When working with non-traditional media sources – how do you separate the good from the bad? In PR speak, how do you qualify a good source? Traditional media metrics don’t apply.
Since our clients play in the retail, consumer goods and services space, there really are no good Technorati type sources for us to reference. Over the years, we have come up with our own checklist of how to qualify the best new media sources and blogs for our clients.
Each and every time we reach out to or respond to a new online news site or blog, they are evaluated on our specific criterion. Are they a credible, worthwhile news site/blog for our clients?
1. Subject Matter
Is primary subject matter a fit for our client? A fashion blog for a fashion story, a business blog for a business story, an eco blog for an eco pitch, etc. Although there are many blogs and news sites that cover a broader range of subjects – do they have content that makes sense for our specific client’s product or service. Is there a natural fit and mutual interest in the subject?
2. Look and Feel
Just as important as subject matter fit – does the site have an overall above the norm, aesthetic that looks good? Is there a wow factor? Is the layout easy to follow? Can we “see” our client’s story here? Would our client feel positive, neutral or disappointed by a placement here?
3. Quality Content
Is the copy well written? Does it follow basic AP Style? If no, is it well written, without being littered with obvious grammatical errors? Does the content reflect a specific POV without being overly controversial?
4. By the Numbers
How many Subscribers / Facebook Likes / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram / You Tube followers? Do they have presence on multiple channels?
Numbers don’t tell the whole story. Does this site/individual have influence? How often do they post fresh, relevant content? Do they start new discussions that others pickup on and respond to and share? Do they get reposted/repined and liked? There’s no magical formula here, this is subjective but a good indicator of credibility and influence.
We subject blogs and online news sites to more scrutiny for three main reasons:
- These opportunties can be just as time intensive and difficult to garner coverage as with traditional media. Input for output is always key. We never have all the time and budget to do it all – prioritizing is key.
- We are responsible for the brand reputation of our clients –each new site or blog requires our due diligence to qualify.
- We apply deeper level of scrutiny for blogs that request product in exchange for coverage and/or product reviews and giveaways.
Not all of these rules apply for every site or every blog, but stepping back and evaluating with thoughtful metrics has helped us to ensure that our clients are happy with the results and that we are able to deliver the right ones. Let us know if you have come up with other ways to evaluate and make sense of the new, new media landscape.