The Best (and Worst) Times to Send a PR Pitch

Pitching stories to the media is a critical component of any PR strategy. And while email is perhaps the primary vehicle to getting your company’s stories out, it’s oftentimes our greatest enemy. Journalists consistently cite email as their preferred method of contact, which sets you up against hundreds of other pitches, media alerts and press releases that flood their inboxes every day.

best time to send a PR pitch

What can you do to cut through the clutter and ensure your pitch is at the top of your contact’s inbox? If you’ve prepared content that’s quick to the point, relevant and targeted to the journalist, and topped off with a catchy subject line, you’re halfway there.

But before hitting send, take a quick glance at the time – the time you send a PR pitch is one of the key factors that will play into whether your email is even opened. For those who work in PR or email marketing, there are a few best practices you can follow to maximize your open rates.

  • Send pitches in the morning or early afternoon – the best time to send pitches is when the receiver is reviewing their inbox. This tends to be in the morning – many people check email just before or right at the time they arrive at work – or in the early afternoon when some people take downtime around lunch.
  • For major news, avoid Mondays and Friday afternoons – As most of us know all too well, Mondays are typically a scramble to clear out emails and tasks from the weekend or the previous week, while headspace is often occupied with planning for the remainder of the week. Friday afternoons – which arguably, create downtime for certain email recipients – are also a busy time for many others who need to meet end-of-week deadlines. Friday afternoons can be a hit or miss, but to be safe, target the middle of the work week when people are most likely to engage with their pitches.
  • Double check time zones – Of course, for marketers and PR professionals working with a global network of contacts (like we do here at March), time zone differences are another factor to consider. If you’re in the U.S. sending news to a journalist in Europe for instance, the last thing you want to do is share an email during your afternoon, which ends up hitting their inbox at their dinnertime. Make sure to know where each journalist is based before you pitch, and plan accordingly.
  • Pay attention to seasonal events – If you want your story to be noticed, avoid sharing it around certain holidays. An event like Christmas is pretty obvious time for people to go silent over email, but keep in mind the other cultural or regional events that your recipient may be experiencing, depending on who they are and where in the world they’re located. It’s not just holidays either it’s also important to be aware of other industry events that could be saturating the media at a given time. Tech companies, for instance, should steer clear of releasing news at the same time as CES, Apple’s WWDC or Google I/O, unless they have a specific tie-in.

There are a number of things we all know are vital to keeping your pitch from getting deleted: keep it tailored, personal, brief and catchy. But, what’s just as important is thinking about how to ensure your pitches are even opened in the first place, and this could simply come down to the right timing.

When you’re ready to measure the ROI of your programs, download our free ebook for the comprehensive KPIs your C-Suite wants to see.

This article originally appeared in March Communications. This article was written by Hanah Johnson from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Types of Instagram Influencers You’ve Definitely Seen Before

Influencer marketing has taken the social media industry and Instagram platform by storm. 

And for good reason, too! Did you know that influencer marketing delivers 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing? Or the fact that 94% of marketers who’ve used influencer marketing believe the tactic to be effective?

A quick search via a media monitoring dashboard shows just how popular of a topic “influencer marketing” has been in 2018 thus far – returning more than 500 hits per week:

instagram influencer

With all of its popularity, there are hundreds of types of influencers that have emerged on Instagram and capitalized on what can be an extremely lucrative platform.

Today, we’re looking at 5 types of Instagram Influencers you’ve definitely seen at least once in your feed before.

5 Types of Instagram Influencers

1. The Eternal Traveler

The eternal traveler is an influencer because they’re always somewhere exotic – filling your feed with photos of incredible destinations. They’re some of the most jealousy-inducing FOMO (fear of missing out) Instagram feeds out there.

How do they get all of those epic images, you might ask? Well, believe it or not, brands and businesses pay these vagabonds to travel the world and promote their product.

Whether you’re planning a trip or just want to live vicariously, following a few of today’s top travel influencers on Instagram can give you insight into how to show off the best angles of any destination.

