How to Turn a Journalist ON with Digital PR

You can’t blame PRNewswire for continually finding ways to pump out this digital PR research (got it again in a newsletter this week).


Ever since I saw Lisa Buyer taking about the original research at SES New York a couple of years ago, I’ve used it in pretty much every pitch/strategy deck I’ve written or spoken to.

Essentially, it’s a simple way to articulate a few ways you might approach a journalist with a story, get the pitch picked up and watch it fly off the press outlet’s servers.

  • By adding multimedia assets to your pitch, you’re already helping the writer create an engaging piece. Whether it’s an image or infographic, or a video or white paper, you’re giving the journalist assets that add colour to whatever they are writing about. Because of the digital and social media revolution, journalists are short of time and under pressure to crank out more and more stories, so gifting them assets helps them get a head start on telling the story they want to tell based also on your commentary with the multi-media.
  • Journalists are hungry for engaging visual imagery because that’s what gets the noticed. When Bing first launched, they had done some research into visual engagement and found that the human brain can assimilate the information from an image FORTY times quicker than the written word (why do you think infographics are so successful in generating buzz?).
  • Any news outlet’s audience is time poor as well. We’ve stopped wanting to read 3,000 word articles on the web. We just want to get in and out, so if there’s a 90 second video we’ll watch it (as long as it’s not blatantly sales-y) and, more importantly (?), we will want to share it. It’s the sharing that generates the page views as a news item goes “viral”, and not just via social media either, email is still a huge driver of word-of-mouth peer-to-peer content dissemination.
  • Talking of social media, it might have escaped your notice (I hope it hasn’t though), that images and video do rather well on Facebook if they strike a chord. So when images get embedded into a press article and people share them on Facebook, the image is often the fist thing that engages the eye and the desire to want to click and find out more.
  • Don’t just hand over these assets willy-nilly (always wanted to squeeze that into a blog post) though. Make sure you label the file names for SEO. Search for “social media white paper” on Google (number 3) and Bing (number 1) and you’ll find the Social Media White Paper I wrote 4 years ago ranking very nicely because – guess what? – I labeled it “social-media-white-paper”. Search for Pioneers of Digital in Google’s image search and you see all our photos of the book and the pioneers because we’ve labeled them thus. Search for any of the individual Pioneers and you’ll find our labeled photo in the results. The other reason to label these assets properly is because if they do get emailed to someone, you want them to open that PDF don’t you? If it’s not clearly labeled and looks like some kind of dodgy, virus-ridden file, they are not going to crack it open and experience all your hard work.


Seeing the Light from Robert S. Donovan on Flickr

What gives PRNewswire’s research more legs is this doesn’t just go for regular journalists either. Once you’ve read my blogger outreach & digital PR tips on the Majestic SEO Blog, use this approach with them and your own channels and you will see an uplift in acceptance and exposure, more so than if you simply sent out a hyperbole-riddled email or press release with no images or colour.

Good luck!


P.S. If you liked this blog post, read more on personal branding, social media and digital PR and please don’t hesitate to share it!

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