Ask any PR person what their goals are for 2022, and I guarantee you that securing media coverage in the top business media outlets will be of the highest priority. Most of the time, they’ll call out The New York Times, give you that look and say, “ok, well that … and trade media too.”
That is exactly what PR and earned media should do for your business–get news coverage.
Public relations is all about getting your company’s brand or product story in the news cycle. And depending on what industry or vertical you work in, there are hundreds of media outlets that you’ll need to prioritize.
If you work for a consumer brand, your focus will be on lifestyle media. If you work for a SaaS or tech company, your priority will be to get coverage in B2B tech publications. Getting coverage in business media outlets will always be important for CEO and executive visibility, earnings, and other business-related trends.
Smart PR pros are taking it one step further by building their earned media plans by media type.
By segmenting the news media by business, financial, tech, lifestyle, consumer, and trade, you can create custom narratives that align specifically to each media segment. For example, if you have a news story about automation, the business news media might want to write about it through the lens of jobs and the digital workplace. For tech media, their angle might be more about using AI and robotics.
This is a smart strategy because reporters and journalists want to write about stories that are relevant. The pitch and stories need to draw them in.
At the top of the priority list is usually the business media and for good reason. Most of the top business media outlets have high readership and engagement. And who doesn’t like bragging rights when you can secure media coverage in the Times or the Wall Street Journal. But even then, it can be difficult to identify the top business media outlets after that.
Here are five tips to help you identify and prioritize the top business media outlets for your public relations strategy. And guess what, it starts with data.
Start by Analyzing Your Own Media Coverage
This should always be the first step in any analysis, whether you are looking to secure coverage in business media or not. You need to know which media outlets are covering your business, the volume of news articles published, and the context of the coverage. I am not talking about a coverage report or counting how many media hits you had last month, either.
- The volume of coverage. This is one of the easier insights to uncover because it’s just counting numbers. However, it’s important to analyze the types of stories being covered and not just the number of pieces. Understanding the difference between headline features, media mentions or exclusives is critical. This type of data can be pulled manually from Google Alerts or using a media monitoring service like Cision or Meltwater.
- Analyzing the context of your coverage. This is a more difficult analysis. It involves clustering all the business news coverage and using technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to group the coverage into relevant themes and topics. Without reading through a million news articles, the insights can show trends in your media coverage. More on that later in this post.
Analyze the Media Outlet’s Readership
After you have a good understanding of which business media outlets are writing about your company and the context of the coverage, it’s time to analyze the readership. This data point is a little misleading and many PR pros use it as impression data for measurement purposes.
There are two ways to look at the readership of business news outlets–UVMs and the size of social audiences.
Most media monitoring tools like Muck Rack or Cision have API integrations with platforms like SimilarWeb which provides UVM (unique visitors monthly) data for every website on the internet. Similar Web also provides free access to some of the data as well.
Below is a quick example of a free report that compares traffic data from Bloomberg and The New York Times. Based on this report, The New York Times (353.8M web visitors) gets 5X more web traffic than Bloomberg (76.4M web visitors).
There are a few distinctions that should be noted about this information. First, it only provides the last 3 months of data, so it’s hard to get really good historical insights. Also, this data doesn’t include “unique” visitors, just total visitors. So if one person went to Bloomberg and read 500 news articles, that would count as 500 visits.
UVMs or total visits are not synonymous with impressions. If you get media coverage on Bloomberg, it doesn’t mean that your article received 76.4M impressions. The total visit data is at the domain level and accounts for the tens of thousands of online articles already published on the site.
Directionally, UVM data is a decent indicator of media readership.
Another data point to consider is the size of the media publication’s online presence in social media. Again, it’s simple math but it’s a good indicator.
Identify the Right Business & Tech Journalists
After you have a good understanding of which business media outlets are writing about your company and the context of the coverage, it’s time to understand more about the journalists that are writing the articles. The end result of this type of analysis is a prioritized business media list.
There are a few ways to do this. The first is to use a tool like Muck Rack which provides social media data for most journalists. They also publish content that lists top journalists in different sectors. Here’s an example from 2019.
This data point is a little more difficult to come by and some would argue that journalist reach an engagement isn’t that important. In either case, it wouldn’t hurt to understand how journalists are writing their articles and whether they are sharing those stories on their social media channels.
