Size Isn't Everything -- Relationships Are

Honda hit the buzz jackpot with 60 seconds of Matthew Broderick in "Ferris Bueller" mode.
The average advertiser during Super Bowl XLVI paid about $3.5 million per 30-second commercial. That averages about three cents per TV viewer. Is it worth it? I'm sure every one of those companies would tell you yes -- especially when the audience tops 100 million viewers.

It's a much different world for B2B marketers who are trying to spread the gospel of their brand. Last week's post illustrated the dangers of mass mailing your news. Instead of a big bang, HR marketers have to rely on surgical strikes. That means building relationships with writers and influential voices who care about your products and services. A media list can't be solely about press anymore: the net should include bloggers, analysts, and social media personalities.

As noted in our new white paper on social influence and media relations, look for people who have recently written an article – or blogged, tweeted and/or shared information – on a topic that relates to your news. Our SocialEars software was designed especially to help with this. Rather than get swept up in chasing social media personalities with large but general followings, we'd recommend the following tips:

1) Look for topical influence. As with the media, target online influencers who have a focused audience that cares about what you’re selling.

2) Size isn't everything. Influencers vary by industry and preference, and they don't need to be the most popular kid at camp.

3) Just because you haven’t heard of a thought leader, it doesn’t mean they lack influence. “Relationships are much more critical to influence measurement than actual network size," said Jennifer Leggio, a Forbes social media blogger, in a recent post. 

As with any relationship, you also need to contribute. This means joining in discussion groups, sharing other people's content, commenting on other people's blogs, and creating some of your own groups. It's a different approach to traditional media relations, but worth every minute of time.

The tools have changed drastically, but the core principles remain. Become a resource. Tell compelling stories that inspire influencers to share them digitally. Develop meaningful content that offers a unique perspective and share knowledge with your target audience. Keep current with industry news, blogs, Tweets, and online conversations instead of “cramming” a week before your product launch.

Media relations in the age of social media isn’t rocket science, but it takes time and effort to ensure you’re engaging the influencers that want to hear your story.

Posted by Elrond Lawrence, HRmarketer media relations

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