SETTING GOALS FOR EARNED MEDIA SUCCESS
As we approach the new year, companies are starting to put the finishing touches on their 2019 plans. With months of campaign execution now coming to a close, it’s a good time to look back on this year’s successes and shortcomings – evaluating metrics and setting goals for the road ahead.
Earned media coverage – often secured through news stories, executive interviews and contributed articles – is an important consideration for communication programs. Since companies don’t pay media outlets for this type of exposure, it offers third-party validation that can help build trust and credibility with target audiences. However, securing earned media coverage doesn’t always come easy – so it’s crucial to take a strategic approach to maximize the impact.
Heading into the New Year, marketing managers should collaborate with PR teams to ensure that business and marketing objectives align with their earned media strategy. Here are four questions to help set a clear direction and make those placements hit their mark in 2019:
Who is your target audience?
Securing an article placement in a publication that garners thousands of media impressions is great, but it serves little purpose if those readers aren’t a part of your target audience. Take the time to identify who you are trying to reach and how they get their news. Then you can target the outlets that will have the greatest influence on your audiences.
What are your key messages?
Once you have the audience identified, you’ll want to craft key messages you’d like to convey to them through secured PR coverage. Think about how the message points align with business and marketing goals: Are they intended to sell a product? Drive web traffic? Recruit employees? You may have different key messages outlined for different initiatives, so be sure your stories include the correct messaging to align with each campaign.
How are you positioning the brand?
Brand recognition is relative to exposure. The more a consumer sees a brand and/or its representatives in positive news coverage and insightful articles, the more likely they are to remember them later when making decisions. That’s why it’s important for companies and brands to be represented prominently in media placements – helping reinforce their position and build familiarity with the consumer.
Are you maximizing reach?
If you’ve reached your target audiences, delivered your key messages, and your brand was prominently represented in the article, you likely have great coverage to show for it. If the placement receives a ton of impressions, you’ve hit a home run. As you decide where to place content throughout the year, continue to review the digital and print circulation of your target media outlets. Also, consider revisiting your media databases periodically to identify new outlets that can help extend your brand’s influence.
Earning media coverage is great, but if it doesn’t work towards your business goals, what have you achieved? This year, reevaluate how you are targeting the media and track throughout the year to ensure your stories are making an impact. If you’re looking to elevate your earned media efforts in the new year, give us a shout.