“You are the company you keep” is one of the first pieces of advice we get from our parents and is a universal truth when it comes to building and maintaining a favorable brand image and reputation. Whether you are an established global corporation or a series A startup, identifying the outlets that are going to provide the best opportunities to reach those audience is a critical part of any PR or brand building campaign.
With the proliferation of potential coverage opportunities from online media outlets — written coverage, podcasts, video interviews, etc. — it can be difficult to discern which ones will provide the greatest overall value. Below are five things to consider when evaluating whether an outlet is the right fit for your brand.
Check the Metrics
Before you spend any time or resources digging through a media outlet’s current and past articles, take the time to first look at the site’s metrics to see if it reaches your target audience (and if so, if they are actively looking at it with any sort of regularity). Some of these metrics include:
- Audience/Demographics: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? A misplaced piece of coverage can have the same impact on your business – none. To determine if an outlet is the right one for your story, here are some basic questions you need to ask:
- What level of readership is the outlet geared toward (mid-level managers, C-suite executives, etc.)?
- Is the content written for a more technical or business minded audience?
- How targeted is the content?
Some of the best ways to find those answers will come from within the industry, so be sure to investigate relevant forums (I.e., LinkedIn, Quora), and take advantage of their polling and survey capabilities. You should also look to see if the outlet has covered your major competitors in the past (especially those that are considered category leaders; more on this in a moment).
- Domain Authority (DA): This search engine ranking score (ranging from 0-100) is designed to predict how likely a website will rank highly on a search engine results page. The higher the ranking, the greater the overall authority. There are external factors that go into determining the DA score (i.e., the type and quality of backlinks to the site), so this is best used when comparing outlets, rather than in a vacuum (sites with a smaller DA but that are highly targeted towards your key customers can be more valuable in the long run).
- Unique Monthly Visitors (UVM): This metric looks at the recurring visitors to a site monthly. This information is incredibly valuable for assessing how many regular readers could be exposed to your brand’s messaging (whether it’s in the form of an earned media placement or an owned piece of content, such as a bylined article or op-ed).
More established outlets/publications will typically include most of this information in the Advertising section of their websites (and often in a very conveniently packaged media kit for the calendar year), but you may have to do some additional research to find those metrics on your own.
Competitor and Peer Presence
As we mentioned earlier, you should review past articles from the site to see if they have previously covered your key competitors and peers within the industry. It can serve as either a point of validation for an established publication to ensure they’re writing stories that your competitors – and eventually you – are featured in or an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and share your thought leadership with a newer outlet.
Lastly, but most certainly not least, is the social presence of the outlet. Low levels of engagement on social (both from the outlet itself and from your target audience) are a good indicator that they typically aren’t worth your time and energy. The size of a media outlet’s following on specific platforms can, and should, be a determining factor regarding whether you choose to target them. Other questions to consider:
- Does the publication or their reporters actively promote its content across the channels most relevant to your audience/customers (I.e., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)?
- How active are they on social, and how often do they promote that content?
- Will they share any posts you create in support of that content?
Publications (and the reporters who write for them) are often very eager to get the word out about their latest content to drive awareness (and ultimately ad dollars from impressions). In fact, reporters are often judged based on their online followings and how often their stories are shared, so driving traffic to their work is good business sense.
Now that you’ve identified the media most relevant to building your company’s brand, the challenge is to get them to pay attention and be receptive to your message. Check out our recent guide for outreach to priority media targets, and feel free to reach out to the 10Fold team to discuss how we can help you with the process.