June 25, 2019
For any agency creating marketing strategies for a large portfolio of clients, it’s likely that the brands you work with don’t just market their products or services nationally, but to a number of countries. Yet, due to the key stakeholders that you’re likely to interact with, you’re likely to be often tasked with creating content and SEO masterplans for that one country they’re responsible for, despite the brand operating internationally.
Although your main aims and objectives may require a strong UK focus to hit targets, you shouldn’t disregard the rest of the world when it comes to securing results. This especially applies to PR – and here’s why.
Take Ofcom’s 2018 News Consumption Report, for example. It shows that even the majority (85%) of people in the UK are interested in foreign and international news. It also shows how weekly American news magazine Time came out on top for international news consumption for magazine-type media amongst British adults. Additionally, the BBC and LBC have been labelled the top two organisations for international news, which further supports reasons to consider content campaigns with an international focus.
According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report, traditional UK and regional media publications are under huge threat as they face new competition from a number of American-born media brands. BuzzFeed News has consolidated its position with strong political coverage aimed at millennials. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post continues to build audiences in the UK, with the range of its coverage and strong solutions-based journalism intended to target everybody, everywhere.
Not only does this open up the opportunity to target thousands of more news sites across the globe (therefore increasing coverage and success), if you start to create more ‘global-friendly’ content, it encourages a raft of new concepts that enable you to encompass wider markets, demographics and cultures. This way, you can also educate clients that coverage secured doesn’t just need to come from one country alone.
The best thing about targeting international media is that fundamental outreach tactics more or less remain the same – you just need to be a bit more considerate with your approach. To help get this right, below we share some of our top techniques for perfecting a wider-market outreach strategy.
One trap that PR professionals can often find themselves caught up in is that an idea is too restrictive based on an original concept or that it is derived from a restrictive brief. It’s our job to push back and create ideas guaranteed to capture a lot of people’s interest, rather than one niche group of people.
This means that content themes need to consider the end user and need to be kept human. A recent opinion article from international communications consultant Mike Sergeant discusses why human stories are the ones that create the most ‘cut-through’ and – without them – there’s not much point in trying. Essentially, the content we create needs to be relatable or include a topic that is either widely talked or known about (or both). Take a look at our recent campaign ‘How Will The World End’ which achieved coverage and links internationally. The interactive report uses worldwide data from a number of authoritative sources to create global interest.
The chances are, if you’re a UK-based agency, you already have a good understanding of the best times to launch campaigns to your trusted journalist contacts, but things get a bit more complex when contacting people overseas. Getting to grips with time differences is one thing, but knowing the best time to reach out to individual key influencers in other countries is another. Although it’s almost impossible to know the best times to contact every reporter everywhere, it’s crucial to get a good idea based on the people you know you’re going to be contacting ahead of your launch date.
Pre-outreach is key to this. Choose a good selection of journalists/ editors at some of the top tier publications in each country you’d love the content to be featured in. Ask them about their specific requirements and this will give you a good idea as to when you need to schedule your content to go out to them. For your wider contact list, do some desk research to see if any articles have been published with previous top tips on the best times for outreach.
At the campaign concept ideation stage, always find out what information your client has that includes multi-country data. For example, if you’re looking to use a client’s own data to identify the increase in demand for a specific product or service, how many countries do they have this data for? Does any of the data for a specific country stand out and surprise you?
Such data, especially when comparing it to your core findings, immediately creates the opportunity to target the media in that region. The same goes for research that’s only possible to get through third-party sources and desk research. Your budget may only allow you to run a survey or conduct research within a smaller audience, but there may be a similar data-set available that touches on similar themes and subjects that will allow you to compare your own findings against.
For example, our eSports champions campaign used country-specific data that extrapolated numbers to predict that China would become the highest-earning country of the competitive sport in the years ahead, and which players would take the title. The PR headline that read ‘China to become leading eSports nation by 2019’ was featured in The Drum after contacting the publication’s Asia Pacific correspondent with the tailored content and was also featured in multiple European gaming news sites due to the countries featured in the data.
When communicating international campaign results back to clients, it’s important to consider a number of metrics as measures of success. This not only includes metrics such as page/domain authority and trust and citation flow, but also the impact on rankings and traffic and – most importantly – relevancy.
Our senior SEO lead Sam Raife comments:
“A link with high authority is a link with high authority, no matter what country it comes from. The key is relevance; as long as the news outlet that is covering the story that includes your link is using your asset in a relevant way (ie normally using it to prove a point or as the point of reference to the data), then the link should will help build authority to the site.”
When it comes to working with international publications, aim to have detailed conversations with as many publications as possible so you can to get a good understanding of when is best to send them what content, in what form and how. Not every tactic works for every journalist, especially when dealing with multiple countries.
For more advice on reaching out to influencers, visit our blog on Top Tips on Approaching Journalists in 2019
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