PR pros spend a lot of time searching for a media friendly story. Reporters have an increasingly high bar and not every story, quote or insight will make the final cut.
But what happens to the stories left on the cutting room floor? Or the thought leadership pitches you sent out to a couple dozen journalists but nobody bit? What happens to projects your team is proud of, but you’d never flag for a reporter: the detailed whitepapers, that awesome award nomination you didn’t win or a stellar customer review that popped up on your client’s Yelp page?
It’s easy to push these to the side as not valuable for media, but this land of misfit stories can be a treasure trove of assets that can be reduced, reframed or repurposed for new audiences. One style of storytelling isn’t going to work for all of your client’s audiences, but you might be surprised at how widely your existing assets can expand beyond your original channel:
Repurpose your content: While there are plenty of opportunities to republish an existing piece of content on a secondary channel — think using your exec quote in a press release and a post on the corporate Twitter — repurposing an asset or story to a new audience may require some creativity. Think about your client’s ultimate intended audience. Are you targeting tech media to get in front of potential investors or trade journals because you’re desperately trying to hire engineers?
Earned media is far from the only way to target these end-audiences, so try to play matchmaker between your arsenal of content and offer information that is valuable to your key audiences. If you have a case study or positive review of your enterprise product or service, share it with prospective customers that are shopping around for a preferred vendor. If you have a proprietary data point that sheds light into a market need, offer it to your investors or analysts as a proof point. Not every piece of information is going to resonate with your audience, so it’s all about digging around for, and amplifying the ones that will.
Reduce (or expand) your length: Got a pitch that didn’t land or an award nomination that didn’t win? How ‘bout a cool stat with no context or visual that only tells half the story?
PR pros do our best to be succinct, but a two-paragraph pitch won’t fit within Twitter’s character count. If your asset is too long to be useful on another channel, identify the few pithy words or a pull-out sentence that will reel in a new audience to learn more. Alternatively, if your original content is missing key context, try asking your exec for their opinion or color commentary to pair with a key stat and weave that into a blog post or have it be the basis of your next speaking nomination.
Reframe your format: Do you have back-of-the-envelope notes that you wove into a pitch or a beautifully designed report? Once a piece of content has served its original purpose, imagine what new life it could lead in a totally different or unexpected format.
Synthesize your 45 page academic whitepaper into a 30-second TikTok video. Turn your list of stats into a beautiful infographic. Turn that hilarious zinger your exec gave in their last media interview into the theme for your next all-hands internal meeting. If you haven’t seen it, check out the best example of creativity in format that I’ve ever seen: Expensify’s video to announce its intent to go public. Talk about cross-channel!
A final note: Invite your friends from marketing. PR pros are experts at identifying pithy and relevant information for journalists, but sometimes have a blind spot when it comes to owned or paid channels. Consider your marketing team an additional asset in your arsenal that can offer new ideas, perspectives and opportunities.
Katherine Grubaugh is a vice president with Method Communications.