Yesterday, I came across Gideon Lichfield’s post Dear PR person who just sent me a robo-pitch. The senior editor at Quartz gets bombarded with pitches so frequently that he set up a series of email filters automatically deleting the worst offenders. Lichfield realizes he might miss the occasional gem with this slash-and-burn approach, but he doesn’t have time to sort through the spam of press releases to discover it.
So what should you do instead? Lichfield highlighted his idea of a winning outreach strategy:
- Really getting to know the journalists
- What they’ve written before
- What they’re experts in
- Where they’ve lived
- Things they believe in
- Things they love
- Things that make them mad
- Understanding the nuances of their news outlet
- Who it writes for
- How it frames its stories (people or issues, gossipy or wonky?)
- How its readers find those stories
He admits “this high-touch strategy is extremely time-consuming.” But the mass-emailing approach that most traditional firms pursue? “I call it failure.”
Why do publishers pick some pitches over others? Basic psychology may play a bigger role than you think.
A bright red dress is more likely to catch your attention over a more neutral option. You’re more likely to take a sip from a drink if a person you’re sitting with drinks first (go ahead, watch this in action at lunch tomorrow). There are a myriad of conscious and subconscious stimuli that affect the decisions we make every day, and that applies to publishers and their pitch choices, too.
BuzzStream and Fractl uncovered several psychological theories that can give you an edge in influencer marketing. These four takeaways can get you inside publishers’ heads – and get your content into their publications.
When it comes to options, less is more.
Publishers are eager for opportunities to collaborate. In a publisher study, 70% of editors and writers said they’d rather be pitched opportunities to work with marketers on stories rather than receive finished assets. Providing choices in your pitch gives influencers more flexibility to craft the story they want to publish and can give your promotion efforts a significant psychological advantage. But don’t overdo it with options; research suggests that too many choices can be overwhelming and cause people to decide to pass on the opportunity altogether.
Ever wish you could be a fly on the wall and overhear dozens – maybe even thousands – of conversations at once? We decided to eavesdrop on the discussions surrounding some of the most popular terms in the digital PR industry to find out what top influencers have to say about hot topics. This glimpse of influencer marketing on Twitter gives us an idea of the current state of the industry and where it may be headed.
BuzzStream and Fractl joined forces and utilized Peer Index, Twitonomy, and the Alchemy API to analyze nearly 5,000 tweets and learn more about these hashtags and keywords:
- Media Relations
- Influencer Marketing
- Digital PR
- Outbound Marketing
- Brand Recognition
- Earned Media
- Public Relations
- Press Release
From this study we found the tweet types, sentiments, and key influencers in the marketing discussion on Twitter. You can download our raw data to dive deep into the findings or read on for our key takeaways.
Takeaways: Influencer Marketing on Twitter
If you know that all caps is like online shouting, excessive exclamation points are unprofessional, and emojis are content marketing mistakes, then you have passed Content Promotion 101. With your grammar basics mastered, the next step in good publisher relations is understanding the more nuanced pet peeves that hurt both your placement rates and your reputation.
If you’re not sure what causes publishers to delete (or worse, autodelete) pitches, then the Media Relations Guide to Etiquette is the eBook for you. BuzzStream and Fractl reviewed media guides and surveyed top-tier publications to learn the worst practices plaguing our industry. Their responses revealed 25 tactics that turn publishers off no matter how good your content is.
Check out eight of the most lamented content promotion fouls here, then download the free eBook to learn what else to nix from your pitches.
#10: Self-promotional pitch
“Many [PR professionals] have a misunderstanding when it comes to the difference between advertorial and guest posts.” The Gigaom guest post policy speaks for the majority of publishers in reminding us that publishers want to be pitched high-quality news and content, not advertisements for your brand.
#9: Generic angle to a common study
Publishers aren’t in the business of regurgitating information everyone already knows, and you shouldn’t be either. Instead, 66% of publishers want you to bring something new to the table with exclusive research or breaking news. This doesn’t mean you have to embark on a PhD-level investigation. Instead, follow trends relevant to your industry and capitalize on your insider knowledge.
