Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Take The Lead With Your Online Media Coverage

MCC Director Graham Thatcher looks at great ways to improve your online media coverage:

Getting a great story published isn’t always easy, especially if you want the right story in the right publication at the right time. But once you have achieved it there is no time to sit back and bask in your own glory, as there is still plenty of work to be done. I have been working in the world of PR for well over a decade and in some respects the industry has changed beyond all recognition and in a very good way.

When I first started my career in a PR agency it was about the ‘thud value’ of the monthly clippings book you could leave in the reception area for your client. Print coverage was king and online was supplementary noise (many clients would even ask me to omit it from there books as it held no value!).

Today, any agency or in-house PR will tell you that whilst we all still love to see our work in print, on the radio and TV, in the main it is all about online exposure. Crucially, when I talk about online coverage I am not talking about the here today gone tomorrow newsfeeds and copy and the ‘copy and paste’ breed of journalism (although there is an argument that this all contributes to the on-going SEO effort to an extent). I am talking about generating editorial rich online content that will create relevant links in the appropriate places, which in turn generates tangible PR-driven leads. Great for the PR, the publisher/blogger (it helps them to coax marketing budget) and the organisation.

So, the next time you find yourself with such a piece of coverage here are my top tips to maximise its lifetime value…
  • Read the story! Sounds obvious but in the midst of the euphoria of getting the story published in your top tier title, checked it for accuracy, is there an issue that you can pick up the phone and rapidly resolve with the journalist. 
  •  If you work in a PR agency the next step is to notify your client that the story is live. Send them the link and encourage them to share the story internally, especially with the sales team. If the story includes a reference to a customer or business partner who helped you create the story, then a courtesy email or call to them is always appreciated. 
  • Now for the traditional tip! Remember to clip it in its original glory! Don’t assume that it will stay online forever, especially if it is the top story on the homepage. 
  • Get online and tweet the story, being sure to use the most relevant hash tags and encourage others to do the same. More than likely it will be tweeted by the publication so make sure you retweet that also. Remember the more activity an Editor sees around a story, the more likely they are to pick up your next one 
  • As well as Twitter do a LinkedIn share. 
  • Whilst you are logged on to LinkedIn get on to the relevant groups and either start a new discussion about the theme of the article, or use the story to contribute to an ongoing debate (be sure to include the URL). 
  • Write a short trailer of the article that the organisation can use to create a new item on their corporate blog. 
  • Get on to the corporate Facebook paged to post a link. 
  • Finally, with all of this pushing of the story it is vitally important to track the resulting comments, as it is here that a potential new lead may originate.

As you can see, one clipping creates an opening many different virtual doors. The publication has given you the destination and that has huge value and potential in its own right, but as a PR it is your job is to maximise the number of the right people who see it.

So remember next time you get a Google Alert, are trawling Pickanews, or a doing your own search, it isn't necessarily the size of your clippings book that matters, it is what you do with it that counts!  You have worked hard to craft the story, cultivated the media interest, so you owe it to your organisation, client and yourself to make the most of it. Follow these best practice tips and you can be sure that every quality online story is given the treatment it deserves.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Sound and Vision


Now that we are truly into 2013 (and the snow is reminding us that we really are in the middle of winter) MCC International is busy meeting with clients and looking at what the PR campaigns will be doing for the next 12 months. It’s an exciting time for many of us in the PR industry, a fresh slate if you will, that allows for strategic planning and new ideas to drive forward the key messages. At MCC International 2013 is the year of video – we have recently opened up a specific YouTube channel dedicated to hosting the existing and future video material that will be an integral part of our work this year. In 1968 Andy Warhol famously said everyone would be famous for 15 minutes in the future – perhaps he had the foresight to see that once the technology had evolved, we would all be looking to make an impact on the world. It would seem he’s right and we’re glad to be helping our clients achieve more than just 15 minutes of fame!

One of the big headlines this week (especially for anyone who grew up buying their music in a shop rather than online – how quaint!) is the likely demise of HMV. There has been a lot of speculation as to why HMV has found itself in such dire straights (no pun intended) and anyone who bought their treasured music collections there in the 1980s and 1990s will probably tell you its as much to do with the company losing its appeal as a pure purveyor of music as it is to the Internet revolution and download sales. Interestingly, another brand that we grew up with, Argos, has reported it has grown sales using its click and collect service, as reported on the BBC News website this week. The idea of reserving an item online and then buying it instore is becoming popular with a number of ‘real-world’ retailers, offering consumers lower prices without the wait for the delivery to turn up. Of course Argos and HMV are very different beasts in the way they operate their stores, but its interesting to see new technology and traditional stores coming together to offer consumers a third option.

Another brand that seems to be feeling the pinch from the changing way we live is processor and chip manufacturer Intel, as reported on Sky News this week. Intel was interesting in that it managed to create a strong brand for processors (even accompanied by a jingle!) - not the kind of thing that consumers would traditionally have thought about when purchasing electronics. It would seem that Intel has lost some ground from the wider switch by consumers to smartphones and tablets from desktop and laptop machines. Like Microsoft, Intel had cornered a market that was hugely buoyant at the time but has since changed, almost beyond recognition, as users turn to new ways to process their information. If nothing else, Intel’s news like that of HMV shows that the world of business doesn’t stand still and whilst you’re the top of the pile you may well have to fight, tooth and claw, to maintain that advantage in the future. Like spinning plates, your customers need constant attention and stimulation to keep purchasing from you – something that is at the core of any good PR and Marketing campaign.