Pitching Social Content

Don’t forget to feed the content shark. He gets hungry.

In the swirling storm of social media its popular to frown on the old-fashioned notion of pitching “traditional” media.

How many times have you been told that media relations is dead?

Well, it isn’t.  In fact, it’s importance may be on the verge of a major upswing.

First, can we please dispel the term “traditional media”?  I’d argue that there’s no such thing as “traditional” media anymore.  Even old-school publications like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have robust online offerings.  The New York Times has a digital and social strategy that is down-right cutting edge.

Why is media relations back?  Content.

As brands flocked to social media – opening Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube channels and all the rest – they quickly realized they need a content strategy.  Social channels are like hungry sharks – constantly needing to be fed.  Their food is content.  Creating good content is expensive and while social channels open up brands to HUGE audiences there are two daunting challenges in getting people to engage with brand content:

They are:

1. Brands are not natural publishers of compelling content.  Often brand content feels too self-serving or like an extension of a TV commercial.  This kind of content doesn’t ignite engagement or get people sharing it.

2. Social channels have become crowded with brand content.  If you spend several thousand dollars for a video or an infographic will you be satisfied with an audience of 1,000 or 2,000?  Probably not.  But depending on the size of a brands owned channels that may be all they get by sharing the content on their social channels.

Let’s talk about challenge number two.  The key to getting more engagement?  Syndication.

This can mean paid syndication – using Facebook or Twitter advertising or working with OutBrain and other paid content syndicators.  But a real opportunity is working with the media.

Pitching the media the brand content just as you would pitch a story idea.

Done right, brand content can be used by media as part of their coverage.  Media companies will use your infographic.  They will embed your video on their website.  They will promote your mobile or Facebook application.  Media companies will partner with brands for live events.

Media companies need more social and interactive content.  They have social channels to fill.  They have the hungry sharks circling as well.

There are dozens of ways to creatively work with media companies using brand content as the hook.  Of course, the content needs to be topical.  It needs to be relevant.  And it cannot be an advertisement.

Want to get more eyeballs and engagement on your content?  Then start pitching it.

Pitching stories to the media will continue, but now you can also pitch content.  And what’s better for a media company than a great story with a lot of compelling content as well?


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5 Responses to “Pitching Social Content”

  1. Reblogged this on NewMediaPSA.

  2. I agree completely with this article. We have been using SEO consultants and have had our IT department re-do our website, but nothing works as well as custom content and interaction. Our strategy relies much more on interaction and value creation rather than selling and straight call to action posts.

  3. George – is it fair to say that this is simply the newest incarnation of what we used to call a “byline article” or am I missing the point?

  4. Hi Eric:
    I think there are similarities, but also big differences. Bylines are a content in and of themselves and PR people are still, in the end, pitching “a story idea.” Social content can be incorporated into other content or standalone. Social content can also be used outside of the “official” channels. Reporters can tweet a link to it or post it on a Facebook page or personal blog. The content can be used outside of coverage. Another similarity would be like pitching a survey – only now the survey can be an info graphic, video or an application.


  1. Lindsay Olson » How to Get Great PR Even When You’re in Stealth Mode - December 11, 2012

    […] non-news content. Content is king and even pitchable these days. Create and build a bank of quality content by interviewing other people (experts, […]

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