2. The Entrepreneurial Guru

You know you’ve seen the entrepreneurial guru influencer if your feed is a never-ending stream of sage wisdom.

These influencers have grown a significant following from helping other businesses and entrepreneurs in their own journeys to success. Inspirational quotes, videos, new course offerings, and the latest top business tips are what you can usually expect.

Oh, and don’t forget about their profile bios! Usually something along the lines of: CEO featured in Entrepreneur, Inc., Fast Company, Forbes, Time, and More. Beyond professionally aspirational, these entrepreneurs often have insight into their industry and sometimes give us a clue into what happens at the conferences that we aren’t attending. 

3. The Fitness Expert

You know the fitness expert influencer because they’re always sporting the latest in Outdoor Voices and sharing their cutting edge workout or nutrition secrets. They’re also great for the occasional motivation as well as sharing insights into a personal life that might impact their workouts or sponsorship deals.

The fitness expert inspires us all to live our best healthy lives.

4. The Zen Master

The zen master influencer fills your Instagram feed with peaceful thoughts, best-practices for meditation, and new yoga poses for you to try, of course!

With more than 200 million people practicing yoga worldwide, the space for instagram influencers has exploded in this niche over the past several years. One influencer even claims to make roughly $25,000 per Instagram post on a regular basis.

A general rule of thumb, according to Forbes, is that an Instagram user with 100,000 followers can command $5,000 for a post made in partnership with a company or brand.

5. The Mommy Blogger

The “mommy blogger” influencer is a total boss that manages to take on a full-time job, three kids, and a side hustle all while running a blog that generates more than 100k visits per monthand a highly engaged Instagram feed with hundreds of comments on every post.

Their niche is an audience of men, women, and everyone in-between that love to follow along with fun recipes, life with kids, and experiences in the big city. Lauren’s Latest, for example, is a “pro recipe developer pumping out family-friendly food recipe plan, favorite restaurants and family milestones.” 

What’s great about mommy influencers is that they give insight into their take on the do’s-n-don’ts of parenting and offer lifestyle advice – almost as guardian parent for Instagram.

Lessons From Popular Instagram Influencers

Now that you’ve read our taxonomy of top Instagram Influencers, it’s time to put that knowledge to work.

If you’re a PR pro or brand marketer, it’s never too late to get started with an influencer strategy of your own.

If you’re inspired by the content that influencers produce and want to encourage colleagues to become brand ambassadors, we have an ebook you can download for free to help with strategies to encourage in-house content production.

And did you know that Meltwater’s Social Influencers can ensure you find influencers to co-create campaigns that will the most impact with your chosen audience?

Risky Business: How to Win at PR Against a Giant Competitor

This question comes up frequently among clients. Suppose your product outclasses a giant industry leader such as Google or Facebook in a highly visible way. Now what? How to win at PR against a giant competitor?

As Soon as You’re Finished Cheering, You Face Uncomfortable Thoughts

  • “We should shout this from the rooftops, right?”
  • “Maybe [mega vendor] will want to acquire us!”
  • “But what if we don’t want to be acquired?”
  • “What if our PR gets [Google, Facebook, Amazon, Instagram] so angry they squash us out like a gnat?”

Here’s an example (unrelated to our own accounts) that can provide some detail. Russian developer Artem Kuharenko founded NTechLab in 2015 to create Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms “as intelligent as humans and efficient as machines.” Shortly after launch, they went head to head with Google and around 100 other competitors in the University of Washington’s MegaFace Challenge. They won. So what should they do for PR?

The valuable benefits of NTechLab’s FindFace.PRO and other developing forms of AI are seemingly limitless (and more than a little scary). Already in use at a growing number of airports, facial recognition technology allows e-passport holders to cross borders more easily and safely. With an accuracy rate of more than 99%, nTechLab is eliminating the risk of travelers with fake e-passports. As the technology becomes more widely adopted, it could make traditional paper travel documents a thing of the past.

