The Multiplier Effect: When Media and Content Work Together

The Multiplier Effect: When Media and Content Work Together

Despite the shift toward digital PR and marketing, earned media coverage is still the cornerstone of many organizations’ public relations programs. Far from replacing traditional PR, digital and social media are now playing a significant role amplifying the tried-and-true approach of pitching stories to journalists to “earn” coverage in third-party media outlets. In addition, with the meteoric rise of content marketing, companies aren’t just socializing media hits – they’re using the coverage to generate content for corporate blogs, marketing materials and other channels.

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The 7 Stages of Grief: How to Get Over the Article that Got Away

Your Article Didn't Make The Cut
Your Article Didn't Make The Cut

It happened: the perfect story for your client ran in one of your target publications, but your client wasn't in it. That’s right – you've been left out. Despite all the networking you do, the relationships you maintain with industry reporters and your constant media outreach, you somehow managed to slip this reporter’s mind when she was drafting her piece.

First of all, don’t beat yourself up. This can and does happen to the best of us: even the most successful PR pro doesn't bat 1,000. No matter how good you are, at some point in your career you’ll lose an article that should have been yours - and when it happens to you, you’ll go through the classic 7 stages of grief. Here’s how to deal with each of them:

1. Shock

Finish reading the article and take a few deep breaths. Maybe walk a couple laps around the office to process the terrible injustice unfortunate fact that this reporter didn’t think to include your client. Give yourself a few moments to get over the shock before moving on.

2. Denial

Maybe your client WAS mentioned and you just missed it on the first read. It’s possible, but try to suppress the desire check the article over and over. Here are several places that it’s almost certainly NOT hiding:

  •         On the fold of the newspaper
  •         Copied onto some rogue Silly Putty
  •         On a section of the website that didn’t load properly
  •         On a “deep web” section of the website
  •         On an insert that fell from the magazine
  •         On a fragrance sample that fell from the magazine

No use denying it: it’s not there.

3. Anger

You’re right – it IS completely outrageous to write an article on that industry without including your client’s perspective. How could anyone think that’s a good idea? How could the reporter do this to YOU?

Although it may feel like it, remember that this omission wasn’t personal – reporters, like everyone else, are subject to a broad range of professional pressures that affect what they produce. It’s totally possible that the omission of your client was out of the reporter’s control.

4. Bargaining

Resist the urge to promise the PR gods that you’ll never send a pitch using mail merge EVER AGAIN if they’ll just make the reporter revise the online version – though cathartic, it’s unlikely to have a meaningful impact on your success. Instead, focus on concrete things you can do to make your relationship with the reporter stronger and ensure you’re included their next article.

5. Depression

It’s OK to indulge in the other steps for a bit, but just don’t go there with this one. In PR, like in life in general, there’s always something that can knock you off your horse if you let it – don’t let this do that to you.

You need to look at this omission as an opportunity for growth. That means pulling yourself together, meeting with your team and starting to brainstorm some solutions.

6. Testing

Now it’s time for things to start looking up. Talk with your team about realistic actions you can take to respond. Start with reaching out to the reporter - if you already have a strong relationship, she should be willing to explain what happened and why you got left out.

If you don’t know the reporter so well or haven’t talked to her in a while, this is the perfect chance to get your client on her radar. Think of an inflection point where your client could have fit into her story. Then, give the reporter a quick call (or email, or tweet) to share how much you enjoyed her article and explain what your client could add to any future discussion of the topic.

7. Acceptance

Remember, this happens to the best of us. Accept that you were omitted and think about what you can learn from it. What defines successful people in this business isn't getting omitted or not, but how they respond to it.

By clearing away negative emotions, tweaking strategy and communicating effectively, effective PR pros turn omissions into opportunities. Work through your loss and make sure that your reaction includes a clear strategy for ensuring it doesn't happen again. Finally, communicate that strategy to your client so they know it’s under control!

Have you grieved the loss of the article that got away? Any tips for dealing with it constructively? Let us know in the comments!

Contributed by Greenough Media Team members Andrea LePain (@alepain), Karen Laverty (@LavertyKaren), Christine Williamson (@ChristineDBW), Rachel Vaccari (@Rachel_Vaccari), Lucy Muscarella (@LucyMuscarella) and Caitlin Cimino (@caitlin_cimino).

Feeding the Media: Turning One Strategic Placement into Multiple Big Hits

These days producers, editors and reporters are under constant deadlines. The pressure is on to fill digital and cable news sites with fresh content 24/7 and reporters are often asked to file three or more stories a day. So how do journalists continually feed the beast? By sharing content.

The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University study finds that nearly 76 percent of stations are involved with other media in newsgathering and sharing agreements. Almost a third of news directors (31.2 percent) said they ran news on another local station, and the study finds that content ran on an average of 1.4 stations. The majority of stations also have cooperative agreements with outlets in other mediums including local newspapers, radio stations and websites.