For this post, I wanted to do a little experiment to see what type of data might be useful when looking at specific journalists and their social media content. I started by Googling the “top 25 tech and business journalists” and found several lists and reports from different vendors and agencies. I don’t think these lists weren’t built using an algorithm or math, but many of the names I recognized.
I chose the top 25 journalists picking from these lists. For reference, these are journalists from WIRED, Fortune, VentureBeat, CNBC, The Verge, Business Insider, Forbes, GeekWire, CBS Interactive, SiliconANGLE, TechCrunch, Datanami, DarkReading, and CRN.
I scraped, analyzed, clustered, and plotted all the content they were sharing and publishing across the outlets they write for and their personal social media accounts. The data equated to the following:
- 34K posts/articles (volume)
- 77K engagements (resonance)
- 1B potential impressions (reach)
The data is only useful when it’s broken down by topic. So, I clustered the content by topic and then looked at the distribution of engagements and reach.
The X-axis is the total volume. The Y-axis is resonance. I prefer to call it resonance because when a journalist writes or shares an article about a topic and it resonates with their audience, it will most likely turn into a social action, or engagement. The size of the bubble is reach and is equivalent to the audience size of every person who engaged with the content.
One thing that caught my attention was the distribution of engagements. You can see that some topics have more resonance than others, but there’s no one size fits all answer when it comes to media interest and relevancy. The data suggests that there is a high level of interest in these topics from the journalists and their audiences.
This is one of many data points to consider when trying to determine the top business media outlets to target. Journalist data is helpful because it displays a certain level of influence and topical authority.
Determine the Impact of Business News
Not every business media outlet is created equal. When trying to identify the top media outlets and business news sites, the analysis should always start with a topical segmentation. For example, The New York Times writes a lot about international business, the economy, finance, investing, the stock market, and the latest trends in business and other world issues.
Fortune may cover some of these topics, but their commentary is more about the latest trends in technology, management, personal finance, marketing, online media, research, and entrepreneurship.
A topical analysis will help you identify the news outlets that are driving impact when they cover a specific topic like AI, 5G, international business, or anything related to NFTs.
Similar to the journalist research above, one way to show the business impact of the media covering a specific topic or industry is to do s topical segmentation analysis like below.
This analysis is about 3 years old, but it features the top business news and technology pubs covering artificial intelligence. The X-axis is the total volume of news articles published. The Y-axis is resonance, a data point that shows how much the content resonates with their readership. The size of the bubble is the reach of publication with is the UVM number I talked about above.
Contextualize the Business Media Coverage
The data above is just counting numbers related to topics, stories, volume, and engagement. While these insights are important, the last step in identifying the top business media sites is to contextualize the coverage.
The data represents technology and business news coverage clustered into data visualization. The articles are clustered together based on volume, and then re-clustered into subtopics.
For example, all the articles in the cloud category feature solutions, providers, edge computing, international, and general technology. Without reading hundreds of articles, you can start to contextualize the coverage based on these groupings.
More importantly, you can start to understand the language and vernacular of how these media outlets are crafting their stories.
Q: What are the top business news outlets?
A: The top business news outlets are determined by their resonance with readers, their level of influence, and the topical authority they have in the industry. You were expecting a list huh?
Q: How do you build a business media list?
A: The first step is to do a topical analysis of the content to identify the new outlets that are driving impact. The next step is to contextualize the coverage by clustering the articles into groupings based on volume and subtopics.
Q: Why is resonance important with business media?
A: Resonance is important because it shows how much the content resonates with their readership. The more a piece of content resonates, the more likely it is to be picked up by other media outlets and shared by readers.
Q: How important is volume when analyzing the business media?
A: Volume is important because it shows how much the outlet is publishing on a specific topic. The more they publish, the more likely it is that they are driving the conversation in the industry.
Q: How do you measure topical authority with business news?
A: Topical authority is measured by how much the outlet is driving the conversation in the industry, and how that content resonates with their audiences.
Q: How important is search when analyzing business media?
A: Search is important because it shows the level of interest that people have in a specific topic. The more people are searching for a topic, the more likely it is that the outlet is covering it.