The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed activity for small businesses nationwide, as social distancing and quarantine continues, and consumers’ wallets have taken a serious hit. But that does not mean that entrepreneurs should stop developing relationships with their customers, as ultimately, establishing a connection with those who purchase your goods and services will lead to their loyalty when they are ready to spend again. To do so, you should consider pursuing earned media placements.
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What are earned media placements?
Earned media placements are media coverage that you do not pay for. To achieve these placements, you must pitch a reporter on covering your company, or insights that tie into topics like breaking news, trending stories or a window into the future of your industry.
There are several reasons that securing earned media placements is incredibly valuable to a startup business during this pandemic:
As a business, it is important to demonstrate confidence in the company that you lead and the product or service that you provide. However, it is even better to have a source that the public trusts verify the claims that you are making. You cannot achieve this by simply posting on Instagram or tweeting.
Generating credibility is a core benefit of earned media placements. Reporters at trusted media outlets are viewed as independent arbiters of truth, so receiving a journalist’s confirmation that what you are saying is true can lead to buy-in from potential customers.
Supports sales and marketing goals
Media coverage can serve as a wealth of content for your marketing efforts. You can pull quotes and insights from your placements to develop content for your owned media channels, including a blog post or LinkedIn article. Then, you can promote your blog posts and articles on your website to enhance your SEO rankings. Think about how you can incorporate media placements into things like customer newsletters and even webinars that you’re hosting.
Consider how you can leverage media placements in sales conversations, as well. You can mention to your prospects that you just published an opinion article in a national media outlet. Or, when conducting cold outreach, you can reference how your company has been mentioned in press that is frequently read by your target audience.
Develops thought leadership
Earned media coverage can serve as a tool to position you and your organization as an authority in your industry. This is important, as in today’s world, customers are not as apt to make purchasing decisions just based on the quality of your product. The public needs to know that they can trust you and building your credibility as an expert in your field can help to accomplish this.
For example, let’s say you own a sporting goods store. Think about writing an op-ed on what the future of team sports attire like football jerseys will look like in five years. You can place that op-ed in an industry magazine that targets an audience interested in buying your product. Or, if you operate a cybersecurity firm, you can offer a reporter your insights on how cyberattacks will evolve by this time next year. Then, a reporter can fold your input into an upcoming story on the topic.
Be sure to think past the placement to generate even more thought leadership from your earned media efforts. Can you include media placements in a pitch to secure speaking opportunities? You can even use your placements as a guide to develop social posts that showcase your expertise to your audience.
Earned media placements can directly impact your ability to achieve your sales and marketing goals and establish a deep connection with your customers. The key is to leverage these placements after they appear online, in print or on-air, so that you can maximize return on investment in a media relations program.