Events Mar 15, 2017

Internet has entirely transformed the way journalists source, work and cover stories. In this new and constantly changing media environment, PR strategies need to be re-evaluated or considered. Sarah Azan, former PR consultant and co-founder of Babbler, the first social media platform dedicated to media relations, gives us some concrete tips on how to successfully engage with journalists in the long term.

A new media context
Digitalization has dramatically changed the media ecosystem. Brands can no longer rely on a selection of key targeted journalists to get a publication. They are now faced with a larger number of targets: print and web journalists, blog influencers, social media and TV web channels - each one with their own specific needs. In addition, for just a few thousand euros, 10,000-contact databases are available to all. As a result, journalists are swamped by emails.


Transforming your PR strategy to adapt to today’s market trends
Knowing that journalists only open 3 % of their emails and answer 1 %, it’s clear that you need to find new ways to engage journalists in the long term. Below are a few tips to boost your PR strategy:
1- Exit the email channel
With such low ROI on mass emailing, today brands need to find alternative channels if they want to build a successful PR strategy. They have to identify their targeted journalist’s preferred channel.
2- Create a two-way dialogue
Remember that communication is a two-way process! As journalists are expected to create more and more content, they need you as much as you need them. Forget mass emailing and focus on a smaller number of contacts, get to know them well and provide them with the relevant content they need.
3- Centralize your content on a platform
Don’t take the risk of losing an opportunity! Store your content on a platform where the influencer or journalist can access it at any time.
4- Build a privileged relationship
Ban any opportunist communications and develop solid long-term relationships with journalists and influencers. Build this relationship over time and remember that when a journalist is integrated into a project, he is much more likely to talk about it.


Engaging with journalists in the long term
Once you have identified the right contacts and created solid relationships, the next step is to engage them in the long term. How? By producing engaging content (not just basic facts but real value-added information), personalized content (focus on different angles according to the target) and videos (take the journalist behind the scenes of your brand and create a more intimate relationship).
Some content formats work better than others: video, infographics, Facebook Live, Webinars, Blogs, Podcasts, e-books or growth Tracking (articles published on company web sites) are very popular with journalists. All this content can be produced in-house and doesn’t require a large budget. Also, try to create content that can be used more than once!


Creating speaking opportunities
Tips for a successful PR campaign:

1- Master your topic: wording is key
2- Identify the right targets and the right channels
3- Develop a personalized approach
4- Do some storytelling to arouse journalists’ curiosity
5- Prepare some ready-to-publish articles: journalists don’t always have the time to deal with gross information and appreciate content that they can copy and paste directly
6- Transform your news into exclusive news: send your news on embargo to a few identified journalists before spreading it out
7- Be part of the media debate (News Jacking): capitalize on a media debate such as Women’s day on the 8th of March to convey some of your values


Capitalizing on social network codes to build a more effective PR strategy
This is essential as the media are moving into media community management. In this context, it is key to:

1- Create viral content to generate conversation
2- Segment your targets. Don’t send the same press release to everybody. The key is adapting your content to your targets
3- Use collected data to adjust your strategy in real time. Don’t wait until the end of your campaign to adapt your strategy: change your title and your text, add some videos…
4- Federate your media communities through regular interaction: be sure to publish content regularly to show that your company is on the move
5- Build a privileged relationship with your media targets by sharing unusual news with them: ban mass-mailing of a unique press release
6- Feature the people from your company: journalists are on the look-out for human interaction. They want to talk about people, skills and values more than the products.
7- Take risks by talking about social issues


Measuring the impact of your PR strategy
In the past, press relations were used mainly to serve visibility and image challenges. Today, they need to meet business targets. “How can my PR actions generate business?” has become a key objective of any brand PR strategy. You can use all the data available to measure the impact of your PR strategy. “Likes”, Tweets, number of followers, interviews, Group tests and surveys are amongst the metrics the most followed. Below are some clues to best exploit data and KPI to understand the reasons for the success (or not) of your PR strategy:
- Measure the PR impact on your direct visits and on your search engine visibility
- Define an interactivity indicator to measure the vivacity of your exchanges with the public (number of positive and negative posts)
- Measure your reputation by checking the total volume of discussions and their tone
- Measure business impact by connecting the number of “Likes” with your sales
- Measure the conversion rate by source through analytics tools such as Google Analytics


A closer look at Babbler: a collaborative platform that transforms the PR paradigm

Founded in 2013 by two sisters, Sarah Azan and Hannah Oiknine, Babbler is the first social media platform for journalists and PR professionals that allows journalists to seek out targeted information from PR professionals whenever they want. The principle is simple: on one hand, PR players can share and store their latest news, content, events with the media communities they target; and on the other, journalists or influencers can access a live stream of stories, content, videos and events posted by the PR professionals in their network or industry.


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