Facial recognition is a boon to retailers such as Walmart and Saks, who now use the technology to catch shoplifters in action by matching their faces against database footage and tracking suspicious customers. In an increasing number of cases, retailers are using facial recognition technology to track in-store behavior to improve the user experience as well.

Whether you like it or not as a consumer, retailers can use facial recognition to create a profile of your buying preferences, “dwell times” (how long you spend looking at certain items) and repeat purchases to help them target offers specifically to you. It gives traditional retailers a chance to excel against online shopping sites with an even more personalized experience, both in-store and out.

What This Means for PR

  • Mitigate the risks. Perhaps “less PR is more” in a situation where excellent results from a seemingly small and recent newcomer could tempt a well-funded competitor to copy or steal what you’ve got. Generally, the right time for PR is when you are within 30 days of product delivery, or can at least accept and fulfill an order within an agreed-upon date. For B2B innovation, it might be best to unveil yourself in a full implementation with a significant partner, letting their established customer base and marketing help to propel and validate your PR results.
  • Turn the negatives in your favor. For some consumers, for example, the thought of facial recognition analyzing their shopping behavior without a chance to opt out is a frightening thing. Be sure to recognize and offset fears your product may create in your communication. Emphasize the increased safety, better efficiency, better deals, and results you’ll receive. Point out the increased ability to protect a child or prevent an abduction. Single out the ways for consumers to be in the know that allow them to protect their privacy in the ways that matter to them.
  • Organic PR is a plus. For a company like nTechLabs, a hackathon or challenge is an ideal opportunity to produce natural attention that they didn’t have to chase the publications to seek. Leverage and share this kind of PR when it happens, increasing the opportunity for investors and partners to be coming to you.
  • Align instead of fight with big brands. Acknowledge the major brands for giving attention and validation to an emerging technology instead of knocking them for an inferior result. Point out the advantages you bring to the market as a small and focused team instead of a behemoth vendor. Remember that every time your name is mentioned with a brand like Facebook or Google you are garnering SEO and PR benefits as long as your technology and strategy stands up to your PR claims. Instead of fearing the supersize organizations, learn to welcome and leverage these synergistic results.
  • Enjoy the position of underdog while you can. While you shouldn’t overuse this status, remember that reporters and readers are accustomed to seeing the largest vendors being glorified so often they are primed to prefer the little-known alternative that can produce an unexpectedly better result. For example, when Google and Microsoft were locked in bitter wars to protect their territory, it was a small and little-known company that allowed the Outlook and Gmail environments to integrate and converse. It was this that got the smaller company, Cemaphore, into the New York Times and spurred investor attention that ultimately got the company acquired, without having to go up against or criticize either of the larger industry players.

Now, going up against a big competitor doesn’t have to be a suicide mission, and nTechLabs proves that you can use this position in the industry to your advantage. For a winning PR outcome, focus on the value proposition you bring to the market instead of railing about the challenge of having an unbeatable foe. And always remember to look for ways to be visible while being your best.

 

This post was previously published on this site on April 14, 2017. On Saturdays we republish posts, in case readers missed them the first time.

This article was written by Cheryl Conner from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Reports Every PR Pro Needs to Prove PR ROI

All the software in the world won’t help if you can’t extract the data, interpret it, and present it in convincing reports. Your marketing and communications department may have a data geek to manage the process. But with the right tools, PR and social media professionals can learn not only to determine what needs to be measured, but to also create professional reports that best show off business value.

Media intelligence platforms often include dashboards with data visualizations (such as graphs, heat maps, and word clouds) that you can easily export and include in your reporting. Armed with this data, you’re ready to tell a data-driven story that illustrates your performance on a monthly, quarterly, annual, and ad hoc basis to prove the communication team’s business contributions.

Time to Consider Working with Consultants?

