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RUDE’s Practical PR Guide for Online Marketplace Startups

RUDE’s Practical PR Guide for Online Marketplace Startups

As part of Arcadier’s interview series with Edinburgh-based RUDE Communications, co-founder Eve Laird has compiled a practical guide for writing a newsworthy press release, finding influencers, and determining key metrics for your PR efforts.

RUDE was launched last October as a communications agency for the sharing economy.  When founders Eve and Elle first started the agency, they offered their services for health tech companies. When a client asked them to help with a crowdfunding campaign, they were drawn in and captivated by the world of peer-to-peer transactions.

RUDE’s Practical PR Guide for Online Marketplace Startups

RUDE Communications co-founder Eve Laird. Photo credit: RUDE Communications.

RUDE’s tips for writing a newsworthy press release to get the most coverage

It’s all about the ‘hook’ – what is your news, and how does that news excite the readerships of the media influencers you want to target with your story? RUDE has written a blog with more in-depth guidancehere, but as a topline overview, here are our 7 ideas for you to explore when crafting your newsworthy hook:

1. NEW.  Are you the ONLY… the FIRST… doing it BETTER… The more unique, new and interesting your marketplace, product or solution is, AND which solves a real unmet need for your media influencer’s readership, the more they will want to cover it.

2. BRAND YOU.  What was your personal journey to creating your sharing economy business? If your unique story is likely to resonate with your media influencers’ readerships – then ‘brand you’ can be a compelling ‘hook’ to bring your marketplace to life for the people you want to connect and engage with.

3. AWARD WINNING.  If your marketplace or product innovation has been recognized – share this with your media influencers, because it’s a positive affirmation of your achievements and the value you are providing.

4. DATA. Create qualitative or quantitative data. Hard facts validate a trend, a problem that needs solving, or the market’s readiness for your marketplace or product innovation. Distribute a survey to poll opinion or cite recently published expert material.

5. SEASON. Does your marketplace or product have any seasonal relevance? For example, if you offer a campervan rental service, you’ll know whether people hire campervans more frequently in the summer months. So think about creating a campaign that ties in with seasonal demand for your product or marketplace offering.

6. LOCAL. If your sharing platform is servicing a local market, put together a story with a strong local angle. Then, nurture relationships with some local journalists and send your story to press outlets in your area to gain exposure with a local readership.

7. TRENDING NEWS. Follow the news and look for an opportunity to contribute something relevant to a topic that’s trending. For example, is #slowfashion a trending hashtag? If your platform offers vintage dress rental, you could create a link between the conversations happening around slow fashion, and profile your marketplace with your media influencers.

RUDE’s Practical PR Guide for Online Marketplace Startups

RUDE provides a free press release template, downloadable from the RUDE Communications website.

Tips for finding and approaching influencers to increase brand awareness and engagement

The cost of PR is in the resource you choose to dedicate to creating materials and making your ‘pitch’. It’s what we call your ‘earned media’. Earned media is the coverage generated through engaging your influencers. And your influencers are the people ‘your crowd’ listens to. It’s the journalists of the newspapers and magazines they read, it’s the blogs and vlogs they follow, it’s the thought leaders your crowd respects, and it’s the high-profile personalities and celebrities whose opinion they take note of.

First let’s look at finding influencers:

We’ve said it before, but research, research, research… it can be laborious to build your influencer list, but it is worth the effort. We promise!

1. Social media is a great place to start. Most journalists and bloggers have a profile on Twitter, and on LinkedIn too.

2. Search engines are a great resource. As well as the big names, there’s also search engines for specific types of online media, for example, searching for blogs, try

3. Online influencer databases.  Buzzsumo, Journalisted, and Crystalknows are examples of searchable databases of influencers. Many charge, but most provide basic search functionality for free.

And once you’ve got that list together, you need to rank your influencers to help you choose the journalists, bloggers and commentators whose readerships are most aligned to your marketplace or sharing economy business. And you can do this by looking at 3 parameters: Reach, Relevance and Resonance. When RUDE creates a database of influencers, we usually create an Excel spreadsheet, and then attribute a score from 1 to 5 (1=highly aligned to 5=not at all aligned) for each of the 3 ranking parameters. That then allows us to reflow our database based on an aggregated score, with most aligned media influencers at the top.

And just to explain the 3 Rs a little more:

REACH. This is a quantitative look at how many followers they have on social media; the circulation of the publications they write for; the number of followers on their blog, etc.

RELEVANCE. This is a more qualitative assessment about what they are writing about, and how well it fits with your objectives. Does their narrative fit with the key messages you would like included in any coverage? If you are doing a local campaign, do they cover your local area? Are their followers the right target market for you? Would your customer avatars like the author’s content or page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter?

RESONANCE. Consolidating the information you have gained from looking at reach and relevance, you can make a judgment about the level of engagement your customer groups are likely to have with a particular influencer. Will my target customers see content from this influencer? Does this influencer write to their interests? The answers to those questions will help you determine how likely your target customers are to interact with and share the content on their channels.

RUDE’s Practical PR Guide for Online Marketplace Startups

So, you’ve selected the influencers most relevant to you, how now do you approach them?

1. Read their articles and blog posts

2. Follow them on social media, and engage with their content. “Really interesting article…” “We love this piece, because…” etc.

3. Offer to guest blog. Bloggers (and many journalists have blogs too) are always looking for high quality content. Offer to contribute content on their blog, that really adds value to their readership

4. Offer an ‘exclusive’ on your story. If there is a particularly high value influencer you have identified, you could offer them the opportunity to report on your story first. This may be a journalist writing for a leading journal, magazine or newspaper—one that is highly respected by your crowd.

Tips for measuring ROI on your PR efforts

There are several ways to do this:

1. QUANTITY AND QUALITY. How many articles, mentions, features… have you achieved from your media outreach? And what was the quality of coverage – in other words – where have you been featured? For example, you could deduce that five articles published in high quality blogs or publications highly aligned to your marketplace, is better that 10 features in lower tier more obscure titles not as relevant to your sharing economy business.

2. MEDIA IMPRESSION. Multiply the number of articles etc, from point 1 above, by the circulation figure of each magazine, newspaper, journal, blog etc you achieved coverage in to give you a media impressions total. For example, you got featured in New Scientist which has a circulation of approx. 120,000 – then you can calculate that you achieved 120,000 media impressions. Do this for all of your featured pieces, to give you an overall score.

3. MESSAGE RESONANCE. Did the key messages you want communicated about your marketplace appear in the feature about you? Looking at this as a measurement parameter will help you compare the interests of the journalists or blogger with your communications objectives for your business.

4. GOOGLE ANALYTICS. Is coverage about you driving traffic to your website? And not only that, which features, blogs or channels were responsible for driving the most traffic to your website?

5. SOCIAL MEDIA. Of course, you’ll be sharing your coverage on your social media channels, tagging in the writer, publication outlet etc, so measure:

·         New social media followers

·         New referral links

·         Increased organic website traffic, from your social media channels

·         New leads or sign-ups

Interested in finding out more about RUDE? Read the first part of the interview here.

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