May 2 2017

Earned Media: Why and How to Market Third Party Credibility

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Content marketing is attracting significant buzz at PR and marketing conferences and is the darling of owned and often paid media. Yet, the heart of public relations and a solid strategic communications plan is earned media. Why “earned”? Because you can’t buy third party credibility.

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Earned media comes in several flavors: an article placement in traditional media (e.g. Washington Post, CNN or CBS Radio), awards and speaking opportunities. While some speakers earn top dollar to keynote a conference, most professionals are invited to deliver a speech or participate on an industry panel to share their expertise – thereby earning credibility from the conference host.

Awards for personal or program accomplishments are earned by professional success as evaluated by your peers or an expert panel. Based on the strength of your narrative and completion of the application requirements, your work is critiqued to determine if it is worthy of recognition and reward.

Having a reporter tell your story brings credibility that you can’t deliver through sponsored content or video that you produced. Often times, media relations results in a single quote in a larger story. Sometimes, it’s a feature story about a product, executive or community investment. In each instance, there’s tremendous value to sharing the article or broadcast report with internal and external stakeholders.

In each case, the outcome of selling your narrative – a speaking gig, an award or an article – brings earned media to your brand. Many have tried to put a price tag on this third party credibility, but it’s difficult to quantify by traditional ROI measures. Therefore, it’s up to you to ensure maximum visibility for the success.

Here are a few common means to ensure the media story, speaking opportunity or award receives attention long-term.

  1. Post to your website with links and photos. Use a pull quote from the article or award citation to highlight the key message.
  2. Include in your email and content marketing campaigns.
  3. Add award badges to your website, presentation materials and collateral.
  4. Share on social media and include photos and video if available. You can also include sample tweets and Facebook posts in a social media toolkit for influencers who can help spread the good word.
  5. Use these earned accolades in paid media if appropriate.
  6. Highlight in your annual report.
  7. Ask influencers to help share the good news (bears repeating).

The best means to ensuring your audience knows about the great media coverage, heralded speech or much-deserved award is to spread the good news. In my agency days, we called this “merchandizing the results.” Today, it’s about using owned media to promote earned media. Paid media services such as Outbrain and Storify should also be considered to maximize visibility.

A well-rounded marketing and communications plan will address earned, owned and paid media. Each has its place in the PR/Marketing mix. Only earned media, however, carries third party credibility.

Note: This article was originally published on kurtzdigitalstrategy.com.



Mar 21 2017

Spreading Your News: Three Storytelling Basics

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In this post-fact era of fake news and alternative facts, it can be discouraging to rise above the noise and position your executive, company or association as a thought leader. However, the basic building blocks of public relations still apply. Here are a few tips to tell your story.

  • Color your narrative. It’s been true since the ancient Greeks, that pathos reigns supreme to logos. In today’s fragmented media environment, evidence needs an emotional connection more than ever. Personalize the facts so that readers and viewers understand the impact, not just the numbers.
  • Connect to current events. You can do this by writing an op-ed or Letter to the Editor to share your opinion on policy, your association’s research or recommendations. You can be a convener and host a policy briefing featuring prominent voices on the issue. Or send reporters a tip sheet of experts who can comment on the day’s news.
  • Tweet – thoughtfully. Sharing opinions and recommendations on Twitter should be part of your communications strategy. If you want your audience to know you, participate in the online conversation by sharing third party content as well as your own. Use Tweet chats to host a dialogue with issue experts, elevate your issue and engage a wider audience.

These are but a few best practices that you can employ to create common practice and build relationships with your audience and reporters alike.

This blog appeared on LinkedIn March 14, 2017



May 22 2013

Nanopunditry: How to Make Your Mark

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A decade ago, many public relations practitioners were struggling to explain to clients the definition of a blog and why interviewing with a blogger, in addition to journalists, was important to build third-party credibility for a company, product or executive.

Today, corporate and executive blogs are commonplace among the nearly 200,000,000 or more blogs vying for readers. Blogging is a proven PR tool to build thought leadership and establish an individual as an issue or industry expert.

During a PRSA-NCC luncheon May 15, marketing expert Geoff Livingston shared his perspective on blogging for thought leadership, a practice he calls being a “nanopundit.”  Not exactly flattering given that nano means “billionth.”

