Why “Fake It Till You Make It” Only Goes So Far with Earned Media

Placing earned media literally means earning placement for content. At Relevance, our Media Outreach Specialists work with all types of niche content for a variety of specialized audiences. We might, for instance, place a piece of content aimed at videographers, a crowd of tech-savvy people with a very specific skill set. Most folks have never recorded, edited or produced video content.

Media knows best

This means starting with the media—contact influential media outlets, blogs, and communities that know what your target audience is looking for. Build relationships with the media as you do this research. One of the first mistakes we make as marketers is forgetting that these bloggers, influencers or site owners are people, too. Talk to them like they’re people. Explain what you’re doing and ask them relevant questions. Get them interested.

Not just what, but how

Promoting content isn’t just about getting the content published; it’s about getting it published in the right place in the right way. What is the best platform to reach your audience? How can you get your audience’s attention—is it social media, Google+ hangouts, niche blogs or online podcasts?

Make research the first step in your outreach process. In her article “Why Inbound Marketing is Perfect for Your Niche Business,” Ellie Mirman says that “the more narrow your audience, the easier is it to identify the specific contacts engaging on these social networks.” This step is vital—otherwise, you run the risk of wasting your time outreaching to the wrong platform with the wrong form of content.

Know what you’re talking about

Put yourself into the shoes of a site owner: you’re contacted by a PR professional who spouts off about why your site needs content and how your site could benefit. But, the PR professional’s email doesn’t speak to your audience’s interests. It’s obvious he hasn’t done his research. He doesn’t actually care about what you want or need—he’s just looking for content placement.

So you ignore him. Delete email. Move on. You may not even check out their content because you’re pissed.
How can we as digital marketers stop this cycle? Do our research. Know a thing or two about the niche topic and target audience. Engage in relevant conversations—follow influencers, read blogs, join Twitter chats, and be curious. This is the point in you process where the extra couple minutes invested in research goes a long way.
Check out Chad Pollitt’s “Content is King, But Distribution is Queen and She Wears the Pants” for more information on earned media, but know there is no single “right” way to be a great digital marketer. Be curious, flexible, and very, very determined.