Don't cry over your lack of good PR, get to work and master some earned media skills


Don't cry over your lack of good PR, get to work and master some earned media skills


Ok, so it is you, but it’s not your fault.  Media coverage, particularly in the fast-moving digital and social spheres, has changed significantly in the past few years.  It continues to change daily, and to be successful, your media outreach strategies need to change with it.

So, let’s retire the idea of new employee hires, software updates and product launches as being news-worthy as topics of media interest in themselves.  Absolutely, you can still earn media attention with these topics areas, particularly if you happen to be discussing Apple, Microsoft or other giants.  For the smaller enterprise, it takes a little different approach.

Re-imagine your media outreach not in terms of products and services, but industry issues, market pain and social change.

Which, coincidentally, maps back to your company, your professional reputation, and the solutions you offer, by virtue of being visible, responsive, and well-informed in the media community.

The Key Three

We’ll take at these three conversation silos, with a quick explanation of why they matter:

Issues:  Pick any industry, and there is so much going on.  If you can bring valued perspective, fresh insight or a bold opinion to a journalist covering your industry, a welcome conversation, and an opportunity to earn coverage as a thought leader, can emerge.

Market Pain:  Your marketing team, or research, is the key here.  What is the pain point in the market, and – here is the important part – what are the underlying causes – and solutions? Yes, your offering is part of that conversation, but so is much more. 

Social Change:  This is what we like to call the “epic” conversation.  It’s a very big picture look at something creating significant change across society, with you weighing from the focused perspective of your industry expertise.

If the above sounds like a lot of work, you’re right; it is.  Nothing can shortcut understanding the market, key issues and doing research to drive credible media coverage.  But the results are worth the effort.  In a world sometimes saturated with sponsored messaging, the credible media coverage with a top journalist from Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Huffington Post or others can deliver incredible benefits:  industry authority, search engine results, word-of-mouth and more.

Free Tools of the Trade

Public relations practitioners, more commonly called “earned media” professionals to distinguish themselves from the paid content marketing world, use a number of powerful, but cost-prohibitive tools, to help gather and assess this information.

But, with a bit of elbow grease, you can hack some do-it-yourself data that will help propel you into exalted Thought Leadership territory.

Here are just a sampling of tools and why you’d use them.  There are plenty more out there, so use what works for you.

Our Top Ten

Big picture trends & influencers:  BuzzSumo

Competitor social engagement:  SocialMention

Competitor key word:  SpyFu is the tool for you.

Finding media: MondoTimes is a great all-around resource.

What’s on the journalists’ minds? MuckRack lets you know.

Industry reading.  There’s an ever-evolving list of ‘best’ blogs to read.

If I could only pick two (warning, subjective opinion alert), I’d suggest

Brian Solis for insightful, forward-looking analysis and trends

PRDaily News for fun, quick info nuggets and tactical news-you-can-use

Your industry’s key issues:

The front page of your industry’s top digital read.  Or the most commented-on story.

Right-now media opps:  HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is the tool for you.


Check your website’s analytics for trends and keywords. 

Sign up for Google alerts to monitor media coverage, topics, companies and journalists. Do occasional Google searches on your industry key words to see what pops up.

Don’t forget to “Google” your own company!

Google algorithm changes:  Moz publishes this handy ever-green update of Google algorithm changes as soon as they are aware of them (handy as Google rarely announces updates)

Fast Fifteen

Want some tips on becoming a thought leader powerhouse with the digital media communications world?  Call or email us to schedule a complimentary “Fast 15” minute discussion; we’d love to help!

Contact: 1.503.298.9749

About the author:

Pam Abrahamsson is a 15 year+ veteran in earning smart media coverage and the founder of PRA Public Relations, a national agency dedicated to deliveringthought leadership success to emerging enterprises and Fortune 500.