People blog and use social media because it “allows you to circumvent traditional channels,” said Livingston. The challenge to building an audience is to carve your niche and demonstrate your experience.

“Don’t tell people simply what to do or how to do something,” he explained. “Show people through tales of experience and work.”

Livingston, a former journalist, has advised Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, eBay, Ford and Google, on content marketing and thought leadership. He is also the author of three books on social media and marketing.

“Tip posts are easy,” he continued. “Readers are attracted to your blog when it’s grounded in experience.”

Based on his experiences, Livingston shared five tips to establish thought leadership through blogs or other social media channels.
1) Read a lot. Subscribe to everyone who’s talking about your subject. It forces you out of isolation. When you know what everyone is saying, then you can own the nano niche.

2) Pick channels selectively and do it well. LinkedIn is ideal for B2B. I do Google+ and Twitter. If you do too many social media channels, it will eat you alive. Don’t burn out. Go home and enjoy your life.

3) Lead by example. Do the work. Don’t just talk about it.

4) Lead through service. It makes a difference when people see you giving to the profession or community.

5) Don’t let up once you become nano famous. Don’t let success go to your head.

The PRSA National Capital Chapter is the society’s largest with more than 1,400 members. This luncheon was hosted by the chapter’s 20+ LeaderPack, an exclusive forum for senior level professionals with at least two decades of experience to build relationships, offer support, and jointly address common challenges and concerns.

This post originally appear on PRSA-NCC.



Jan 11 2011

The Teen Years

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Farewell Aughties! The year 2011 marks the beginning of a new decade – the Teens.  And what would the first month of any New Year be without some forecasting? Thus, here are my observations of the changes still to come during the adolescence of the 21st Century.

Social Media. For those waiting for “proof of concept” before joining the revolution – enough already. You’ll never be perfect, so get in the game. Yet, there will be higher expectations for social media channels. Measurement rightly will become more important – to identify outcomes, to define value and to justify staff and budget.

And the business of social media…. Both Facebook and LinkedIn are expected to go IPO!  Others will follow.

Need more insight on social media?  Check out these 30 predictions.

Grammar. Unlike Latin, English is not a dead language. As such, it’s time to become more comfortable with the morphing of texting conventions into every day business writing. Heretic, you say. In a day where good copy writers are a dying breed and newspapers can be riddled with typos, its easier to just adapt. (lack of apostrophe intentional) Generation Y will define the norms.

Global. If you can, learn a foreign language. Make it Spanish if you plan to stay stateside. Non-Hispanic whites will lose their majority status by 2042, if not sooner. If you believe, as I do, that the 21st Century will be the Asia-Pacific Century, try Mandarin Chinese.

Relationships. Video conferencing – via GoToMeeting, Skype or a yet to be determine technology – will increase in frequency. However, a person-to-person meeting around the boardroom table, a business dinner with steaks and salads or chat over coffee will remain critically important to develop solid relationships. In business, in media relations or in social circles who you know well will always matter.

Success. It requires knowledge, effort and bit of luck. Investment in continuing education and professional societies remain essential for advancement. They are good networking opportunities too.

Best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year!



Sep 19 2010

Forced Fast

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The experiment at Harrisburg University wherein access to social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, were blocked for a week proved to be assignificant publicity push for the university.  Forcing students to listen to lectures, take notes, and speak to classmates (unless they chose to use mobile devices that are not dependent on the University’s network) may have been useful instruction for the students.

From the comments in the numerous national and international news stories that have appeared over the past week, many of the students seemed surprised that they understood lectures more clearly when their weren’t multi-tasking. (Is IMing your friend two seats away really “multi-tasking” or just not paying attention?)

Now that Harrisburg University has reopened the social networking pipe, students will head to class to tomorrow with the ability to return to old habits.  Hopefully some with rethink their behaviors and realize that they (or their parents) are paying good money to be lectured to.  It’s better to listen and learn, then later compare notes and complain.

Also, perhaps Harrisburg University will turn its experiment into tangible lessons for its students about responsible use of social networking sites. Or was the publicity the lasting legacy of this fast?