Level up PRBy Sandra Mason, AEM Director of Public Relations  —

When I started at AEM in 2016, our media relations efforts mostly focused on trade media outlets in the construction and agriculture space. After all, that’s where our members customers go to get the information they need to make decisions.

I love trade media. The content is focused. The journalists are long-tenured, they have an in-depth knowledge of their subject area, and they are incredibly passionate about the topics they cover. But they're obviously not the only type of media out there.

Over the past few years, AEM has been leveling up our PR and media relations efforts and dipping our proverbial toes into a broader swath of media outlets. This effort coincides with Goal A of AEM’s Strategic Plan - build positive perception of our industry.

You might be saying to yourself, ”I have heard there is a contraction of the mass media, and journalists are getting laid off, why would AEM attempt to reach out to those who are left?“ There are more journalists now than ever before. We just need to know where to look, and how to match up what we have to offer with their insatiable appetite for fresh content.

If you have gotten this far (thank you), you might be asking yourself, “Where can I find all these journalists to pitch XYZ about my company?” For starters, here are the buckets that media fall into:

  1. Traditional media outlets (also exist online)
  2. Trade media outlets (traditional and online)
  3. Digital only media
  4. Bloggers
  5. Social Media Influencers
  6. Celebrities (including entertainment industry thought leaders and government officials)
  7. Other companies content marketing that accepts third-party content
  8. Aggregators

What are some of the best ways to find these outlets? Simple. Ask a human. What are your co-workers reading, watching and listening to? Also, ask your customers. If you have a media monitoring service like Cision, Muck Rack, or Agility PR, you can start searching these publications. If you do not, Google is your best friend.

Now you have an extensive list of publications, what now? Ask yourself, who are your key audiences that you want to reach with your content. This includes current and potential customers, current and potential employees, investors, or even local government officials. Put all of them in Column A. In Column C, I want you to list the buckets in which media fall. In Column B, you should brainstorm what specific media your audiences are most likely to consume.

For example, the first audience you have listed are investors. Look across at column C and think what traditional media outlets they consume, trade media, digital only, etc. and list those in column B.

Once you have your list of outlets that your audiences consume, you'll rank them in order of importance to start pitching your content. Simple? Sort of, as it does take a time investment on your part to get this far. And of course, there's more to it (Including thinking about quantity vs. quality, how to get noticed, overhauling your workflow, boring to newsworthy, email pitch secrets, following up with the media and more).

But wait, now that you're at the end of this blog post, how do you find out more? Well, I’ll be presenting this information at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE Exhibitor Meeting in Chicago, Aug. 16-18. You can check out my session where I will be going in-depth about Leveling Up Your PR as well as at the round-table discussions about PR at the show. Registration is now open, and you can learn more here

If you's not attending the event, I do have an exclusive offer for you. Starting in August, all AEM member companies can schedule a one-on-one session with me where I will go over this information and help you level up the PR program at your organization. To schedule or learn more, reach out and send me an email at smason@aem.org

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