10.17.2012 | Melissa Cafiero
Keeping abreast of PR industry strategies and tactics is important to ensure that you’re continuing to innovate and provide fresh ideas to clients. Recently I read about interesting new ways to pitch media in the article, “5 creative PR pitches that caught reporters’ attention.”
The post included a number of ideas but one really caught my attention: pitching via pay-per-click ads on websites such as LinkedIn. Originally highlighted by online marketing company aimClear in their post, “Media Relations in the Social Age: Pitching Reporters Via LinkedIn PPC,” the idea is to target niche audiences for specific pitches. LinkedIn provides a number of demographic options for serving targeted ads. (See our recent post, “Best Practices for Company Pages on LinkedIn,” for details.)
As an example, let’s say you’re writing an energy efficiency-focused pitch and you want to target energy and business reporters at top-tier publications. You draft your pitch first and then you can select pitch/advertising targets on LinkedIn. On LinkedIn, you can select targets by title (energy reporter, green tech reporter, business reporter, etc.), by outlet (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.) and any other attributes you think are important. Then, only reporters at those specific publications with those specific titles will see your ad.
aimClear noted some of the pros of this approach, as well as the cons, including:
- Pro: Gauge interest – Reporters can indicate their interest by actually clicking on the ad, which can redirect to supporting materials.
- Pro: Hone pitching skills – Copy can be limited to 75 characters, so you need to be concise.
- Pro: Less disruptive way of pitching – Your target will only see the ad if they’re using that social outlet, which usually happens when they have some free time and aren’t working against a deadline. They might even be browsing for a story idea.
- Con: Lack of response – You won’t be able to know whether the reporter saw your ad or not unless you secure a click or they contact you.
- Con: Cost (~$3 per click) – While it’s fairly inexpensive if you’re micro-targeting reporters, and only paying per click, it still costs more than outreaching via email.
- Con: Questionable method of pitching – Pitching via advertising could have a negative connotation, so it’s important to do it selectively.
After thinking about this idea for a few days, and chatting with the team at Communiqué PR, I came up with additional pros and cons:
- Pro: Provide comprehensive supporting material – When the reporter clicks on the ad, you could send them to a specific webpage with supporting material that builds on your story and provides a comprehensive package for the reporter. This could include graphics, video or other content that creates a compelling story.
- Pro: Target the right people – With the opportunity target such a specific group of people, you could enhance your pitching outside of your traditional media list. With this method, you might even find a new reporter covering your company/client if they respond to your ad.
- Con: Ad could be overlooked – There is a lot of noise on social networks. Many people identify the advertising locations on the pages and tend to glance over them. The flip side is that if it’s not seen and not clicked on, then you don’t pay. But you may have wasted valuable time on an ad that didn’t have any ROI.
- Con: Lack of credibility – Internet advertising has a bad reputation among consumers for not being credible. This sentiment could carry over to reporters as well. Some reporters trust pitches from specific sources, so an ad may not meet their bar.
- Con: Doesn’t feel customized – If one reporter is seeing your ad, he or she may think a thousand other reporters are seeing it, too. Exclusivity remains a top incentive for influencers. Plus, reporters like having pitches customized for their outlet and readers. Ad copy contains the same text regardless of your target.
Have you tried this method of pitching or would you consider it? Share your thoughts with us below!