As much as we love variety, let’s face it: Some things are just plain boring. This can feel especially true when you’re working with multiple clients – some days you’re offering endless ideas about comic book characters and movies; the next you’re trying to make any inch of linoleum seem cool. It’s a daunting task, but it’s not impossible.
You can successfully create viral content within boring verticals; however, it requires you to conduct a focused research strategy and curate a very specific outreach plan. It all comes down to who will link to it and who will share it.
Here, we’ll walk you through five steps to improving your chances of creating content that will not only reach your niche audience but land your content on the screens of potential consumers.
Nobody likes negative feedback. Even if you mask it as “constructive criticism,” it still stings. In promotions, it’s not uncommon to receive a negative response from an editor – some of the worst I’ve received is a simple, “No.” However, what you might not realize is that a negative response isn’t a dead end – it’s an opportunity to continue a conversation with the editor. They’ve opened the door to build a relationship and earn future placements, but the trick is how to get there.
The best response should sound like the beginning of a natural conversation – you want an editor to know that you’re interested in their feedback and are willing to listen to what they have to say. You want to come across as genuine if you want to get the very best feedback from them.
Here, we’ll walk you through seven practices that can improve your ROI for negative pitch replies, increasing the likelihood of future coverage and a mutually beneficial relationship with an editor.
Establishing a diverse, high-quality link portfolio is crucial to increasing your organic rankings. Between July 2013 and July 2014, more than 80 percent of companies increased their spending on tactics that earn links.
When launching a campaign, you must be acutely aware of where your campaign spreads after the first exclusive goes live. Most campaigns that earn a top-tier pickup will spread through social networks, messaging systems, news sites, and blogs, allowing you to secure a cascade of links from your original placement.
If you’re not monitoring this spread and optimizing it for your clients’ benefit, you’ll end up missing out on establishing a more diverse, high-quality link portfolio that would require little additional work from your team. Here’s where you should start:
Link Reclamation – The process of finding natural syndications of your campaign and working with the editor to optimize the story for the biggest client impact.
Link reclamation should occur shortly after your first exclusive goes live, allowing you to leverage the recency effect.
Recency Effect – When people are asked to recall a list of items that are presented to them, they tend to be able to best recall those at the end of the list (the recency effect) and those at the beginning of the list (the primacy effect) better than those in the middle of the list.
Using this theory, you’ll want to reach out to writers shortly after they’ve published your campaign, so it’s fresh in their minds and ripe for updates; if you reach out several weeks after they’ve published, sometimes the story can be too stale for an update.
Below, I’ve outlined the important steps of link reclamation and the strategies that will have the biggest impact for your client.
A successful content marketing campaign can be broken down into three main stages: ideation, production, and promotion. To maximize your efforts, all three should build off each other by focusing on one common goal—creating content that will inspire your audience and compel them to share.
Here we’ll walk you through the questions you need to ask yourself during the three phases in order to produce a campaign that will reach high levels of social traction.
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.