After promoting over 1000 infographics, our media relations team have learnt several lessons. In this post each member of the team will share some techniques on how to promote visual content and how these steps have helped us get results.
We have used an example throughout the post: The Herb Guide to Cooking Vegetarian, a campaign that started very slow, but by following these 6 steps, ended up securing placements on large publications, including Huffington Post, UK and US.
1. Find the right journalist – why would they feature your content?
This might seem obvious to some, but finding the relevant journalist for the content you are promoting can be the difference between getting the feature or getting ignored.
When we prospect for potential opportunities, the most important and time-consuming step involves finding the most relevant person to talk to.
This involves answering the following three questions:
- What sector do they write for – food or environmental?
- Why would they care about meat-free cooking?
- Have they covered anything similar before?
Using the Independent as an example, one journalist, in particular, stands out – Clare Hargreaves.
Answering the following three questions mentioned above:
- She writes for the food and drink section.
- Touches upon making conscious food choices.
- Previously written an article on meat free week ‘veggie tips’.
The last step is to make sure that the journalist is still writing for the publications in question and if not, where is she now and is she still covering conscious food?
In this case, Claire is still contributing to The Independent and so we would reach out with the vegetarian herb guide to cooking – as we believe it could be of interest to her and her readers.
2. Make it relevant in that moment
Anyone working in Digital PR will tell you that working with a piece of content with a news hook is like finding gold at the end of the rainbow.
The Herb Guide to Cooking (Vegetarian Edition) – the design was spot-on, minimal yet striking and it offered practical information for those wanting to cook a vegetarian meal. But there was one problem, we weren’t achieving the results we had hoped for.
It was now week 2 into the project and time to sit down and discuss our strategy. After searching for potential opportunities on Google, we found the solution: Meat Free Week, a news angle that made the content relevant and more appealing to journalists wanting to cover it.
Luckily for us it was the following week – there couldn’t have been a better opportunity.
By implementing a relevant hook, we obtained coverage on Huffington Post Lifestyle, Huffington Post Taste and high-authority environmental publications.
We expanded the reach of this piece, increasing its exposure immensely, by giving a clear, newsworthy angle to journalists and editors worldwide.
3. Don’t forget to use social media
Social media not only shows us the amount of people talking about our infographic, it also tells us who is sharing the content, this offers another opportunity to get further placements.
By searching for the title of the infographic on Twitter, we ended up with a list of people who cared about the topic enough to share it with their followers.
When scrolling through the Twitter search results, it’s important to check if the people sharing our content have their own blog: we’re identifying opportunities.
Using the example below, “Aaron Parnell” shared a link to the infographic with his followers and after checking out his Twitter profile we find he has his own blog.
- He likes the content enough to share it with his Twitter followers.
- He has a blog – offering the opportunity for us to reach out to see if he would like to feature the infographic himself.
The above email is an example of how we would reach out. Keeping the email short and straight to the point. We use this technique regularly when we want to give our campaigns one extra push before closing.
4. Track what is working using Yesware
Our team uses Yesware for tracking the health of our campaigns, helping us make decisions to optimise on-going promotion operations.
Yesware’s email tracking and reporting features let us know exactly which prospects are most interested in the content we’re promoting by offering insight into who opens our emails.
Below a breakdown of key elements of Yesware reports we pay close attention to:
Number of opens from unresponsive prospects
When noticing that many prospects are repeatedly opening our pitch but are not replying to our emails, we will make an executive decision to launch our follow-up stage sooner than we normally would.
We do this in order to help these editors/journalists/bloggers to take the next step: publish our content or let us know they liked it but are not quite sure about it.
It’s common for journalists to be intrigued by the research behind the content or in need of a particular edit, and that short follow-up email creates the perfect opportunity for them to actually tell us what’s in their minds.
In this particular case following up sooner landed us not one but two features on Huffington Post:
When analysing our metrics for a particular campaign, we pay special attention to the ratio between email opens and actual replies. By doing this, our team can catch any potential problems and fix them whilst the campaign is still running.
None of the emails sent have been opened?
We have a Subject line problem — Fix the subject line and try again.
Lots of opens but no replies?
We could be targeting the right publisher but we’re aiming at the wrong journalist/editor: the topic is relevant but the target person doesn’t cover this content format. Alternatively, we’re smashing it with our Subject line but losing their interest in the opening sentence.
In this particular case, we were quite worried after the first week of launching the campaign because we received zero replies and that’s not common after 5 days of promoting a piece of content. By looking at these metrics and asking ourselves the right questions, we understood what our options were to get this campaign back on track.
5. Follow up using insight on what is working
We were unaware of Meat-Free Week during the initial stage of the campaign, so we were actually able to use this event to our full advantage during the follow-up round.
This is where we chase up with unresponsive people, in case they missed our email the first time round. It is also a second chance to try and impress them, which is how we used Meat Free Week.
By providing a possible hook to bloggers and journalists, we are able to make the campaign sound more desirable and newsworthy the second time round.
Two tips on how to achieve this:
1. The subject line is your ultimate sidekick
This is what the recipient will see first so is the most crucial part of the outreach.
Turning a boring, lacklustre title such as ‘Your Vegetarian Herb guide’ into something much more tempting like: ‘Meat Free Week: A vegetarian guide to cooking with herbs (Infographic)’ Right away the reader will know instantly what you’re selling.
The below email shows how we changed up our follow up email, including a reference to Meat Free Week.
2. Evaluate who responded to your initial campaign
If you notice that eco and green bloggers are responding much more positively than food bloggers, then that’s where your target audience is and that’s where you can focus your follow-up campaign on for better results.
If you need to reach an audience that isn’t necessarily responding well, then you will also know that it’s not working too well and you should tweak things to speak to that audience.
6. Always be ready to change direction
There is no right or wrong and no tried-and-tested method that will work for every single campaign. Having the ability to think on your feet and be prepared to change direction at any point in the campaign is crucial in gaining success. Just because something worked really well in the past does not mean it will necessarily work this time round.
Always think of new ways to interest recipients. This way of working will help you improve your own communication and problem-solving skills, as well as give you real-life experience on how best to appeal to certain bloggers and journalists.
At the start of the campaign we try to think beyond just one target group, by working on a strategy that touches upon many sectors. This gives us confidence when we make the decision of changing direction – it takes the fear away as we are already prepared for it.
A great tip for this is working in small teams. By having another person working with you, you will have fresh ideas and different perspectives to add to the campaign.
Sometimes, someone may think of something really obvious to them that may have never occurred to you previously. They can also share their own opinions and thoughts on what is and isn’t working for them.
I hope this blog post has given you some ideas for your own content promotion strategy.