Generating earned media placements involves deep research into which outlets are appropriate for a story, the angles or themes those outlets cover, and an understanding of the best ways to reach out to individual media contacts.
All these activities become easier, faster, and more effective when organizations have the right media database at their disposal, but that means getting the go-ahead for making such an investment in the first place.
Here are four tips to help build the business case with the C-suite for a media database.
1: Know the internal audience
Just like using a media database to get a better sense of what interests a journalist, getting executive buy-in is all about creating a really tailored pitch. Draw upon the leader’s attitudes and outlook. For instance, a finance CEO might be most interested to understand how a media database could boost productivity by saving time or costs that might otherwise need to go toward paid and owned media campaigns.
A legal CEO might respond to a pitch about how forging relationships with the right influencers will change the thinking among investors or shareholders. For a sales CEO, it’s all about how a media database can lead to more earned media coverage, which in turn drives more customers to learn about and purchase the firm’s products and services.
2: Define the media database ROI
When looking to get executive buy-in, comms pros need to seek potential ROI that extends beyond their own function. For example, in an organization where hiring the right talent is difficult, an increase in media coverage could position it as the employer of choice for those with certain kinds of skills. Another company might be focused on boosting sales of a certain product — the ability to encourage media influencers to test it out and write reviews could drive more online searches for the product, which then tie to transactions on the e-commerce section of the website.
In addition to a media database, any discussion with the executive team should also include added value of monitoring tools. Being able to provide deeper analytics on the results of a particular earned media campaign could bring reassurance to the leadership team they will see regular reports that can be integrated into other key performance indicators the organization follows.
As each option is presented, be prepared to spell out the differences in ROI and how they relate to the issues that matter to the organization.
The business case for a media database is not simply a matter of asking for money, it’s about laying out a vision and strategy for corporate communications
3: Case studies
Case studies demonstrate what more experienced firms have gained through their purchase and deployment of a media database. While these should obviously be passed on to the senior leadership team, keep in mind to include links or attachments to any relevant case studies in the meeting invite, or forward on as prep materials or background reading. Create a cheat sheet or summary slide that gives a one-line synopsis of the biggest benefits other organizations achieved. Have hard copy of the full case studies ready for referencing at a later time.
Also, rather than heap a pile of case studies on executives as irrefutable proof points, weave them into the pitch, or organize them based on the organization’s urgent objectives.
Take the most compelling stats or takeaways from the case studies and develop an infographic that illustrates the power of a media database and monitoring tools. If available, use video versions of the case studies to create a collection to build into a one-off “newsletter” that gets distributed to key decision makers as part of a “thank you” for taking the time to listen. Or produce a simple video where someone in the organization talks about the takeaways from the case studies and reflects on how the organization could take the technology even further.
4: Overcome objections
When communications professionals or PR agencies conduct media training for executives, they make sure their subject matter experts are ready to contend with potentially controversial questions about areas that could damage the organization’s reputation. Thinking about these worst-case scenarios ahead of time ensures executives don’t appear flustered, or that they’re trying to hide something from journalists who are watching closely for a possible scoop.
That approach to media training actually applies very well to securing executive buy-in. One tip: Do a little role-playing before the meeting. What might they throw back as reasons not to invest in a media database, and how would you respond?
Close the deal
The business case for a media database is not simply a matter of asking for money. It’s about laying out a vision and strategy for corporate communications that accelerates the entire organization’s ability to achieve its most challenging objectives. The technology is a critical means to an even more critical end. Out of all the other stories comms pros bring forward, this could wind up being the most important pitch they’ll ever make. For an in-depth guide on How to Get Executive Buy-in for a Media Database Service, download here.