Social media has brilliantly expanded the opportunities and reach of brands and businesses. The ability to control and manage your message at point of need is a welcome shift in traditional PR and marketing constraints. Maximizing the right platforms and tools available is now the challenge we face. Perhaps one of the more beneficial social channels for PR activities is mostly perceived to be a recruiting tool – LinkedIn.
According to the 2017 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report produced by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 89% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute their content. This makes it the most often used, and reportedly the most effective, social platform of choice.
Last week I wrote about those things to consider before accepting a media opportunity. In this two part series, I’d like to finish with what should happen after you agree to a media interview—preparing your spokesperson.
It is the responsibility of the spokesperson or subject matter expert to clearly, honestly, and succinctly articulate information bringing insight and clarity to an issue or topic. It is also their responsibility to do this in a way that positively supports the organization and brand represented.
If you have the ability to conduct formal media training with your experts, I strongly recommend this. While it can be costly depending on the sources you leverage and the time away from normal business, it’s worth the investment. The experience of spending a focused day or more conducting deeper dives and interview simulations can make an enormous difference on the final outcome, the confidence of your spokespeople, as well as the long-term impact of your overall PR program.
You’ve worked hard to get your company name and services out there. Your subject matter experts are presenting at all the major events in your industry. Client success stories are beginning to emerge. And you’ve now begun to pique the interest of a few journalists.
Before you agree to that media interview, there are many things to consider ensuring it’s the right opportunity for your business.
The first thing to understand is that you don’t have to accept every interview request that comes through. If you pass on one that doesn’t fit well, another opportunity will come that is better suited. Just be patient.
Driving new thought leadership and premium media opportunities for an organization requires a thoughtful communications plan aligned to core business priorities and goals. But you also have to partner with the best people to develop critical content, leverage in the right press opportunity, and to seamlessly showcase the deep thought leadership of your organization and its clients.
This is where a solid subject matter expert (SME) program can make an enormous difference in your planning efforts.
What is a SME?
Simply put, a SME is an individual with deep knowledge, skill, and expertise in a particular subject area or domain. There may be varying levels of proficiency or focus, and that’s a good thing as it allows you to leverage individuals in multiple ways.
When looking to build a successful SME program for your organization, there are numerous things to consider, collect, and prepare before launching. Below are key components to jump-start an impactful thought leadership program.
In my experiences overseeing public relations, I have often been approached by business leaders and subject matter experts to create and publish a press release simply for the sake of getting the company or offering out in the market. Often times the reason for the urgency has been that they’ve had a hard time selling their product or service – there may be a belief that getting a press release out to the public will suddenly reduce the sales lifecycle or close a specific deal.
While I do feel a well-written press release and a thoughtful media campaign can impact awareness and potential sales, it’s not going to be the sole tactic to drive a large increase. Instead, it should part of a broader campaign and message strategy.
To ensure the success of a press release, there are numerous considerations before the first draft is even developed. Below are several items to consider before, during, and after the development of a press release to ensure you get the most value and impact from the right business opportunities.
The evolution of the internet and the ability for anyone to create and share content at a moment’s notice is exciting, and maybe a bit terrifying at the same time. Technological advances continue to saturate the storytelling ecosystem at an astonishing rate. This is great for the content creator, but can also feel like an insurmountable obstacle for media outlets and journalists. The mission of finding a unique and timely story has become even more challenging as the competitive landscape of a reporter continues to explode.
Great organizations, and specifically their PR teams, should look for opportunities to simplify the process and build strong and enduring relationships with the media. One of the best things an organization can do is to develop a robust, easy-to-use, online newsroom. If reporters are consistently racing to find a unique story angle, a fresh point of view, as well as a strong subject matter expert (SME), why not provide them what they need quickly and easily so they get their story, and you can share your organization’s thought leadership?