To partner, or not to partner? Social media strategies for traditional media initiatives

How many times have you weighed the pros and cons of partnering with a traditional media outlet to conduct a survey? As B2B marketers, we know the benefits and drawbacks: partnerships come with a guaranteed media placement, the added credibility of the outlet’s brand and, often, access to a publication’s subscription lists. However, partnering with a publication limits the ability to leverage the survey results with other media outlets.  Or at least it did.

Social media has changed the way we develop and implement marketing and PR programs, and in doing so, has influenced the question: “to partner, or not to partner?” Today, traditional media partnerships can provide excellent content for social media campaigns. Partnerships now present an entry point, not a barrier, to additional coverage and ultimately, awareness for your brand and/or product.

A recent study by client Hay Group (a global management consulting firm) shows how traditional media partnerships can fuel social media campaign success. 

Study: Bloomberg Group Best Companies for Leadership Study

Strategy: Partnering with an online outlet gave us the opportunity to develop a robust, proactive social media campaign to extend coverage beyond Bloomberg and drive additional traffic to Hay Group’s website. As part of that strategy, we:

  • Developed a social media press release (SMPR): We used to create a release that included video interviews with Hay Group’s consultants, pull-out data points from the study, an easy to “re-tweet” Twitter pitch, links to coverage of the study on Bloomberg, and access to other relevant resources. Be forewarned – producing an SMPR can be time-consuming, but the result is a more comprehensive and exciting way to share your information. And, it’s more conducive to sharing online via Twitter, LinkedIn, blog comments, etc. It also can be a useful marketing tool to include in email campaigns, webinars and other marketing communications.
  • Conducted targeted outreach to leadership and HR bloggers: As Kevin Briody notes in his post The Very Basics of Blogger Outreach, the first step to conducting blogger outreach is to identify the right bloggers – and get to know them. There’s a robust community of bloggers discussing management and leadership issues that we were able to engage before, during and after the Best Companies for Leadership study was released. If you’re looking for bloggers who reach your target audience, there are a number of tools that will help you identify them, including Alltop, Google Blog Search and Technorati, to name a few.
  • Initiated an awareness/engagement campaign on Twitter: As with blogger outreach, to effectively use Twitter to reach online influencers you must identify the right people and engage them. It’s critical that you’ve built your followers before you launch your social media campaign. Adam Holden-Bache provides 6 useful steps to find your B2B audience on Twitter in his post on Social Media B2B. 


Results: There are many ways to measure the impact of social media marketing, all of which should be based on a specific set of objectives, goals and tactics identified for your specific campaign. Below are a few metrics that we used to gauge the success of our campaign. Within the first month of the launch:

  • The SMPR had been viewed more than 1,800 times, cited in more than 30 blogs (including On Leadership, Leading Blog, Three Star Leadership and Great Leadership, among others) and “Tweeted” by more than 350 people (with 356,650+ combined followers)
  • The ten leadership stories that appeared in the “Best Companies for Leadership” special section on the Bloomberg were among the top five most-clicked stories on for a few weeks post-launch
  • Hay Group’s website received a boost in traffic, with more than 2,926 visits in the first 24 hours alone (a huge increase over average traffic)

There are many ways that traditional PR initiatives can be leveraged through social media. What tactics have you used?

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