The line between digital marketing and public relations is blurring. As the public interest in press releases and display advertising dwindles, now is the perfect time for content marketers to step in and fill the resulting void of information. Consumers crave quality content from online publications; and more publications are looking to brands to deliver it.

At Main Path Marketing, we’ve aligned our content marketing strategies to meet this growing demand, by supplying thought leadership pieces from our clients to top publications. Not only are publishers looking for content from credible sources, but they’re also limited on resources to produce mountains of content in-house. This is where content marketers shine.

The recently published Cision 2017 State of the Media Report shares unique insight from journalists; information that content marketers will find especially valuable, as their relationships with journalists become more vital.

Here’s what the 2017 State of the Media Report teaches us about shaping content marketing for 2017 and beyond.

Facts are Everything

Cision’s report revealed that journalists are on the hunt for story ideas from credible industry experts. In an age where people are more skeptical of the media than ever, online readers value facts above all else.

In order to meet this need, there’s a new, highly sought-after role for content marketers to fill: that of the fact checker. Each article that goes out to third party websites from our clients undergoes a thorough fact checking process. This adds more time to the content marketing process, but as the report states, “Ninety-two percent of respondents said that being right is more important than being first.”

As journalists work to gain trust back from the cautious public, content marketers will need to add fact checking to their strategies, in order to add value when pitching journalists.

facts feelings

Image Credit: The Cision 2017 State of the Media Report

Hang Up the Telephone

Despite what pop lyrics may suggest, we know when that hotline bling, it can only mean one thing: a journalist won’t respond.

hotline bling

The reputation for journalists being unreceptive to phone calls isn’t a new concept, but continues to be a preference worth noting. There will be moments when you aren’t getting a response from a journalist, and the temptation to pick up the phone is high — but ultimately you could end up damaging any future relationship.

In the same way that no one looks forward to a telemarketer calling, journalists dislike being contacted via telephone. Pitching via telephone is off limits.

Pitching via social media ranked almost just as low as telephone, for journalists’ preferred method of contact. This isn’t to be confused with influencer marketing, which is an entirely different strategy in itself.

A wise content marketer will engage with journalists by sharing their content, and getting a sense of who they are and what types of content they cover through their Twitter feeds — but trying to DM a journalist is better left alone.

Exclusivity is Not the Most Important

This one probably shocked us the most. Content marketers love being able to promise the exclusivity of our hard work to a third party website. Here it is and no one else will have it!

However, according to Cision’s report, the promise of exclusivity had only a 10 percent likelihood of influencing a journalist to pursue a story.

pursue a story

Image Credit: The Cision 2017 State of the Media Report

At Main Path Marketing, we produce full thought leadership articles, which means we can offer the value of unique insight from a CEO or other representative of a company. It turns out, that fact alone won’t get the attention of every journalist.

We stressed the importance of research in our post on 4 Lessons Learned from Guest Post Outreach, but this report takes it even further, stating that 51% of journalists decide to pursue a story because the PR professional “displayed knowledge of your past work, interests and strengths.”

Yes, it’s still important to have an editorial calendar on hand to reference the content topics journalists want, but it’s also crucial to do your research on each individual journalist. What topics has this journalist covered specifically? Does this journalist usually cover virtual reality in particular, or just general business technology?

Technology is a very broad theme. Aim to break down overarching topics further, to find the perfect journalist to connect with. There are plenty of software tools out there that can assist you in the search — Muck Rack is one of our favorites. For instance, our team’s dedicated research efforts helped us narrow our focus for publishing an article on the differences between virtual reality and augmented reality. Instead of reaching out to general technology editors, we pinpointed an editor who specifically covers VR and AR, and shows a genuine interest in this topic.

Eighty three percent of journalists said PR professionals can improve by researching and understanding their media outlet. Your content marketing strategy should ideally plan for targeted publications, before even finalizing a content calendar. Do the hard work early on, by determining your targets for off-site content; so when your content is produced, it will already have a list of potential homes.

Multimedia is a Must

As content marketers, we love visuals; but with so much attention on infographics and ebooks, it’s easy to forget about including multimedia elements with simple blog posts. The power of visuals is no different when attempting to reach a journalist with an off-site placement.

“Photos and social media posts rank first and second as the most popular forms of media used,” stated the Cision report.

Providing as many multimedia assets as possible adds even more value to journalists, because you’ve created less work on their end. Even if they don’t use the images you supplied, the fact that you went the extra mile to include those assets can mean a lot. There have been countless times that we’ve been thanked by a journalist for our packaging of multimedia components.

By diving into what journalists want, content marketers can better plan the scope of each client’s strategy to not only get their clients wide exposure, but also build stronger relationships with the journalists themselves. We all share the same goal: to get valuable and factual information out there to the masses.

If you’re interested in reading more findings from this report, view The Cision 2017 State of the Media Report. To learn more about our thought leadership offering, contact us via phone or email.

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