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Unlocking your content’s potential with earned media placement: A Q&A with editors

As a marketer, you’ve likely heard that a majority of B2B content created goes unused. High-quality content focused on the right audiences is king, but it doesn’t become valuable without promotion and amplification to the right audiences. With the high volume of information coming at your customers, it’s not enough to publish content on your website and hope they find it organically.

Promotion through third-party websites or trade publications should also be essential to your content marketing strategy. Not only can this build referral traffic to increase search rankings, it grants you access to influencers to establish brand credibility.

Getting content published doesn’t always entail a formal press release. Perhaps an editor could use your brand’s infographic data or an additional quote from your subject matter expert to support their story. Earned media placement is an easy way to expand your reach and build link juice (and it’s often free!).

To better understand what makes brand content worthy of publishing and relevant to their readers, we had a Q&A with Amara Rozgus, editor of Consulting-Specifying Engineer, and Leslie Langnau, managing editor of Design World. We touched on everything from their biggest pet peeves to what types of stories their readers find most compelling, offering you some considerations for crafting new content or repurposing it for a media outlet.


Below is a condensed version of the Q&A.


What’s your biggest pet peeve about the way companies handle their PR?

AR: Pitching content ideas without any background research done first. An “expert” from a company is great to be able to contact with questions, but if the expert cannot provide specific content that has a basis in solid research, specific information (e.g. performance data for a building case study) or something very technical, then it’s not worth proposing to our highly-specialized engineering audience.

LL: I agree with Amara. Plus, don’t forget to include all parts of your submission, including sidebars and especially images (with all content). It saves time if I don’t have to send a return email requesting them. Also, have hi-res images if you want consideration for print.

Our take: Content that just scratches the surface doesn’t cut it for technical outlets. They want hard data that back up claims and experts who can shed light on new industry developments. Generally speaking, it boils down to understanding the outlet’s readership and what they want. And don’t forget to include images or any supporting visual media, such as graphics and videos.


What practice(s) erode contributors’ credibility?

LL: Being late with content submissions, not knowing the subject you write about and putting too much marketing spin into the content.

AR: Pitching content ideas without any background research done first.

Our take: These suggestions form the foundation of contributors’ credibility. If nothing else, get these right.


How can contributors help make your job easier in the digital age?

AR: Consulting-Specifying Engineer has guidelines to help guide contributors. There are specific forms that walk them through each step of the process, and request each item necessary for publication. Contributors should use these online systems to pitch ideas and submit content.

Our take: Like we’ve been told since elementary school: color inside the lines. In other words, repurpose and adjust the content to follow contributor instructions (word count, image requirements, etc.)


What types of stories do you and your readers find most compelling?

LL: Informative articles that include facts and information that help our audience do their jobs better.

Our take: Write for the reader, not for you.


What advice do you have for companies when pitching content in 2017 and beyond?

AR: Think of content on all levels; multimedia is the answer for most editors now. Ensure everything has graphics, is web-friendly and is optimized for online publication.

LL: And know the magazine.

Our take: Readers engage with content differently online than in print, so it’s important to write for the medium. For the web, that means breaking up chunks of text, clickable headlines and keywords. Also, incorporate visual content wherever possible, including eye-catching images, video and graphics.

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