aware that you were selected.
  • Take the extra step to print flyers to hand to people when they stop by your booth.

These are just a few ideas for milking the PR machine. Have you seen other ideas that have worked well?

Marcia Rhodes

Marcia Rhodes is an award-winning public relations and marketing communications expert with more than three decades of experience in PR, media relations, video, crisis and executive communications. She previously held PR/Marketing positions at Accenture, WorldatWork and Six Sigma Academy.