#CreativePR: Get Out of the Media-pitching Mindset
This is post 3 of our 5-part #CreativePR blog series. Stay tuned for posts 4 and 5, which will look further into some of the tools, tactics, and strategies that innovative PR professionals are using today.
When pitching media and other influencers – whether on traditional or social channels – we tend to gravitate to: “How can I make my pitch stand out so it’s compelling to journalists, bloggers and other target audiences?” If we’ve done our homework, we know who those key people are and what interests them. But we also know that many of those same influencers are barraged with 50-100 pitches a day – and some of those pitches are stand-outs.
While there are many creative ways to make your message grab attention, have you ever thought about creating a ‘pull’ rather than a ‘push’ pitch so others do the work for you? In other words, you don’t pitch. You get out there with a compelling story and it takes off across social channels and other venues where your audience hangs out — including your targeted influencers. It may not exactly be viral, but you’re getting the word out to the people who count.
An out-of-the-box way to create buzz
At a recent PRSA International Conference, which was well-attended by Marketwired’s target audience – PR, marketing and communication pros – we wanted to raise awareness, pique interest and drive traffic to our booth. We knew that in addition to our target audience, many of our key influencers were also at the conference. In fact, a few participated on a panel discussion we hosted on visual storytelling.
We decided to take the panel session to a higher level by bringing it to life, moving beyond the title “Visual Storytelling Masters” to demonstrate the title. It’s one thing to talk about storytelling, but it’s another to actually show it in real time.
Deirdre Breakenridge, who helped us pull panelists together and brainstormed with us on how to create visibility, said, “We knew if we captured visually what was being said by the PR influencers on the panel, as well as what the PRSA ICON audience was discussing on Twitter, we would raise more awareness and interest, and drive conference attendance, both at the panel session and in the Marketwired booth.”
Real-time visual storytelling to share
We partnered with Ink Factory, a group of artists who do real-time illustration (“you talk, we draw, it’s awesome”). Capturing information in the moment is an important part of our communication strategy today, because we want to know if what we say and do actually resonates with people.
The first visual we used was pre-event. Sent via email to a database of our clients and other PR and MarCom pros, the illustration served as a visual tease as to what was to come and what conference attendees should expect.
During the panel session an onsite artist illustrated on a white board what people were saying while they were saying it. By capturing the important points made by the panelists and facilitator, attendees shared the visuals during the session via the hashtag #PRSAIcon. That drove people to the Marketwired booth.
An Ink Factory artist, stationed in the Marketwired booth, captured the #PRSAIcon Twitter wall as people were discussing the conference. While capturing important topics and conference discussions on his “canvas,” many people passing by stopped in to see what was going on.
The results? In addition to a standing-room-only audience at the panel discussion, the approach drove a ton of people to our booth to learn about Marketwired, and many of our target influencers and audience tweeted out the panel event. Follow-up tactics, which further leveraged the event, included using the visuals in blog posts, new releases and customer emails as well as sharing them via Twitter and Facebook.
Surrounding our participation in the PRSA International Conference, we used owned media to create shared media – and this, in turn, generated more owned media (and earned media too).
If you have industry events, think about how you can create something buzz-worthy during a panel discussion or product demo, for example. Think about who your influencers are (and they can be virtually anyone whose opinions others trust), where they congregate, and how you can tap into them to spread the word for you. Give them something to get enthusiastic about and they will share your story far and wide. What could be better PR pitching than that?