Where Do Digital Newsletters Fit in A Complete Public Relations Strategy?

As you likely know, media coverage can bring attention to your organization and establish credibility and buzz with your customers and fans. Being interviewed in a news story, or recognized with an award or industry accolade, can drive sales and increase awareness of your brand and your story.

One trend in journalism that has emerged in the past few months is the rise in popularity of subscription-based newsletter services like Substack, TinyLetter, Patreon and Revue. Some of these services are free; others charge readers a small subscription fee that is split between the platform and the author.

These services are populated by journalists, influencers, celebrities, pundits, bloggers and other writers, and deliver custom and curated content to subscribers every morning. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, Substack has doubled its user base. At the same time, the United States lost 16,000 newsroom jobs in 2020. Simply put, there are fewer journalists working today and competition for media placements has never been fiercer.

Subscription-based newsletters may never completely fill the gap in news coverage created by recent developments in traditional media outlets, but they are increasingly a strong option for organizations that have a story to tell. Newsletters reach targeted audiences. Readers of Substack and Revue choose what news they want to read and which authors they want to follow. The readership may be smaller than traditional outlets, but it is, in many ways, more invested and savvier.

Working with newsletter authors is similar to working with traditional journalists and media outlets. They are looking for good stories to tell, trends to uncover and topics to explore.

The same rules of thumb apply in Substack and other services as when conducting public relations outreach.

Always do your homework and familiarize yourself with the author and the topics he or she covers.

Read the author’s work and comment on it. Developing personal relationships makes a difference.

Get straight to the point.

In any communication with a journalist, quickly state your story idea, why it is interesting and why it would be of value to readers.

Be distinct and ahead of everyone else.

Writers don’t want to tell stories they have already read published someplace else. Spot trends early. Highlight what distinguishes your company from its competitors and back it up with data and analytics.

Craft your content to show value to the writer.

As with traditional media outreach, targeted pitches are the name of the game. Any story idea you submit to a writer should always have a perception of value. Whenever possible, present your company as an ongoing resource. Further, if you can share or amplify coverage in a newsletter to followers or distribution lists, it makes your outreach much stronger.

So, the next time your organization is looking to earn media coverage on that new product launch or high-profile acquisition, remember to include outlets like Substack and Patreon in your outreach. Your audience is already there waiting.

Sharing our client’s good news in traditional and emerging media is at the core of our public relations services. We have strong relationships with journalists at large, metropolitan daily newspapers, industry trade publications and television and radio stations, and have placed in national media across the country. We also work with reporters and writers at digital publications and popular bloggers covering a host of topics and trends. To learn more, email Patrick.Thornton@russellherder.com.

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