Updated: Dec 23, 2020
“The objective here isn’t to get an instant sale. For now, we’re trying to kick off a conversation. That’s where we can take the time to show value. Then, we don’t really have to sell them. They sell it to themselves.”
Back in my first-ever marketing gig about a million years ago, my immediate supervisor passed on that critical insight. It stuck with me through years of in-house marketing efforts and endless PR campaigns.
It’s been a core tenet for us since I founded our scrappy west coast PR agency that gets media coverage for tech companies. It’s something I make clear to every PR associate that joins the team: when we’re dealing with reporters, we want to start a conversation and build on that.
We eBlast the heck out of reporters, often hundreds at a time. And we get lucky that way, sometimes. But it’s the personal outreach, targeting individual reporters, finding a story angle that’s valuable to them -- and maybe, only them -- that so often leads to valuable earned media coverage.
That’s a key lesson that I’m reminded of again and again. But that’s not all we know.
We spent quite a bit of time learning and sharing lessons with PR, marketing and business professionals through conversations this year. I recommend checking out all of them in our PR podcast or (if you prefer to see faces, our PR vlogcast).
To give you a taste, here’s a quick roundup of our conversations and articles that have gotten the most views or engagement.
Mind Meld PR’s top conversations about public relations & marketing in 2020
How to have better conversations, for PR professionals or anyone else. The gift of gab doesn’t come naturally to many people. That said, it’s a skill that can be learned. And boy, is it useful for PR -- and also, for founders doing pitches, sales reps, marketers and many others. This was a fun one.
How to get reporters to tell your story. We actually did a whole series of these, but our kick-off with Farhan Mohamed from the Daily Hive was super-fun, filled with practical tips like, “should you put an emoji in your subject line?” (Answer: probably).
How to be a thought leader. This is a biiiig topic. Advertorials have been around for years. But this phenomenon of founders and top executives sharing actionable advice, often gleaned through harrowing stories of failure and redemption -- well, that’s more recent. Probably, the biggest tip around this is something my math teacher used to say: “show your work.” Or, as communications professionals say it, “show, don’t tell.”
How to build effective media relations. This conversation (with the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit, Canada’s foremost media outlet for covering the tech scene) was mostly around process. As in, building out processes for professional, persistent outreach to reporters that don’t just wind up stressing out the object of your PR pitch. We also covered the difference between earned media and sponsored content, often a popular topic for those kicking the tires on hiring a PR pro.
Digital marketing strategies that actually work. Public relations works best when it's aligned with your overall marketing strategy and tactics. Some great ideas here around how to set marketing goals, how to adapt and re-use talking points between your PR and marketing collateral and how to run a data-driven marketing campaign (Spoiler alert: A/B test, a lot).
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