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Why is media exposure important?

This blog is all about how we, as PR experts, get our clients the media exposure they deserve. But why is media exposure important in the world of B2B communications?

There’s a few reasons. Firstly, getting quality press coverage can help build brand awareness and recognition amongst your target customers, by featuring your company in the publications and on the websites that they read.

Media exposure, especially in well-respected publications, also helps build brand credibility. Seeing that your company has appeared favourably in national publications and top-tier trade titles builds trust with your customers before they’ve made direct contact. It’s an important stage of the customer decision process – some would argue it’s the most crucial stage.

Getting brand name mentions and backlinks on high domain authority websites should also be a key part of your SEO strategy. Any SEO strategist worth their salt will tell you that this is vital, therefore driving traffic to your website is a common objective of a B2B PR campaign.

Media exposure can also help set your company apart from your competitors, something we call increasing share of voice. Your PR strategist will be able to help you hone your key messaging and USP (unique selling point) and position your business as the preferred choice in a crowded marketplace.

Some recent examples from the Midnight team include a feature in The Guardian for a legal client talking about a recent employment case and a mention in The Times for a construction spokesperson on the HS2 controversy.

Crafting compelling content

The type of content we would send a journalist varies and could include:

  • A press release – only relevant when you’ve got some actual news. For example, this could be a senior appointment to your company, a new client win or contract signed, or the results of some new research that you’ve conducted. (Top tip – It’s a good idea to issue the press release before announcing the news on your social media platforms, otherwise it might appear as ‘old news’ and journalists are less likely to publish it).
  • Newsjacking – a short and snappy comment from a senior spokesperson giving their expert opinion and reaction to a breaking news story. (Top tip – the journalist doesn’t need the background, they already know, just link to the story for reference).
  • By-lined article – an article written by an expert spokesperson on a topical and relevant subject. (Top tip – we would pitch out a synopsis first to secure a commission before writing the article in case the journalist would like a specific focus).
  • Interview opportunity – a call or email Q&A with a senior spokesperson who’s got something particularly interesting and exciting to talk about. (Top tip – this works best when you’re offering the journalist a juicy exclusive). We also recommend getting your spokespeople media trained before pitching so they are clear on your key messages and how to deliver them in the most effective way…and to avoid any clangers.
  • Feature contribution – this could be responding to a journalist request for comment within a pre-planned feature, or you’ve spotted that a journalist is planning a feature on a subject that you’d like to pitch to be included in.

There are other types of content of course, but in the world of B2B PR, these are the main ones we’d likely be sending.

I read a slightly alarming statistic the other day that 90% of online content will be AI generated by 2025. So, in the age of AI generated content, what journalists are looking for are human experts who can talk from a position of authority and authenticity, who aren’t afraid to sound human, and can offer a perspective the journalist might not have heard before, or offer content they don’t already have, such as new data. From speaking to our SEO experts, we know that Google’s algorithm is moving to a preference of content which can be attributed to an actual human expert. So, whether your content is to be pitched out to the media or housed on your website, it needs to be identifiably human.

Journalists are notoriously busy people and are inundated with pitches on a regular basis. The messaging you’re sending them therefore needs to get to the point as quickly as possible and contain everything they need. Our job as PR experts is to write a pitch which stands out, is easy to understand, and makes life as easy as possible for the journalist.

Don’t forget your visuals…this is really important. Every type of written content that gets issued to a journalist needs a high-resolution image or video. The only exception really is comments on the news agenda – even then having a high-res headshot of the spokesperson is useful. When considering your content therefore make sure you’ve budgeted for some professional photography.

Understanding your media landscape

So which publications and websites should you target? This all depends on who your target audience is, and this is the first question your PR expert will ask you, as our strategy all stems from your answer.

There’s little point in trying to target everyone in the world as your budget will stretch too thin and you won’t get the traction you’re seeking. Having a target customer in mind helps focus your strategy and helps your PR team build a campaign to get the attention of a specific audience.

There’s also little point in paying for a PR campaign without a target audience in mind, because press coverage in a title which isn’t relevant to your business won’t be a worthwhile achievement, or a worthwhile use of your budget.

Once we understand your target audience, or audiences, we can then build a media plan. We do this through thorough research, looking at the likely publications and websites that your target customers will engage with, and which are likely to publish the content we’ll be seeking to produce.

A PR agency like Midnight will conduct this research by considering what’s worked well for other similar clients and by utilising the media databases we have at our disposal. We will also conduct desk research to find journalists that have written about relevant subjects, perhaps featuring your competitors, so we can build a hit list of the first journalists we’d want to make introductions to on your behalf.

As a result of this research, we’ll create our ‘top tier’ list of publications that we’d consider a priority for your campaign.

For example, we have a client that targets both the construction and insurance industry and our top tier list for them therefore includes titles such as Building, Construction News, Property Week and Insurance Times as well as all the national newspapers and corresponding websites.

Building and maintaining media relationships

We’re often asked how we manage to secure press coverage for our clients and one of the most important parts of our job is nurturing and developing our relationships with journalists, editors and freelance writers.

What’s really key here is making sure you’ve done your research first and worked out if the journalist you’re pitching to will even be interested in what you’ve got for them. Our team conducts regular research into who’s writing what and who’s moved where. For example, one of our top tier publications may have just hired a new editor or writer, we’d then reach out to them and introduce our client list and offer content.

If we’re pitching a comment out from a client on a breaking news story, the first thing we’d do is look at which journalists are writing about that story or have written about previous similar stories in the past to start building our press list.

The best examples of great media relationships are when we’ve been working closely with a journalist to the point where they are contacting us for content. That’s the goal.

For companies looking to do this themselves and don’t know where to start, all PR agencies have tools to assist including media databases and journalist alert services, but good old desk research plays its part too. What we’d advise against is the ‘hit and hope’ or scattergun approach of contacting multiple journalists from a list, or via a database. This simply doesn’t work. You’ve got to tailor your approach and build that relationship!

So to recap…how do you maximise media exposure?

In summary, you need to:

  1. Agree and prioritise your target audience(s)
  2. Craft compelling key messages
  3. Create some engaging human-generated topical content
  4. Media train your spokespeople
  5. Build your media lists with relevant contacts/titles
  6. Develop relationships with the right journalists
  7. Deliver your content to the right contacts and make it easy to understand
  8. Celebrate getting some amazing press coverage!

Or, of course, you could give our team a call and we can help.