“There’s a 1 in 5 chance Nkaitole won’t reach the age of 5,” the video says. “Unsafe drinking water is one of the leading causes of death in children under 5.”
WATERisLIFE distributed the video and a news release to various media outlets. Upworthy picked it up and brought the nonprofit more traffic than it ever would have received on its own, explained Michael Pranikoff, global director of emerging media at PR Newswire, at “Demand Audience Attention NOW: Creating Your Organization’s Visual Moment of Truth,” held in Chicago.
How did WATERisLIFE catch Upworthy’s eye?
It told a compelling story, and promoted it at the right place and the right time, Pranikoff said.
In the workshop, Pranikoff explained how the media landscape is shifting. Google’s new algorithm, for example, rewards earned media. “Good SEO is good PR,” he said. And the best ways to boost your Google rank is to get as many journalists, blogs, and websites as possible to talk about you.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Create strong content.
First, it may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure every blog post, pitch, news release, etc., you create has a compelling headline. Pranikoff’s headline formula is:
Number/trigger phrase + keyword + adjective + promise = good headline
“How to write headlines that are better than bacon-covered bacon”
Second, be aware of white space. No one wants to read dense blocks of text, so break up your copy by using fewer words and more bullet points. If you’re sending a pitch or news release, put quotes in a separate section at the bottom so reporters can find them easily.
Third, add visuals. They are easier to process than text, Pranikoff said.
2. Find the right place to distribute your content.
Or, rather, don’t rely solely on your website and social media channels. Picture the universe, Pranikoff said. Your online presence makes up just one star in billions. If you want your story to take off, you need others to talk about you. In fact, your website and social media profiles will likely bring you the least amount of views, Pranikoff said.
Consider WATERisLIFE. While the nonprofit shared Nkaitole’s adventure on its website and social media sites, most of the traffic flooded in after the video went live on Upworthy.
Create an editorial calendar to get the most out of your content. Use it to not only plan when content will run, but what that content will be.
See how many ways you can repurpose a story. After you write a blog post, put the same information into an infographic. Then break out bits of information for social media, or make a Slideshare presentation. Can you host a webinar on the topic?
The more content you create around a campaign or event, the longer you’ll expose your story to the public.
So, in the words of Pranikoff, “Go forth, and create content audaciously!”