Effective media relations is crucial in a b2b inbound marketing strategy. It involves placing articles in trade publications and promoting a product or service.
Editors and marketing content creators seem to be working at cross purposes. However, they find ways to work together, to the benefit of the client.
Trade publications are always looking for well written articles that serve their readers. It not only brings new subscribers to the publication, but advertisers to the magazine as well.
When potential customers read something about a product or service that is credible – meaning the topic is well researched, thought out, and believable – it educates them. The result: it can have a very powerful impact on the reader, generating interest in the product or service discussed.
Walking the Tight Rope in Media Relations
However, bear in mind it’s a very thin line both parties must walk. In most cases, the editor does not welcome an article that is too promotional. That’s a form of advertising, sometimes called an “advertorial” and more recently referred to as “native advertising.” Publications charge for content like this no matter what the form. That’s how they make money.
On the other side of the fence, the PR professional wants to get his/her client’s article in the publication. This is referred to as “earned media.” They also want to be sure the value of the client’s products are made clear in the article. It sounds like it could be a tough act to put together, but there are both subtle and direct ways that work for both parties. Among them are the following:
Byline the article by the client
Many publications prefer this. The client becomes the expert, the “thought leader” as they say. Editors like to have thought leaders writing for them; the client likes to be viewed as a thought leader; and in the process one of their products is referenced in a tactful, subtle way.
Quote the client
This can be an effective way to brand your client as a thought leader and at the same time, promote their products or services.
Quote an expert
Recently I wrote an article for a client in a trade publication and found an independent and respected industry expert discussing and praising the clients products. There is nothing more powerful when promoting a product than to have an expert discuss its virtues.
Become the observer
Here, the article is placed under a third person’s name. This person describes a problem and explains how a product or service addressed and corrected the problem. And guess just whose product solved the problem?
Offer a case study
A case study discusses an operational problem at a school, for instance, brings in as many facts and figures as possible, and then concludes with how the situation was addressed and corrected, with the client’s products to the rescue.
Write a Q&A
This is the easiest way to turn a client into an expert and by providing powerful, educational, and credible answers, it helps brand the client, their product or service, builds loyalty and trust, and turn words into sales.
This approach can work wonders with a very critical editor and editors are always looking for new images.
Pictures of the client’s products tackling the issues being discussed in the article can be very powerful.
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