Playing the digital game
These days, every publication with a digital platform is ultra-aware of how well, or not, their pieces are faring online.
The metrics are ever-evolving, too, from the traditional counts of page views and unique users to referral analysis, average time per page and many more. This is partly for the basis of reporting to higher-ups, but it’s also to aid future success: good-performing pieces will remain higher and for longer on home pages, and their winning recipe will, if possible, be mimicked in subsequent articles.
To a small but useful degree, freelancers like me and PRs like you can improve our odds here. Promoting an article – on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on TikTok, via email to your parents, whatever – might drive another 50 or 500 people to view it, with that growth potentially becoming exponential. Assume these people read the article for a good few minutes and it’s easy to picture a happy scenario… “Well,” the editor might soon think, “I’d better get that writer / holiday company in my section again given our dear readers are so clearly besotted.” And everyone lives happily ever after.
It’s important, though, not to overdo it. For instance, I’ve stopped following some travel freelancers on Twitter because alllll they ever do is post links to their pieces. Not only does this make me terribly jealous and insecure, but it’s dull.
Put it this way: if I told you every day that a different chocolate bar was great, you’d soon ignore all my recommendations. But if I only ever tip one occasionally, that plug carries more weight. My suggestion is to only promote the articles you really, really want to succeed, or that you most sincerely think are good. Sincerity is an underrated quality.
How can journalists like Richard help PRs to do their jobs better? It’s time to have your say. Lottie Gross runs a newsletter for travel writers called Talking Travel Writing and in February she is running a series about the PR side of things, educating travel writers on how the industry works, how better they can work with you – plus the things that journalists do that irritate PRs. Fill out this short survey and let rip – you can remain anonymous – then Lottie can base her sessions on your answers.
What Richard Thinks…