Getting Your Message Out

December 18, 2012 Insurance Topics 1

Copper Red MegaphoneWhen clients ask me to get their message out they often want me to build them a media list. But a media list alone is not going to cut it anymore, especially because the definition of media has changed.

When it comes to business-to-business communication, your business should have a traditional media list that includes all the publications and other media outlets that cover your industry. It is worth the extra step to check out each publication’s media kit, which is built for selling advertising, to learn exactly who reads the publications.

Keep in mind that publication subscriptions cost money and in a budget-tight environment, you will find that many potential readers are not getting traditional media delivered to their offices anymore. Even if  they do, you don’t know how well these publications are circulated within a department. The same is true for paid electronic submissions, which limit the amount of people at a company who can access their material.
I am surprised by how many professionals still underestimate
the power of LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media.

To get your message to the right audience, you need to go further. To ensure a thorough list, ask your customers where they go to get information. Of course you should also research and include websites that provide quality information. Many publications offer free content through specialized electronic publications. Don’t assume that publications are so well-organized that sending your news release to them assures placement in the electronic media. Oftentimes, the editors of these newsletters are not the same contacts as those in traditional media.

Do not forget association publications. People read those too. I have successfully helped clients boost credibility by publishing articles for them in such publications.

I am surprised by how many professionals still underestimate the power of LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media. Researching LinkedIn groups that would be interested in your information is well worth the investment. Even if the subscribers are fewer than for established print and electronic publications, you will likely reach others who have not subscribed to those publications. The other advantage of LinkedIn is you will get immediate feedback on how interested people are in what you have to say.

Since I have clients in the workers’ compensation realm, I did the footwork to learn there are more than 200 LinkedIn groups on this subject. LinkedIn only allows membership in 50 groups, so you have to be choosy. Again, more research is needed to find out why the groups have been created and who is reading them.

You also need to include a list of top influencers in your industry. Doing research to find this out is also worth the investment. Many experts have their own LinkedIn groups or blogs that can also boost your “street cred” online.

And do not underestimate the power of Twitter. I am amazed by how many busy executives will make time to check Tweets from publications and influencers. I am even more amazed and flattered by how many organizations follow the Tweets from my blog.

Finally, a good list is organic. Keep records on what publications spur interest and are responsive. Pay attention to find the influencers you have missed before, such as those who comment a lot in groups. It is worth it to review the list and update it on a regular basis.

A public relations professional worth your company’s investment dollars will challenge you to go beyond a traditional media list. If they are content to just build you a media list without offering to dig deeper, look elsewhere.