Reinventing Traditional Media Relations Strategies
Reinvent a dated media relations strategy for the digital world; tap into a underutilized resource pool
The Society for Information Management (SIM) has nearly 50 years of information technology expertise and industry knowledge under its belt, but this year it faced a media strategy roadblock. The organization’s annual SIM IT Trends Study, while long held as one of the first and most comprehensive dives into the IT industry, is now just one of several such studies in a sea of competing analysis from research institutions and other sources. And with newsrooms facing dwindling resources and budgets, attracting journalists to the association’s annual SIMposium event to discuss the results became increasingly difficult. What’s more is the study comes out just once annually in the fourth quarter, potentially leaving the association with fewer opportunities for media exposure throughout the remainder of the year. SIM needed a new and digital media relations strategy to cut through the clutter and reposition the organization as the leader in IT.
Develop a new digital outreach approach to attract more members of the media.
Rally the membership base to embrace media relations.
SIM completed its year-long study of detailed responses from over a thousand IT leaders in October. Once the report was ready for publication, Tech Image offered a select group of top-tier media a preview of the report based on their attendance at a digital media briefing. The study was previously stashed under lock and key until the annual SIMposium conference, but because of dwindling media attendance, early access to the report helped journalists to feel as though they were receiving an exclusive offer. This tactic resulted in more media coverage both before and after SIMposium.
Furthermore, while the IT Trends Study provided ample opportunity to interact with the media, the association’s large and pedigreed membership base wasn’t accessible for PR in an organized fashion. SIM needed to do the following to succeed:
- Reinvent the SIM IT Trends Study media strategy. Tech Image developed a Digital Media Briefing where the study’s lead researcher, along with a former magazine editor as a moderator, briefed the media prior to SIMposium via an interactive webinar. Journalists who attended the online press conference received a free copy of the study weeks before it was released to the public, giving them ample opportunity to review the results, conduct interviews and write multiple articles before the embargo was lifted.
- Lessen the importance of media attendance at SIMposium. Newsrooms today are much different than they were just 10 years ago. The majority of editors and reporters interested in attending the three-day IT leadership conference are from trade publications, a group with the tightest staffing and budgetary restrictions. Placing more emphasis on the Digital Media Briefing than attending SIMposium resulted in a higher penetration of news coverage.
- Rally SIM’s membership base. SIM’s greatest asset is its enormous population of IT executives as corporations around the nation. SIM needed an organized way of tapping into its membership base for interviews to extend further the association’s presence in the media throughout the year.
Tech Image secured 40 published articles for SIM in publications like Wall Street Journal, Forbes, VentureBeat, CIO Magazine, InformationWeek, Network World, FierceCIO, and Computerworld.
In total, articles featuring SIM reached more than 140 million monthly readers. Examples include:
“CIOs Spending Twice as Much Time on Business Priorities Than One Year Ago”
– The Wall Street Journal
“Women CIOs See Their Role Helping Reduce Tech Gender Gap”
– The Wall Street Journal
“SIM CIO Report: IT Leadership Hits A ‘Watershed Moment’”
“In The IT Talent Wars, Businesses Need To Sweeten The Pot”
– CIO Magazine
“Cyber Sharing Bill Shares Too Much, Critics Say”
– CIO Magazine
On top of successful media coverage, Tech Image tapped into all 36 SIM chapters nationwide, coordinating with each of the local marketing leaders to accomplish two outcomes:
- Unify the chapters via social media by sharing the association’s best and most in-depth articles with chapters. Because each group handled its own social platforms, developing an organized and personal way to send updates allowed the media relations efforts to cause a ripple from coast-to-coast.
- Identify members within each chapter who were comfortable and approved by their employer to speak with journalists. When opportunities for interviews arose, Tech Image tapped into the database of media-ready members to pitch to reporters under one condition: include SIM in the story. Members of the media soon identified SIM as an organization they could turn to in order to find a variety of experienced subject matter experts for any of their articles.
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