As a start-up, positive press can be one of your most valuable assets and a great way to easily reach potential customers, investors and partners at scale. The problem is that not only are these stories hard to come by (just ask any reporter covering the start-up world how many PR pitches she gets on a daily basis), but the sheer volume of stories that are pumped out by the business and tech media has increased dramatically over the last several years. Consequently, the shelf life of any individual story has diminished significantly and that hard-earned ink you got for your app update, funding round or product launch just doesn’t go as far as it used to.
The good news is that there are plenty of strategies to help address this issue and ensure that every piece of earned media is maximized. Often collectively referred to as “content amplification,” these tools range from low or no cost to in the hundreds or thousands, so there truly is an option to meet every budget. The key is to do your homework to find out which one will best meet your goals. Read on for a few of my favorites.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates are a great tool for reaching a professional audience. Their targeting options enable you to reach certain job functions and titles, as well as location and interests. So if you’re a B2B marketer looking to reach sales professionals at Fortune 500 companies or make productivity software you want to get in front of CTOs in the Midwest, this is a solid option for you. Their system enables your earned media to appear in the homepage feed of members beyond those who are already following your company.
Facebook and Twitter: Your company’s Facebook and Twitter pages are a great place to push out earned media with followers, however, both companies also have paid options that enable you to reach non-followers and extend the overall reach of your content.
- Facebook’s Promoted Posts enable you to promote anything you’ve posted from your company’s page to appear in users’ newsfeeds. This can include followers, friends of followers or users you choose through targeting. It’s generally best for consumer-facing companies who are looking to amplify feature stories, product or app launches, site or service reviews or news about upcoming events.
- Twitter’s Promoted Tweets are a great all-purpose tool that allows you to push out links to earned media via regular tweets that appear in the news stream of followers and potential followers, as well as search results. One of the nice features Twitter offers is that you’re only charged when someone follows you, retweets you, replies, favorites or clicks on your tweet, so all organic activity and views are free.
Outbrain:Outbrainhas a self-serve version of its Amplify product, which enables you to increase the circulation of earned media by placing them as content recommendation links at the foot of online articles. You’ve probably already seen these links in action on sites like CNN and Slate, where you find them under headings that say “Recommended Reading” or “More From Around the Web.”
OneSpot: A relatively new entrant into the content amplification world, OneSpot can take links to earned media and turn them into display ads. Before pushing the ads out across exchanges like DoubleClick and Facebook Exchange, you get to see a preview of the ad that includes a headline, image and a few lines of information. OneSpot then bids for impressions amongst users that are likely to engage with your content.
In addition to these paid options, there are plenty of easy and free ways you can extend the value of your earned media, including:
- Share on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+
- Bookmark the content in appropriate tags on Delicious
- Post to your company’s blog
- Share via email newsletters
- Post in a “Press” section on your company’s website
The bottom line is that it’s important to get smart about maximizing your most valuable press. An earned media program can’t end with just scoring a story. You need to be thoughtful and strategic about distributing your content across every possible platform. A great media hit has always had immense power, but today you have even more tools at your disposal to maximize that power.