I Got A Press Hit. Now What?

You’re finally in the news. Now the PR begins.

Your company got some press coverage! Congratulations! Now that you’ve been the producer, director and star (perhaps even the writer in our new world of contributed content), you have a new role in the life of this article: Publicist. A few steps can extend the article’s life beyond its publish date and turn it into marketing collateral your company will use for weeks, months, even years after its initial publication.

I mean what’s weird about putting a record out now […] it’s just the fact of volume, literally the shear volume of stuff that gets put out. It’s like this huge frickin’ waterfall and you’re just throwing your pebble in and it carries on down the waterfall and that’s that. Right, okay, next.
Thom Yorke on Here’s The Thing

Don’t make the mistake of throwing out a single pebble. Your best strategy is to throw out dozens of pebbles a little bit at a time — and to have your friends, colleagues, family and everyone else toss out a few pebbles while you’re at it.

An article is much more than a clip: it can grow the marketing toolbox, support SEO, spread awareness, generate conversations and leads, and delight your sales team. Here are a few tips for things you and your team can do upon the article’s publication and far into the future.

What you can do

  • Track It — Create a customized bit.ly for tracking traffic. If you’re really into tracking conversions, do a different one for every possible source or even for people who will help you with the steps below.
  • Click It — Media outlets love traffic. Send the link to everyone in your company. Then send it to everyone you know. Tell everyone to click on it. They don’t have to read it. Just click!
  • Socialize It — Get your networks looking at the news and spreading it. Post the link to all of your company’s official accounts: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. Then post it to all your personal accounts, too.
  • Give Credit To The Writer— Where possible and appropriate, give credit to the journalist by using their @Name in the post. (“by @JessicaDRoy”)
  • Give Credit To The Outlet—Let the outlet know that you are publicizing the story by thanking them with a tweet to its @name from your company Twitter account
  • Retweet It — Retweet social posts about the article by the outlet and/or journalist
  • Kickstart Its Virality — If the article is controversial, stir up debate and interest by asking readers / social followers what they think.
  • Put It In The Mouths Of Colleagues and Friends — Craft sample social media posts for your colleagues, partners and friends, then send a cover letter encouraging them to support via their social channels. Send your team multiple versions. If everyone does the same post, it looks robotic and spammy to anyone who views the tweets in aggregate (i.e. the reporter who is curious who all these people are that are tweeting his/her @name!)
  • Do It Again — You need not do this once. Re-post several times on your business and personal accounts. Create variation posts that talk about the article in different ways…: “Hear what we said about storage at NAB…,” “Company CEO featured on YBLTV…, “In case you missed it…,” “The cloud is a great place for storage. Check out our take at (link).” You can spread this over the day, a week, months…
  • Blog About It — Write a brief blog post framing the article. This is a chance to provide more context around the subject discussed because likely you have a more nuanced view of the issue at hand than the reporter does. Quote from the article, give credit to the wrieter, and link back to the original source. The outlet will know if you’ve done this; it’s polite and good for your SEO and theirs. Don’t reprint the entire article on your site without permission. The correct protocol is to excerpt and add a link to the original source.
  • Embed It — If there was a video in the article, embed it on your site or in your blog. YouTube will increment the view count if you embed the player and do NOT have autoplay enabled. The outlet will be delighted for the extra views counted towards their video.
  • Show The Presentation — If it article refers to a presentation and you’re cool with sharing it publicly, post the presentation on Slideshare, then embed it on your blog
  • Lengthen It — Consider writing a “Director’s Cut” blog post. Are there usable outtakes (extra photos, more footage, more Q&A) that could extend the story?
  • Place It On Your Site — Add the story to the company news page. Consider adding “as seen on [publication]” to your home page.
  • Chat About It — Monitor the story’s comments section. Add your own. Thank the writer and expand on the article’s themes/ Talk to people who are also leaving comments. Make corrections, start arguments.
  • Put It In The Mail — For exceptional stories that make your company look amazing: 1) Encourage staff to add the link to their email sig (“We were featured on outlet! (hyperlink)”); 2) Consider a direct email featuring the piece to customers and contacts
  • Enlist Redditors — If the article has consumer or ‘gee whiz’ appeal, consider placing the article on a news site like Reddit, Digg or Techmeme and voting it up. A note of caution: if you are not already an active member of these sites, you may be called out as a Sock Puppet.
  • Use It Everywhere You Can — Look for other ways to repurpose the article’s content, like: 1) Use the article headline, key quotes and/or the outlet’s logo in sales presentations; 2) Cite it in speaking and other thought leadership proposals; 3) Use supportive quotes from the article on your web site, sales presentations and other marketing collateral
  • Own The Meme — Run some targeted advertising on LinkedIn, Adwords, Facebook or wherever appropriate to capture any heat around the issue at hand — just a small campaign that further associates your company with the subject of the story
  • Repurpose It For Another Vertical or Outlet— If the story was in an outlet that addresses a specific vertical, consider repurposing the principles addressed in the article for an entirely different vertical (e.g. the media outlets would not have any audience crossover). If the story is controversial, consider creating more thought leadership content to pitch to a competing outlet (without citing the original story)

What if the story isn’t quite what you hoped for?

  • Get It Linked — If there is not a link back to your company or product in the article, have your PR counsel contact the reporter. Unless there is a site policy against it, they will usually be happy to make this correction right away.
  • Correct It — If the facts are not quite right:
    * If the problem is factual, ask your PR counsel to contact the reporter and have it changed. Do not badmouth the reporter or outlet in a public venue. Arguing with a reporter or getting a combative reputation will prevent you being covered in the future.
    * If the problem is one of opinion expressed in the article, immediately work with your PR counsel to come up with a response strategy that may include: 1) A positively-worded comment on the story page; use your improv theater skills to formulate as “Yes, and…” instead of “Yes, but…” 2) Recruiting people in & out of the company to leave supportive comments on the story
  • Extend It or Find A Venue For A Rebuttal — Work with your PR counsel to find an outlet that may be interested in covering and getting a slightly different opinion or exclusive access.

What others can do

  • Rally The Troops Media outlets love traffic and comments! Encourage co-workers, friends, family, colleagues, business partners, pets, babysitters, chauffeurs to: Click on the article, Like and/or Reshare on Facebook, Tweet about it
  • View It— If there is a video, click on and the video and view it for more than 5 seconds so that the count goes up
  • Comment On It — Write a simple comment: “This is great,” “This company sounds like its going places” It doesn’t need to be ‘smart,’ The outlets are simply looking for feedback that the subject is interesting to its audience so they can make editorial decisions in the future. Clicks count towards the perception of ‘interest.’
  • Blog about it, including a link back to the original article
  • Post It — Have them post it to their personal Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus…
  • Engage With It — Get involved with the company’s post on its official social media accounts. Like, share and/or comment on the company Facebook post. Retweet the company’s Twitter or LinkedIn post. If it’s a video, like or comment on it. If it’s a presentation, favorite it on Slideshare. If it’s on a social news sharing site like Reddit or Digg, ask them to vote it up.

The power of a media hit goes far beyond publication of a story that will otherwise be buried and forgotten in hours. It’s incumbent on you and your team to make the most of it, activate every network at your disposal, and turn a single win into a lengthy campaign. Best of all, your friends in the media will appreciate it, too, which bodes well for coverage the next time you have news to share.

What other ideas do you have for extending an article’s usable life? Write me at shawn at entroporium dot com and I’ll update this post.