Before diving into what your reports should include, you may want to consider making a case for outside help. Whether you’re looking to take your reporting to the next level, or just getting started with data-driven PR, a consultant who specializes in measurement and reporting can help ensure you’re extracting the most relevant information and presenting it in a way that will clearly:

  • Align to business goals
  • Account for the full ROI of your PR and social activity
  • Help you make a strong case to increase your budget

Industry-specific consultants help ensure clients are delivering boardroom-ready reports on a timely basis. Let’s face it, while keeping track of the data is invaluable for setting strategy and guiding day-to-day activity, carving out time for gathering and presenting it can be a challenge. Consultants can also develop more advanced competitive metrics, specific to various industries and business types.

Once you have identified the right KPIs to track, you’re ready to implement your reporting framework.

Reporting Frameworks: Monthly, Quarterly, Annual, and Ad Hoc

A comprehensive, insightful report is critical for making better, data-driven decisions. Don’t wait until the end of the year, when every department is asked to account for itself, to start measuring your KPIs. We’ve outlined how to best present your results at timely intervals. You’ll also find guidance on ad-hoc campaign reports as well as crisis reports, when the stakes are high and everyone’s paying attention to your every move. Here are the five reports we recommend you regularly produce, and what to  include in them:

1. Monthly Reports

Audience: Your manager (and potentially their manager too)

Overview: Determine whether you’re on the right track with numbers that are (hopefully) trending upward. If a program is surpassing expectations, this is your chance to shuffle resources and do more of what’s working. If results are less than stellar, you can make adjustments or make a case for turning a program off and trying something else (or at least keep a careful eye on it while you formulate plan B).

2. Quarterly Reports

Audience: Senior Director and/or VP of Communications, CMO (and potentially CEO)

Overview: Think of monthly reports as test scores, and quarterly ones as your report card. Here you’re not just tracking trends, but presenting and defending results. Do your KPIs demonstrate business value? An effective report will be able to account for every dollar spent and how that expenditure contributed to business goals. Certain programs will enable you to clearly tie dollars spent to revenue. For example, placing links that lead to landing pages that lead to sales. Others won’t, but you’ll still want to explain the business benefits of your results.

3. Annual Reports

Audience: CMO, CEO, Board, Investors

Overview: At the end of every fiscal year, the executive team makes decisions about next year’s budget. Your report will inform their longer-term strategy. This is your opportunity to make a case for additional tools, resources, and program spend. Or at least, set very clear expectations on what your efforts can yield given available funds. Don’t leave any doubt as to the benefits this budget will yield.

4. Campaign Reports

Audience: Same as monthly or quarterly reports, depending on campaign size.

Overview: Campaigns should kick off with a very specific goal, for example, launching a new product, entering a new market, or getting the word out on a specific promotion, event, or theme. Your report then tracks your success in achieving relevant outcomes.

5. Crisis Reports

Audience: Depending on the crisis and its trajectory, this could range from your manager to the very top.

Overview: A crisis can break a brand. It can also be an opportunity to prove your commitment to customers and community. Most importantly, you’ll want to show how PR and social helped quell the controversy, turned the conversation around, and got back to typical levels of volume and sentiment. While benchmarking will help guide you every step of the way, you’ll want to be sure to report on what’s going on at any moment. Automatically updated, real-time dashboards are critical.

Sample Metrics and Key Reporting Elements

In addition to the KPIs you identify as being critical to your PR and business goals, we’ve identified three important elements that can elevate your reporting.

Summaries

Whether you’re creating a monthly, quarterly, or annual report, you’ll want to include a clear summary of activity that indicates how your programs are trending. Here we see detailed brand and coverage summaries.

Prove PR ROI

Benchmarks

Benchmarking, especially important for quarterly and annual reporting, allows you to compare yourself to the competition as well as your own performance in previous periods. In the charts above, share of voice is benchmarked both by reach and volume.

Prove PR ROI

Competitive Intelligence

An annual report is where you want to highlight your position within the industry (for instance by message penetration) and synthesize multiple factors (for instance, volume and sentiment) to illustrate your overall media presence.

