Getting your story the coverage it deserves means finding and targeting the right influencers to help shape it. With a media database of more than 1.6 million contacts, outlets and editorial opportunities, Cision has been rated #1 in media and influencer targeting software for mid-market, with our company, Gorkana taking the #2 spot. (thanks G2Crowd!) At Cision, we know a thing or two about targeting media and influencers and so we asked our experts for advice as to how PR pros can better target media and influencers.
Here’s what they had to say:
Target the influencers that your customers follow
Too often, brands have a go-to list of media and influencers. This list, compiled by the communications team, sometimes only includes the media and influencers that the brand would like to partner with. If the marketing professionals compiling these lists are not part of the brand’s target audience, these “targeted” lists may not be targeting the right influencers at all.
A brand’s go-to list should consist of media and influencers that the target audience follows and engages with. Communications teams must deal with the fact that these influencers may differ from the ones that they thinkthey should target.
Consider a women’s beauty brand launching a teen skincare line and as part of its communications campaign and pitching strategy, are building a targeted list of influencers. While the communications team wants to secure coverage of the products in Huffington Post, ELLE magazine and on Refinery29, the target audience for this line is not reading these publications: they are reading Teen Vogue, Seventeen and liking Instagram pictures from their favorite beauty bloggers.
Listen to your target audience to uncover the influencers they are following and the publications they are reading. Let this guide your influencer targeting strategy to build an accurate and relevant list.
Bigger doesn’t always mean better
This year has seen influencer marketing earn a larger slice of the budget but before communications teams had time to celebrate this news, sponsored posts and partnerships with influencer also came with a higher price tag. Bigger doesn’t always mean better: take social media influencers as an example. Social media followers are not always indicative of an influencer’s reach. Some social media super stars have millions of followers but a low level of engagement.
Social media platforms are taking note of this and continually updating algorithms to showcase content that is most relevant to followers. Last year, Instagram changed their once chronological feed to an algorithm-driven feed which per the social media platform, “ordered to show moments we believe you will care about most.”
These changes present an opportunity to target niche influencers: while their numbers may be smaller, if their followers are highly engaged, your content will be seen by your target audience and can build awareness of your product or service. With more than 400,000 bloggers in Cision’s database, uncovering niche influencers has never been easier. Searching by topic or beat (within the Cision database), allows you to uncover new influencers that you may have been unaware of, but are worthwhile targeting as they are covering topics related to your news.
Influencer outreach should begin well before a pitch leaves your outbox. Building relationships with influencers and the media does not mean sending a press release every few months. Relationships need to be cultivated and maintained through ongoing communication. A simple way to do this is via social media.
Reading blogs, articles and social media posts allow PR pros to get to know influencers on a more personal level and engaging them on these platforms through shares, likes and retweets can help foster a connection. When it comes time to pitch to them, they may already recognize you as an avid follower and be more receptive to a partnership proposal. Smart PR professionals also know that the influencer relationship does not end once coverage is secured for a product or service. Continue to build these influencer relationships and they will be much more likely to collaborate again in the future.
Every seasoned PR professional understands the inefficacy of the “batch and blast” approach to pitching. Yet, 80% of journalists and influencers still complain that they receive irrelevant pitches from brands. Knowing who to target is just step one; PR pros need to understand how these influencers like to be pitched and what messaging will work best for them.
Discover more about the influencer before you pitch them. Reading their latest articles and bios, as well as following their social media profiles will allow you to deliver a highly targeted and personal pitch. The personal notes section on the Cision database makes it easier for you to remember what you said to respective influencers during previous conversations and interactions. Record pitching preferences and other helpful pitching information in this section to help you with future campaigns.
If you would like to find out more about our database and targeting solutions, contact us today.