I have long held a fascination for Newswhip. Their Spike and Analytics solutions provide a wealth of data that can shed light on social media buzz and content performance.
But after seeing demos, and even playing around with the software, it was unclear exactly how to put Newswhip to work to support media relations. Sure, if you are a content marketing or social media jock, or work for a publication, it makes perfect sense. You can use Newswhip to explore the performance of content on social networks, spot rising topics, see how your brand and competitors are doing, etc.
Despite the imperative to get more data-driven, I was just not getting it.
That all changed last week, when I checked out a webinar hosted by their head of blogging and communications, Gabriele Boland, and Benedict Nicholson, editorial director (by the way, the Newswhip blog is a great resource, Gabriele and her team do a fantastic job – it regularly shares interesting trends and data about media, content and social).
In about 30 minutes I quickly grasped the raw power of Newswhip – and how it can turbo charge earned media efforts (as well as paid and contributed content – but I’ll get to that).
Their approach involves the use of social engagement data as a PR metric.
This idea makes sense. Other methods like advertising equivalency value and reach (or circulation or audience) seem outdated and only take you so far. Sure, it feels great to get that top tier media hit that reaches millions, and flaunt the cost to buy the same media.
But what actually happens to the article when it goes live? Who sees it, shares, likes, comments? Newswhip helps answer thesè questions.
The cool thing is, you can explore by topic. So, say that you are a software vendor that focuses on machine learning. You can see which publications rank highest for engagement in your niche.
They ran through just such a scenario (see the image) and voila! It showed that some niche tech publications like KDnuggets and Data Science Central rank higher than top tier outlets like NY Times and Business Insider for engagement on machine learning topics.
It is heady stuff for a tech PR – as niche media should be easier to crack. (Now we just need to convince the client of the coverage value – it would be easier if they had a license too; and no, Newswhip is not paying me to say this).
Granted, social media engagement is just one metric, but it seems to be an important one. After all, many get our news through the networks these days. And Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm counts engagement as an increasingly important signal.
You can also play your cards right and win on both counts: media prestige (which, let’s face it, can burnish a brand) and engagement. E.g. getting earned or paid placement in Forbes would be a great win for machine learning vendors, as the publication comes out on top.
The session covered other topics, such as how to use Newswhip to craft a meaningful narrative and become more audience-driven. They also mentioned a recently released Chrome extension that they say predicts content virality.
In summary, I came away from the webinar even more excited about Newswhip. But I wanted to learn more, and had some questions.
So I asked Gabriele if they’d entertain a follow-up interview. She said yes. Stay tuned for more. And please leave a comment with any feedback or suggestions for follow-up questions.