#8: Copy of a press release
While a press release can contain valuable information, 95% of publishers told us that this isn’t a content format they’re interested in. Instead:
- 85% of publishers want the raw data from your study or campaign.
- 65% want data visualizations such as infographics, mixed-media pieces, images, or videos.
- 70% would be excited to collaborate with you on a story, rather than receiving a finished asset.
Social shares are what amplify your message beyond a publisher’s landing page. The more shares you earn, the more eyes see your brand and the wider your pool of prospective customers becomes. But which influencers earn traction on which social networks – and in which verticals?
Understanding how verticals, publishers, and platforms work together will help you pitch the right content to the right publishers and amplifiers to earn the most shares possible. Targeting your promotion efforts to maximize your potential for social traction is an important step in creating an effective and efficient viral strategy.
To get you started, BuzzStream and Fractl analyzed 220 websites from 11 major verticals that actively produce content:
Should you pitch an editor for a tech publication the same way you’d pitch a publisher in the food vertical? Absolutely not. Pitches for education columns ought to look different than those for automotive features, too. You see where we’re going with this: your outreach strategy and pitching approach should vary based on your vertical.
But how should you begin to understand the nuances between the verticals? BuzzStream and Fractl have helped you get started with the new Guide to Publisher Personas. Using recent articles, LinkedIn and Google+ profiles, and bios from personal and publication pages, we outlined the personas you’re likely to meet in 11 different verticals: automotive, business, education, entertainment, finance, food, health, lifestyle, news, tech, and travel.
Five Traits to Learn
Based on our research, we found that five traits factor heavily in determining the type of editor you’ll most often find yourself working with.
64% of publishers agree that you should learn about them via their social media or published posts and reach out to establish a personal connection before you pitch. Your background research should yield more than a shared love of cats or support of a sports team, however. You can use social media (especially LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+) and publication bio pages to discover how much they may already know about your topic, the audience they want to connect with, the assets they typically prefer, and – most importantly – the tone and scope of their beat.
Contrary to popular belief, crafting the perfect pitch doesn’t begin with writing a pitch at all. Before you ever type a word to describe your content, you should begin by learning about the people you’re describing your content to – your list of prospective publishing contacts.
The most effective, efficient list building process begins with knowing which publishers will be most receptive to your content. It’s not enough to blast a mass email to everyone in a specific vertical; to earn the largest reach for your content, you’ll need to laser-target your pitches and know exactly what your contacts are looking for.
Employ these five tips and tools in your content promotion strategy and your lists will be pitch-perfect, every time.
There are innumerable articles out there giving tips on how to pitch journalists, but most don’t contain specific pitch examples outlining why they were successful. In outreach, imitation can be very effective, so we’ve compiled 10 pitches with commentary that elaborates on why they resulted in exclusive placements with top-tier publishers.
Often the bane of outreach associates, tracking analytics can sometimes be demoralizing. This is especially true in a field in which the end result relies on the publisher no matter how hard the associate works. That being said, if you use analytics as a way to improve rather than scrutinize your team, you can improve both your their performance and the overall quality of your campaigns.
1. Placement rate
Placement rate is calculated by dividing the number of placements secured by the number of pitches sent. According to a 2012 study by BuzzStream and iAcquire, the industry average placement rate falls between 4.5%–4.8%. Because your outreach team should be focusing on quality of pitches, rather than quantity, you can use placement rate to estimate the number of placements each associate will secure per week (on average). (more…)
In order to be the best at your craft you must learn from the best. But “the best” doesn’t have to be limited to fellow marketers; recently I’ve picked up some valuable, if seemingly unlikely, insights from TED, an organization that hosts seminars around the world to discuss “ideas worth spreading.”
In this post, I’ll share what I’ve learned about using storytelling, seduction, ideas, and perception to make your content stand out.
The Importance of Storytelling
“Maybe some of you have tried to convey your idea, and it wasn’t adopted and some other mediocre idea was adopted. The only difference between the two was the way it was communicated.” So says Nancy Durante, speaking on storytelling structure. But how do you tell a story through your pitches? Durante says that communicators (like Steve Jobs) use a specific shape to tell a story, and it looks like this: (more…)