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Pitching content to the media (also known as digital public relations) is an excellent way to build authoritative links and brand authority. But competition out there is rough, and journalists are looking for the best, most relevant content in their inboxes. So how can you create something writers will be excited to publish? Consider these three qualities.
Related: Why Your Marketing Team Should Be Journalists
1. Data-focused content
Unsurprisingly, for news sources to want to publish your content, it often has to be newsworthy. But it’s nearly impossible for brands to be “breaking” news on a consistent basis, making the timeliness factor tough to achieve.
However, creating your own studies, surveys and research means that you’re essentially creating the news and can offer something original and interesting to publishers. Take, for example, a project my digital PR firm, Fractl, created for Porch.com about home maintenance costs that was featured in the Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, Realtor.com and more.
We used a combination of Porch’s internal data about the average costs of various home maintenance activities, and then we surveyed homeowners to find out how many times a year they performed those tasks. That meant we could estimate the costliest home improvement tasks overall for homeowners — a new perspective that caught the attention of writers.
To come up with concepts like this for yourself, consider:
- Do you have internal data you can make public that would be interesting or useful to audiences?
- Do you have questions about your industry that you can answer by collecting and analyzing data?
- Can you survey your customers or clients to unveil new insights?
Examining your own curiosities and your audience’s curiosities about your work and industry can unearth potentially compelling data-focused content ideas for your brand.
Related: The How-To: Harnessing the Power of Public Relations
2. Emotional content
Content devoid of emotion is devoid of human connection or relevance. Can you think of something you care about that has no emotional component?
That’s why creating emotional content is a key strategy when trying to get the attention of publishers. You might be thinking, “Wait, you just mentioned a project about home improvement; how is that emotional?”
While on the surface level home renovations might not be the sexiest topic out there, when you think about it from an individual’s perspective, it can be highly emotional. It involves the overall cost of maintaining a house, which ties to the pride that comes with taking care of a family, the anxiety that comes with financial planning and more.
When coming up with content ideas or actually creating them, ask yourself these questions to help consciously connect you to the emotional heart of the data:
- What is at stake here? Or, why do people care about this topic?
- How can people use this information to inform, entertain or otherwise influence their lives?
- What challenges do people face regarding this topic?
Are you shining a light on these problems, solving them, or addressing them somehow? When emotion is clearly represented in your project, it’s more likely to resonate with writers and readers alike.
Related: How to Create Emotional Content That Engages and Resonates With Your Audience
3. Tangential content
This is the only quality with a condition attached to it. It’s not 100 percent necessary to create tangential content when trying to get media coverage. In my previous Porch example, that content is quite topical and related to the brand, proving it is possible (but not something that can often be replicated regularly).
Tangential content helps a significant amount of the time, especially when your primary goals are link building and brand awareness.
Unlike topical, very on-brand content, tangential content zooms out a bit more to address other aspects of your industry that aren’t necessarily tied to your product or service offering.
There are multiple benefits to this strategy, including appealing to a wider, more general audience (which is great for top-of-the-funnel awareness) and showing potential customers and clients you care about the big picture of your industry, not just making sales.
A tangential project we created for Porch analyzed U.S. Census data to explore how neighborhood names correlated with property values (and earned coverage on CNBC).
Sure, neighborhood names don’t exactly tie to home improvement, but anyone interested in which neighborhoods have high value are probably interested in buying a home eventually. Plus, it’s just generally intriguing to find out that neighborhood names with “Island” in them are the most valuable on average (and it’s fun to see if your neighborhood name appears on the list).
Need tips on how to think more tangentially? Try:
- Taking a specific topic and practicing zooming out — and also thinking laterally. For example, you could take home improvement and zoom out to home, and then you can think of related topics or subtopics in the home category, like cooking and family.
- Don’t just look at what your competitors are doing, but also what brands that complement your products or services are doing. For example, a home improvement site could look at what a home furnishing site publishes.
- Type industry keywords into tools like BuzzSumo to see what’s getting a ton of engagement in your niche.
It can be scary to deviate a bit from your core branding, and you can’t venture off too far from being relevant to your company, but finding that sweet spot can mean massive benefits.
If you’re struggling to create content that writers decide to cover, try focusing on these three content characteristics. This strategy has worked wonders for us, and with the right digital PR strategy, you can create content on an ongoing basis that elevates your organic traffic and growth.