Prove PR ROI

Bringing Data-Driven Communications to Life

No one ever said it would be easy to change PR’s perception from cost-center to growth-driver through smart use of data. But by consistently tracking PR’s results, and reporting on them in a consistent manner, you’ll be on the road to building PR and social media’s reputation as a key partner in business success.

Not sure how to get to the right PR KPIs for your reports? For a deep dive into uncovering the right PR KPIs and the tools to track them, download our e-book “Everything You Need to Prove PR ROI.”

And, when you’re ready to invest in technology to help you prove PR ROI, we can help.

How to Align Your Media and Influencer Outreach Efforts for Better Results

Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular as a marketing and PR strategy. The market is estimated to be worth $2 billion in 2017 and set to reach $10 billion by 2020.

It makes sense that it falls within PR’s wheelhouse, as working with journalists shares some similarities with reaching out to influencers.

Public relations professionals are skilled at building relationships, and that’s the common thread tying media and influencer outreach strategies together. They’re both effective at getting your messages out and raising visibility.

It’s important to factor in both as you plan your messaging and outreach strategy so that you can ensure they’re supporting—and amplifying—each other.

There are cases in which journalists and bloggers can be considered social influencers. On the other hand, some influencer partnerships can be newsworthy. It’s figuring out how best to tie it all in together.

Think About the Hook and the Angle

Stephan Spencer, co-author of The Art of SEO, says that in both instances, you need a hook and an angle.

“Whether you’re reaching out to a journalist or an influencer, you need an angle – and you need to have a hook. The subject line needs to have something mysterious, intriguing, surprising or counterintuitive, but the content needs to deliver on that promise, with substance to back it up.”

Consider the Approach Before Choosing the Influencer

Benjamin Trinh, head of influencer and marketing strategy at Postmates who worked with Post Malone on a campaign which drove earned media success for the brand at Coachella, suggests thinking about how you can find ways to garner earned media coverage before you consider what influencers you want to bring on board.

“We were able to achieve the traditional goals of influencer marketing by making PR our goal and creating buzz-worthy and shareable moments, all while spending less than we normally would have for the same reach and impressions,” Trinh said.

The Mix of Tools and Messaging Matters

While some of the tools and messaging will remain the same, the mix matters. “That’s the art of it,” says Frank Strong, founder and president of Sword and the Script Media.

And he says that both require a human touch to be successful. “It’s not all about the technology,” says Strong.

How to Integrate Elements in a Combined PR and Influencer Campaign

How can you align PR and influencer campaigns? Here are some ideas:

1) Invite them to events: Perhaps you’re planning a major launch event. In addition to inviting journalists to attend, invite your influencers. If there are opportunities to share photos and video taken at the event, all the better for influencers, as they look for things to post on their social media feeds.

To read an example of how melding media outreach with influencer outreach can be successful, see this success story from freelance communications strategist Tiffany Woo.

2) Host an influencer at your facility: You know how you’d invite a journalist in for the day to meet with executives and tour your headquarters? You can use the same tactic with influencers.

Set up an exclusive experience for them. Again, the visual opportunities are key, as influencers love to share visuals on their feeds.

3) Include them in your reviews campaign: If you’ve prepared a media kit to send out to your list of targeted reporters with a product, why not send that same package to your key influencers?

While not all of them will open and share what’s inside, some may – and that can result in social media posts that can benefit your brand.

4) Incorporate influencers into your media list: Using a tool like Meltwater, you can research influencers at the same time you’re digging into media research. It’s easy to build a list that has both.

5) Content creation: Samsung’s work with YouTube sensation Casey Neistat is an example of a successful campaign that leveraged content creation.

Samsung has said they work with Neistat, not because of his status as an influencer but because he’s a creator who meshes well with their brand. This partnership has garnered articles in publications like Adweek, Fast Company and many others.

Combine Influencer Marketing with Public Relations for the Win

Combining these two elements can give your PR campaigns a boost if you align your efforts and map to the shared business goals you’re trying to achieve.

And if you’re interested in investing in a platform to support your influencer relationships, we can help.