You can do the same search check in key social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Which pages feature near the top of the list for relevant topics? Who has the most likes or followers?
What about if you look at online forums or discussion threads? Where do most of the comments come from? Who is cited by others as being an expert or authority on the topic? It’s important to keep an eye on relevant discussions online. These can help you track who has the most influence.
Make a contact list
As part of media relations, you should make a key contact list for all relevant journalists and influencers. If you use a public relations agency, they will do this for you. But it should be relatively easy to do yourself.
However, you may find this list is longer than you need. So you need to prioritise the connects. You should also to apply a ‘quality’ score to each of the contacts based on their level of influence and openness to work with you. This scoring will give you a ranking and grouping for each of the contacts.
This approach essentially follows a similar process to segmentation and targeting. Except that this time your target audience are the influencers and not consumers.
Influencer quality score to prioritise
So how do you come up with this quality score? There’s no single best way to do this but here are some ways it is commonly done.
At the simplest level you can score people higher based on how many people they reach.
If it’s a TV or radio based influencer for example, how many people watch their shows? If it’s a print based influencer, how many people read the publication? And if the journalist or influencer posts online, what are the digital data statistics that sit behind the website or social media platform?
But the quality score should also reflect the style of the influencer. And how well their style fits with your brand identity.
Do they have influence over the type of target audience you want to attract for example? What do they think about your brand or company and what it does?
How are they to deal with? Are they open-minded and easy to work with? Or do they want too much control over the content? Also, who else do they work with? Do they work with any of your competitors? You want to make sure there is no conflict of interest.
Group influencers into segments
What you’ll ideally end up with is three different groups.
The first group is your #1 focus for media relations. This will usually be a small number of influencers who have the most reach. And the best fit with your brand. Then, your #2 group might have a slightly bigger list of influencers who have some impact but less than your #1 group. And finally, you will have a #3 group which is “everyone else”.
For each of these groups, you would have a different contact and content strategy for your public relations. Your contact strategy is how, when and how often you decide to contact them. Whereas your content strategy is the content, story and materials that you share with them.