The Sophistication of Public Relations: Uncovering the Latest Trends – Media Intelligence Services
Reporters and editors can often be heard quietly grumbling to themselves in their cubicles as they open their inbox, only to find it cluttered with irrelevant and spam-marked news releases. Sure, e-mail is the easiest way to reach multiple local media contacts and industry reporters, but how targeted is your contact list? Not all of your media contacts will be interested in your release, nor are all of these contacts the proper point person to hear your pitch. By sending mass e-mail campaigns, you risk losing credibility with the very contacts with whom you are trying to build a solid relationship.
Services are now available that specialize in building media lists and targeted distribution of your news releases, increasing the likelihood of coverage and expanding your contact lists.
Media Intelligence Services – Are They Worth the Hefty Price Tag?
Media intelligence services have rapidly emerged as an impressive public relations tool not only allowing you to accurately target the recipients of your news release by media type, beat, market, demographics, etc., but also to track your company’s or client’s Internet, print and broadcast media presence, with limited effort on your part. While such services come with a hefty price tag (some services pack a punch of several thousand dollars), their effectiveness and efficiency could be worth the investment for large-scale businesses or public relations firms with many high-profile clients. Most media intelligence services create individual user packages which include the following tools:
- Media contact search and list development: Media intelligence services have extensive media databases, including the contact information for editors, analysts, freelancers, syndicated columnists, broadcast journalists and bloggers in the Kentuckiana area as well as the national level. With these services, you can create targeted media lists for your company and/or clients based on media type, beat, market or demographic. Some sites will even do this leg work for you.
You may have spent hours combing publication Web sites for editors or beat reporters to beef up your media lists. In many cases, the Web site directed you to a generic e-mail address for your news release. Depending on the publication, these e-mail addresses may go unchecked or the person checking the address may overlook your release amongst the many.
Having access to a vast directory of media contacts allows you to distribute your news releases on a much wider scale, but with the ability to stay targeted to your industry. Media intelligence services also often include the reporter’s preferred contact method, pitching tips and biographical information.
- Press release distribution: Many media intelligence services send your news release for you using each reporter’s preferred method of contact, cutting back on the rate of bounce-backs and bypassing many spam filters. Your news release will have a higher chance of being read. These services also allow you to track, analyze and report on your media distribution activities. Quickly learn which publications and reporters are the most responsive to your releases; compare which news releases received coverage and determine correlations between coverage rate and news release subject matter.
- Monitor print, Internet and broadcast media coverage: Often media intelligence services monitor your company and/or clients’ media coverage, leaving you free to work on other public relations efforts. Some of these services even offer to measure the effectiveness of your various media campaigns for you, based on coverage.
These services are subject to the media intelligence service you choose. Some well-known media intelligence services are Cision, Business Wire, PR Newswire, Vocus and Marketwire.
I’m Not a Big Fish. What’s Out There for Me?
“For a small company, free is definitely better,” said Laurie Dunlop, Web content writer, NetStrategies – an Internet marketing optimization company.
Many free services can be found on the Web, allowing you to post news releases. Laurie suggests checking out www.PRLog.org. Submission is simple and the site distributes all content to Google News and other search engines. If you have a Web site, be sure to create a newsroom where you can post your news releases along with press coverage for visitors. Search engines such as Google, crawl Web sites on a regular basis for content and will index the new information; thus, increasing your SEO (search engine optimization) and Web site traffic.
Laurie also recommends searching for industry-related or business directories where you can post basic company information. For a small fee, you can often enhance these listings. Check out www.JigSaw.com for an example of a free business directory. While you’re there, go ahead and upgrade your listing.
With new, popular forms of media emerging at an alarming rate (think blogs and Twitter) and the increasingly high turnover rate in print media, it continues to become more and more difficult to stay on top of your media contact lists. Whether you decide to take the plunge and purchase a package with the high-end media intelligence services or choose to make use of the freebies, these services will make your work easier and more effective.
Check out ProMoter Inc.’s blog for more information and tips to upgrade your public relations and marketing efforts. http://promoterinc.blogspot.com/
Call out: This article is the second installment in a three-part series spotlighting the latest trends in public relations. Next month in Kentuckiana Business Forum, watch for a discussion of search engine optimization (SEO) – the newest catchphrase in public relations.