Next Generation Mat Releases: Steering the Conversation about Your Brand

As Donald Draper once told a client on “Mad Men,” “if you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” While a lot about advertising has changed since men like Draper ran Madison Avenue, this pearl of wisdom is more true than ever.

PR professionals today know that “the conversation” is no longer characterized exclusively by a one-sided transmission of information from newspaper, radio station and television network to the consumer. One new, successful approach to directing the dialogue about a brand or product is to start with a mat release and extend its reach from print and online media into social media, as you steer the conversation about a topic that matters to you.

A mat release is a consumer-oriented feature story that traditionally was created by PR professionals to showcase their client, and was distributed to print newspapers to provide high quality content to fill available space. Today’s next generation mat release has evolved to also garner hundreds-to-thousands of online placements on newspaper, TV and radio station websites. And social media is also crucial to the success of today’s mat release – allowing you to take your message directly to consumers and get them interacting about your story.

While traditional media remains an essential component of any brand effort, these days this should be just the launch pad. When you turn to social media, too, you are essentially sidling up to your consumers at the virtual water cooler, steering the conversation on channels consumers are tuned into all day long.

The Key to Good Content

Above all, the key to a good mat release is your story’s topic. Be sure you select a topic that has broad appeal and provides readers with information of value in their daily lives, such as tips or advice. And don’t make it all about your brand or product.

If you follow these rules, your brand will be positioned as a trusted industry expert in community newspapers and media outlets nationwide. So choose a story topic that matters to your brand and meshes with your SEO keyword strategy and social media objectives. This is your chance to influence the conversation, so make that conversation a good one where your brand can add value as a trusted expert.

But don’t stop with print and online media outlets. Leverage the fact that your brand is being spotlighted in the way you envisioned, by getting social media influencers to take note of this traditional media coverage and highlight your story to their followers.

Get Social with Your Mat Release

If you work with a comprehensive sponsored editorial content service, you can expect these professionals to not only execute a campaign that includes mat release development and distribution, but then to amplify that positive coverage on social media, targeting relevant consumer bloggers and social media influencers whose followers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram will like, share and comment on your feature story.

Whether you are looking to drive conversation around a timely event or simply to reach a targeted demographic with your brand message, this two-pronged approach — 1) mat release distribution and 2) social amplification — is an effective way to steer the discussion. Just make sure you have something interesting that readers will want to talk about!


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