Are you a listening business? Because great PR starts with listening...
Most business owners could deliver a perfect elevator pitch half asleep. That’s great, but getting news coverage is more about listening than talking and here is why.
Conversation is a two-way event and PR is about creating great relationships with your audiences. Most are customers and potential customers, others are influencers and commentators and still others are the wider public. You can’t do this without developing a dialogue or conversation with those audiences, so listen to what they say before you respond. Without listening you won’t be able to give a meaningful response and the dialogue will break down. To get great coverage therefore, you need first to listen to what is going on and being said around you, only then can you say something that makes you listenable in turn or newsworthy. To get coverage you have to become a listening business.
Three types of listening are key.
1. The news agenda.
The news agenda is simply what is making headlines right now in your sector. It shifts and changes all the time. Trends emerge and die, memes are constantly being invented, and shocking and ground breaking events happen without notice. A listening business is aware of what is newsworthy already in their sector. You make yourself newsworthy by connecting your experience to what is already on the news agenda. Does your experience confirm refute or shed new light on current trends? What impact is the new technology having on your business? What predictions can you make about how current trends will pan out? All these observations are newsworthy and you get them from knowing what is on the news agenda.
Each sector has leading publications, bloggers and subject matter experts. First, identify who they are. A quick google search of top 10 bloggers, or top 10 publications, or top 10 influencers on any subject will reveal who you should read, follow and engage with to identify what is on the news agenda. When it’s time to write a press release, you don’t feel like a Martian who’s just landed on planet Earth. You already know what the issues are and how you relate to them.
2. Social listening.
What conversations about your sector are going on the social platforms you use? Hashtags are a great way to listen socially. Searching twitter using the relevant hashtags throws up everything that’s being said on your subject of interest. As you read, you will find ideas bubbling up that give you news ideas. Again, writing your press release becomes so much easier.
3. Influencers and the Rock Stars of your sector.
Influencers have huge followings because what they say and publish is respected. Start by identifying who these key people are in your sector. Quoting them, sharing their viewpoint, commenting on their viewpoint makes you relevant to your sector. Journalists covering your field are more open to your comment because you’re starting from a base of acknowledged authority and relevance. Influencers are a great gateway to newsworthiness and making your ideas more noticeable.
Getting great coverage starts with you listening to what is going on around you, then connecting your news to it.
Written By: Tetteh Kofi
Brand Ambassador for JournoLink, Tet is the voice of the JournoLink brand, connecting us with our businesses through events, webinars and social media.