So, you’ve decided to create and distribute a mat release to generate positive editorial placements on behalf of your brand or that of your client. To draw even more value out of your mat release, keep these best practices in mind before, during and after the production process.
In today’s fast-paced digital world, it’s easy to forget that print newspapers generally have long lead times for seasonal feature stories. For example, many editors begin planning their holiday season content in October and back-to-school content in early July!
To achieve maximum results, your story should be ready and available when those editors with the longest lead times are on the hunt for stories like yours. To make this happen, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of how long production will take. The mat release service you work with will likely turn copy for you within just a few days, however, your internal review process may be lengthy.
Will the mat release copy require legal review? Will multiple parties need to sign off on the content? Will a key party be on vacation during the week you need this to happen? Whether you simply want your coverage to start hitting on a certain date, or the topic you selected has a timely focus, knowing these details can help you plan accordingly.
Think about ways you can extend the shelf life of your story and get more bang for your buck. You don’t necessarily need to water down the headline and lead paragraph by removing the urgent timely element. Look into mat release services that offer you the opportunity to also run an evergreen version of the same story at no additional cost.
For example, “Great Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day,” is an effective headline and theme for a mat release from early January through February 14. However, why throw in the towel at that point? On February 15, you could still be getting coverage with, “Great Ways to Spend Date Night.” Be strategic in making your content last longer.
Find Natural Fits for Your Product
Ever try to fit a round peg in a square hole? While it can be done sometimes, it shouldn’t necessarily be attempted.
Give your messaging a natural home with a topic that makes the best sense. For example, if you are selling children’s books, consider the themes of back-to-school or holiday gifting. If you are selling dieting products, consider summer fitness and New Year’s Resolutions.
Editors turn to mat release distribution services when they are looking for straightforward, predictable content, so give them what they want and you will be successful. If you get too creative or stretch connections to their breaking point, you won’t generate the same great results as you will by opting for a topic you know will be popular with editors.
Leverage Your Pre-Existing SEO Strategy
With a good mat release distribution service, you may find your story running on hundreds of websites, so you may as well leverage your pre-existing SEO strategy. Be sure your most important keywords are included in the copy!
Of course, don’t look to mat releases to become your SEO strategy, as most online placements will run with what is called NoFollow links, in keeping with Google best practices to avoid stacking your deck with shady practices. But it makes perfect sense to include your themes and keywords that you already are using as part of your SEO strategy – since these are the topics and words that mean the most to your brand and, presumably, where you have great insights and content to share.
Pictures are Still Worth 1,000 Words
Don’t forget to include a photo alongside your content. Something eye-catching that speaks to the headline will help your story get noticed by media outlets. The more natural the look and setting, the better. Headshots, product shots and anything that looks too much like an advertisement will stand out for all the wrong reasons. It’s all about lifestyle photos that you would expect to see in a newspaper or on a media website as part of their editorial offerings.
After your story is distributed, keep up with your coverage. Check out where your story is running, highlighting those placements with larger readership. Download any exportable reports from your mat release service that you can to share with your team and your client. Make the success of your campaign known!
While a mat release is a cost-effective way to widely spread the message about your product, service or campaign, you can improve the value of your investment with good planning and effective content.
Image Credit: Mathias Rosenthal – Fotolia