Catching up from holiday posts, I read an article on CMO.COM by Shev Rush of Shev Rush Public Relations about the value of paying attention to second tier PR outlets like bloggers and smaller publications. Many CEOs are reluctant to engage them since they don’t appear to offer much PR value.
Shev points out two main reasons why second tier outlets make sense. The first is that unless the publication or blog is completely off base, you will reach at least one new prospect, and second “the reporters who are covering your company’s beat today for a lower-tier outlet may one day be covering your beat at the top-tier“.
For high volume, B2B companies, I will propose a third reason why supposed second or even third tier publications may actually be more valuable than so called first tier pubs. The reason? The ability for these publications to drive website traffic and hence leads and revenue.
This is a controversial statement, especially with some PR professionals who bucket their work into the realm of awareness which is tough to measure. If you have ever been on a post product launch call with a PR agency and hear them talk about the great “share of voice” you just received from the product launch, yet there is no corresponding increase in web site traffic or lead generation, it is tough to feel good about a launch form a PR standpoint. What does it matter if everyone is mentioning you, but it drives no traffic to your site or Likes or whatever measure of engagement you use?
Want to see who makes a tactical difference from a PR standpoint? Crack open your Google Analytics application, and really get to know the top referring sites. Segment these sites down into community sites, social media, traditional media, and bloggers. Now stack rank the sites based on traffic over the past 6 months removing the community sites. It will quickly become apparent which outlets and which twitter users actually drive traffic to your site. This can then provide an invaluable ranking for both pre-launch press outreach, but also allocation of sponsorship marketing dollars. It might also reveal the top media outlets from a brand name standpoint, just don’t reach your niche B2B audience as well as some other, second tier outlets.
Of course, this is an indication of past traffic of people that know you. There is another list of potential bloggers and influencers that don’t know you, but know your competition and drive traffic for them. Locating these influencers and getting them onto your briefing lists is key.
That is the plan for bloggers, but what if the traditional media outlets drive no traffic? Do you abandon them? No – but this should provoke a discussion on the goals for these outlets. Possible goals for these outlets:
- high level awareness
- a way to reach potential partners
- third party validation for your products
- stay current with investors
- demonstrate industry momentum
These reasons, however, should not be confused with the more tactical purpose that the so-called second tier media outfits provide for website traffic.
Want to learn more? Here is an article from Shift Communications – I like it since they talk website traffic up front as a key indicator or PR success.