Whether it’s a pitch for an article, video, slideshow or story idea, good media relations professionals know how to take advantage of these sharing agreements and identify key “feeder” media. Take Bankrate.com for example, a feeder site for Fox Business, Yahoo! Finance and MSN. The online outlet already has an impressive 63,695,333 page views per month, but combine that with the views top tier outlets like Fox are bringing in and you’ve just increased the exposure exponentially with one strategic pitch.

Here at Greenough, we’ve been able to implement this approach for several clients. This spring, we secured an article on seasonal allergies in the print and online editions of Health Magazine for Thermo Fisher Scientific. A good hit in its own right, but then the story got picked up by ABCNews.com and FoxNews.com.

For GT Advanced Technologies, we secured an article in MIT Review that went viral – netting more than 60 article pick-ups including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNN and Business Insider. We also saw 30 local news articles and 18 trade hits.

As with any good story pitch, it’s all about the research. Study your target outlets, identify their key “feeder” sites and understand who has a content sharing agreement with whom. The time and effort spent upfront will certainly help you maximize exposure and secure your next top tier hit.

Contributed by Account Supervisor Christine Williamson. Follow her on Twitter: @ChristineDBW.

Putting Storytelling to the Test: The Aaron Hernandez Case

Photo: Aaron Hernandez: Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: Aaron Hernandez: Flickr Creative Commons

In the summer of 2012, Greenough conducted our second “Prevailing Storylines Study,” poring over ten of the most widely read publications, including Forbes, Fortune, New York Times, Time, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, and pulling the ten most common narratives, or storylines, from each publication. We found that almost every story or event can fit into one of these storyline archetypes like “David and Goliath” or “Best Kept Secret.” However, some newsworthy events are so big that journalists will play out multiple storylines.

An example of this is the Aaron Hernandez case, in which he is accused of murdering Odin Lloyd. It has captivated the Boston market and the national media, and it has spawned weeks of coverage that shows no sign of slowing. Below is our analysis of the six prevailing storylines that can be identified within the Aaron Hernandez story.

Fall from Grace

Let’s start with the most obvious.  A rising NFL star with a troubled past seems to have turned his life around – only to become the prime suspect in a murder case.  He seemingly had everything going for him, so how could this happen?  The media has fixated on this question since the story first broke.  From local media like New England Cable News to national outlets such as ABC News, versions of this story range from purely factual reports of the arrest and the evidence to more theoretical articles that explore what may have led to this drastic outcome.

When History Repeats Itself

Immediately after a big story breaks, different facets of the newsroom spring into action.  Spot news reporters jump on the early details and investigative reporters start digging.  This is often where the “When History Repeats Itself” storyline begins to appear.  In the Aaron Hernandez case, it has manifested in two ways.  Many articles have explored his troubled past – asking if warning signs were missed, like this piece from The Daily Beast.  Others examine the criminal pasts of other past and present football stars like OJ Simpson and Ray Lewis and point out the beginnings of a disturbing trend: the rising arrest rates in the NFL.

Things Not What They Seem

Aaron Hernandez fooled us all. He seemed charming, sincere and grateful. He was the Patriots' Cinderella story of sorts. He acknowledged his tarnished history, but said that being with the Patriots had "changed him." Fans knew of some drug use and a few run-ins with the law when he was younger, but since his most recent arrest, a far more violent picture of Hernandez has emerged: A shooting at a strip club earlier this yeara 2007 bar fight that left a waiter with a burst eardrum and, perhaps  most chilling, an unsolved double homicide last summer. We cheered for a guy who had seemingly turned his life around. Fans were duped. Robert Kraft was duped. The entire Patriots organization says they were duped by someone who wasn't what he seemed.

A Cautionary Tale

This is perhaps the most prevalent storyline in the Aaron Hernandez case. Google "Aaron Hernandez, cautionary tale," and you'll get pages and pages of results with this in the headline: "Aaron Hernandez's Cautionary Tale""Aaron Hernandez Case Serves as Cautionary Tale." The story theme is everywhere and the message is clear for professional athletes, rookies, hopefuls and young men and women alike. Hernandez's career is likely over, his life is likely over, yet violence in sports continues -- cautionary tales of sports figures who “had it all” are everywhere.

New Kid on the Block

If he remains on the roster, Tim Tebow will not only be the Patriots' new kid on the block, he will be their ray of sunshine --the good to Hernandez's bad, the peacemaker to Hernandez's violent nature. Tebow automatically comes with the title of new kid, but in an offseason riddled with players making bad decisions (first Hernandez and now Alfonzo Dennard's DUI), Tebow has the power to not only be the new kid on the block, but also the good kid on the block.

The Prediction

Predictions outlining the Patriots’ fate are everywhere: Is this the end of a winning era?Five reasons to be optimistic for Patriots' Super Bowl chances. How will the Hernandez arrest affect Tim Tebow?  As we get closer to football season, we expect these types of articles to pick up.  But even this early in the game, we are already seeing outlets weighing in and trying to predict the larger impact this case will have on sports, the Patriots and the 2013 NFL season.

What storylines have you seen manifest themselves with the Aaron Hernandez case? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Contributed by Media Account Supervisors Rachel Vaccari and Christine Williamson. Follow them on Twitter: @ChristineDBW and @Rachel_Vaccari.