Everyone wants media coverage.
Positive, repetitive mainstream and niche media coverage can drive a sales windfall. Great PR also influences search engine optimization, because Google's vaunted algorithms still consider links from trusty news sources as a sign of credible, strong content. However, entrepreneurs need new thinking to nab game-changing attention.
Traditional industry coverage is great, but coverage in the Wall Street Journal, followed by a crush of site visitors and 50,000 more brand searches each month can light the lantern. Smart PR today healthily includes tweets, retweets, Facebook posts, pins, Instagram shares, Reddit rants, Tumblr mentions and other social channel sharing by customers, influencers and reporters themselves.
A big barrier to PR success, though, is budget. Agency fees can over-extend many entrepreneurs. A $150,000 annual PR budget is a common starting point.
Below are a few steps to help you score powerful influencer attention through this insider's Facebook Ads tactic. The costs? A little time and maybe $200 per month for Facebook ads.
Back to the Future
First, a quick history lesson. In late 2007, after Facebook Ads were born, my team and I noticed that, in addition to well-documented employer targeting, Facebook users' job titles were semi-secretly targetable through Facebook Ads. We learned job titles and employer drive many humans' self-identity, which is awesome for paid social targeting.
We quickly employed Facebook Ads' job title targeting to sell parkas to ski instructors, dental adhesive to orthodontists, Yellow Page signups to apprentice electricians and tons more business-to-business and business-to-consumer applications.
Then PR lightning struck in 2008 while working for Martha Stewart. We began targeting mainstream and niche reporters, segmented by job title and employer to gain media coverage. Turned out, reporters and editors proudly share career info on Facebook, like many of us.
The resulting social media/PR hybrid was a breakthrough, because now we'd target Facebook Ads to columnists, editors, bloggers, podcasters, morning show hosts, producers, paparazzi, and about 300 other media job titles. Over the years, we've earned thousands of quality links, interviews, speaking invitations, blog posts, broadcast appearances and other earned media.
Here's how to win using Facebook Ads to target media types by job title, employer and affinities: Share great content on your company Facebook page as a normal page post and link to your blog or other social content. The content must matter to target audiences.
If you haven't heard the phrase "psychographic targeting roots"--deep, personal, audience identity and behavior--I'd like to introduce you to it. We'll share two roots: media job titles and major U.S. newspapers.
1. Media job titles
Potential Reach: 740,000 People
From podcaster and television producer to business reporter and blogger, the job title bucket (left image) spans traditional and online influencers. The bucket excerpts hundreds of job titles in Facebook Ads' targeting machine.
Basic influencer targeting can turn Facebook into an inexpensive, automated PR pitching machine. Meanwhile, here's a free download that I created for media targeting, importable into Facebook PowerEditor.
2. Major newspaper employees
Potential Reach: 46,000 People
This root covers people working for major U.S. newspapers, targetable in Facebook. While not all newspaper employees are reporters or editors, we get really good at targeting those content pros when we filter by highly focused interests.
You'll also find this psychographic root in the download package above. Still, we can be more exacting. Read on.
3. Media job titles, focused interests, and sharing intent
Potential Reach: 34,000 People
This uber-focused media persona begins with the "Media Job Titles" root. Think of a software provider promoting open-source programming topics. Narrow the media targets to geeky open-source software types on Facebook.
Filter again to those who follow sharing sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy. We uncover media influencers prone to actively sharing content themselves, which is a great segment for that software company promoting hot new hacks.
Amplified Content Calendar
Now the magic. You can save PR agency fees by adding inexpensive amplification to media audiences for your planned Facebook content calendar.
For buzzworthy social posts, dial in Facebook Ads to target relevant media professionals. Add filtered-layers to clarify influencers' areas of interest to keep a lid on Facebook Ads costs. Include sharing site interests to maximize potential reach.
Budget about $200 per month and keep targeted audiences between 1,000 and 35,000 people. Measure success along earned media protocols, such as interviews, stories, likes, shares, etc.
There are dozens more psychographic media roots to tap, such as business magazine employers, niche publications, Twitter heavies, deep blogging interests and more. This tactic also works in LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and other channels.
Businesses that invest some time and a little money into social-driven PR can serve their messages directly to influencers who then spread the word to the masses.