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Hot Off the Press: Are You Still Using Google Alerts?

June 20, 2019

At Michael Smart’s recent workshop, “Secrets of Media Masters” in Washington D.C., I gathered with some of the top PR pros from the D.C. metro and Baltimore areas for a full day session to explore the absolute latest in media relations.

Success in “Earned Media,” while just one part of Gini Dietrich’s PESO Model (Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned media), arguably provides the most value to our clients. To outsiders, it may seem like earned media placements are more challenging to achieve, while other elements of the PESO model are attainable and work just as well. But as communications pros, we know that opportunities to reach our target audience through the news media is most desirable, if done right.

While I came away with pages and pages of notes and a full day’s worth of media relations knowledge, here are three takeaways from Michael Smart’s workshop that are cutting edge:

Google Alerts are obsolete.

So many of us in PR use Google Alerts to track earned media placements. However, these alerts are not as reliable as we all thought they were. Michael shared a number of tools, including Talkwalker, which is the tool to use if you want accurate results. Not only can Talkwalker help with tracking placements, but it can also provide insights on what our audience is talking about in relation to the topic we are pitching.

Media databases such as Cision, while still incredibly useful, are simply not enough.

Journalists have more beats to cover, which in turn means they don’t have one specific beat anymore. Have you been seeing more and more general assignment journalists? It is for this reason that Cision cannot possibly keep up with every journalist at every outlet. The solution(s)? 1.) Have a relationship with journalists at the outlets most important to you (and your clients). 2.) Read your journalists’ content! This may seem obvious, but Michael, who works with several top-tier journalists regularly, says it’s surprising how few PR pros do such a simple task.

Niche outlets have potential.

Niche outlets have the potential to offer your client more value than traditional top-tier media. Justifying this claim to your client is simple if you use the Moz toolbar. By providing a ranking from 1-100 of the domain authority of any given website, the Moz toolbar gives PR pros the power to determine the credibility of lesser known outlets. We can then explain why a placement in that outlet brings value to our client.

Traditional earned media will continue to hold its crown as the most valuable element in the PESO mix but being creative about who you reach and how you reach them is critical for success. We must challenge ourselves to think differently, learn new techniques and reinforce the idea that it is okay to stray from what we have always done and adapt to what works.

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