Ten Steps for Media Relations in a Social World.

In the latest Fortune Magazine I read that it takes 212 steps to make a pair of Allen Edmonds shoes. The process takes three days. A pair of the company’s wingtip shoes costs $295 – $550.

American Craftmanship lives (or, so says Fortune).

Imagine if after this 212 step three day process, Allen Edmonds just tossed the shoes out on the sidewalk and slapped a price tag on them – hoping that a few passers-by would make a purchase?

Silly, huh? But this is exactly what most companies do with their so-called media relations.

They spend hours crafting a news release and running it up to the executive suite for final approval (usually multiple times ) and then take minutes to distribute the release. And I use the word distribute loosely. More like fan out. They blast their news release out over their favorite wire service (usually not search-optimized and without rich-media) and then do the same to their saved media list that hasn’t been updated since GW was in office. All told – about 30 minutes of time. Lock up, go home. A fine days work.

In the age of “social” there are two facts about marketing and PR:

1. It’s hard. And getting harder.
2. It’s expensive. And getting more expensive.

Deal with it, ’cause it’s not changing anytime soon. And besides, it’s not as if you have a choice. You don’t if you want to play with the big dogs. So its no surprise that the CMO’s role is one of business’ toughest jobs to hold onto. How tough? Try a 22-month life expectancy.

As our new 90-second SocialEars video says (in a very animated entertaining way), “Your job used to be easy. Then came social.

Or, as Elrond Lawrence, HRmarketer.com’s VP of Media Relations and 20+ year marketing and PR veteran says, “It’s time to redefine the media list.”

“The people with whom you share news should be based on who is participating in and driving the online conversations about the topics that relate to your news. As you’d guess, this list of thought leaders changes daily, as do the trending topics. The goal is to identify and pique the interest of online influencers and content curators, who will then share your news with their own social networks. “

“The lines have blurred between analysts, journalists, and “social voices” – people who aren’t journalists or analysts per se, but nevertheless have strong online thought leadership and can be vital to sharing your news/content. This requires you to build on-the-fly news distribution lists on a regular basis – because the week after you build such a list, it’s out of date.”

Sorry PR folks – call home. You might be a few minutes late tonight. This will take more than 30-minutes.

We have a new white paper (authored by Elrond Lawrence, APR) coming out in a few weeks that goes into great detail about what it takes to succeed in media relations today. It’s titled “Social Influence and Curating Content: Thriving in a New World of Media Relations (coming soon).” It’s really good – great actually – and a must-read for anyone in HR marketing and PR. When it’s available we’ll blog about it here.

In the meantime, here are ten steps for media relations in a social world.

  1. Distribute your “news” over your favorite newswire. Be sure to search-optimize the release and whenever possible include rich media such as video, images, and links to related files. Also post the release to your own web site.
  2. Write a blog post or two about the key topics of the news release. Within the post, link to other online articles and blogs that support your news.
  3. Tweet about the news release topic(s) and the subsequent blog post(s). Change the message and do it again over a several day or week period. Get others on your team to do the same on their social networks.
  4. Share the news with your LinkedIn network, company Facebook page and if appropriate, your ‘personal’ social channels (is there a difference anymore?).
  5. Open up a discussion on the topic(s) within appropriate LinkedIn Groups.
  6. Identify the journalists, analysts and other online social “voices” that have recently written original content or shared content (via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) on the topic(s) relevant to your news. Then…
  7. Share your news with them and give some context as to why you are sharing the information.
  8. Comment on blogs and articles that relate to your news. Preferably ones written within the last month or so. Reference your online content but do so in a non-promotional way.
  9. Now send your news to your usual media distribution lists. This should be done after the above and should not include anyone you’ve already reached out to. Compose a personal intro message for each recipient on why they should care about the news and include a link to supporting information (preferably your social media press release with rich media).
  10. Reach out to a half dozen or so media outlets (print and online) and see if they have interest in a byline article on the topic. You’d be amazed at how often you’ll secure a placement.

Now lock up and go home. A fine days work.

Happy New year.

Post by HRmarketer CEO Mark Willaman. Join Mark on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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