Don’t send a Press Release, send a check

Dec 17, 2020 11:38 pm


Here's how to find and partner with the media that actually boost your brand.

Welcome to the weekly Content Marketing email that gives you real, actionable advice, often from the media's point of view, to help you expand your reach, grow your audience, and sell more of whatever it is you're selling!

Hello Content Creators!

Does that sound crappy? Does it sound like we media folks just want you to "Pay to Play"?

It might, so lemme state for the record: Any GOOD media outlet, publisher, blogger, vlogger, influencer or content creator (together, "Media") worth their salt will cover ALL of the products, ideas, and technologies that serve their readership.

If not, they're doing their readers a disservice. If they are reputable, you should not have to pay for coverage on any media outlet.


(you knew there was a but coming)

All media need advertising support to exist. It's not just banner ads. Support can come in many, many forms, which I've discussed and will continue to expand upon in future newsletters.

But right now, just think big picture.

If you rely on the media to help spread the word, then you need to support the media that help spread your word.

Sounds intuitive right? Maybe you think you already do this. Keep reading.

Why are you telling me this right now?

Because many of you are likely procrastinating working on your 2021 marketing budget right now.

You're probably (hopefully) looking back on this past year's ad buys and paid marketing and trying to figure out which ones performed.

Comparing Click Thru Rates, Conversions, Engagements, etc.

Which are all valuable metrics... for the places you've already advertised.

Here's a new metric


While you're compiling your data, make a list of ALL of the media that have consistently covered your brand, product, etc.

Make a note about how long you've been sending them PR, and how long they've been covering you.

Now make a note next to each one listing how much you've advertised with those media.

My hunch is there are a lot of "media" out there that have consistently helped tell your brand story that you've never advertised with.

In other words, how long have you been abusing them as part of your marketing without paying them?

And now back to Pay to Play media

Here's why it's so important to list ALL of the media that are helping your brand: Because many are too small to have dedicated sales people.

And the ones quietly (and ethically) doing their jobs as journalists aren't walking around with their hands out.

Which means that all too often, the same big media get the ad dollars. And the media who demand advertising contracts in exchange for coverage (aka "pay to play") get the ad dollars.

Then the small, quiet ones get left with scraps. Or nothing at all.

But small and quiet doesn't mean ineffective.

Small and niche means authentic with engaged audiences.

Authentic and engaged means better results for you when they mention your brand.

Don't believe me?

Check your Google Analytics to see where your site traffic came from in the months following a major product announcement. Check for traffic from a review. Rank that based on the media outlet's audience size to get a fair metric and you'll likely find that the small, quiet ones might be where your marketing dollars are best spent.

And if you want them to stick around, support them.

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PRO TIP: Build a content ecosystem

Welcome to the section that's ONLY for newsletter subscribers! This week's Pro Tip comes from Daniel Macauley, founder of Brandwave Marketing, who personally works with some of the biggest action sports brands in the world:

"Nobody sees content and buys. It’s a fallacy to think that a big piece of content will drive immediate sales.

Research shows it takes 5-7 touch points to move people to buy, and these will be multiple types of content. So, build an ecosystem that reaches people across multiple channels in multiple ways, at multiple points in their sales journey.

You even want to create advocacy after the sale so they go and tell others, or even become brand evangelists."

I interviewed Daniel for my upcoming Brand Content Guide, and his input is brilliant...can't wait to share all of it with you!

A Recent Content Project


Every year, each Bikerumor editor drops kudos on the products and brands that made their favorite bikes and gear over the past 12 months.

You can check out my list here, and there's value in this even for non-cyclists or brands well outside the cycling industry. Read the opening and the closing sections.

The Takeaway: Getting your products in the hands of editors and influencers may not always yield awards (or even a full feature review). But it makes it possible. If we can't test your product, we can't review or praise it. So, make good products, then get your products in the hands of the media. You never know when they'll show up. (Exhibit A: Churro maker below)

Here's another tip: Host a media event (once travel returns to normal, of course...none of us want Covid). Because having our undivided attention while we use your products and get to know your brand makes it far more likely we'll produce better content about you.

Next week, I'll explain why this is the most cost-effective marketing you can do.

Cool Stuff I've Found


This week, it's about improved performance. And churros...

AMP Human PR Lotion supposedly buffers lactic acid buildup so you can workout harder. Usually, I dismiss such claims, having tried so many supplements and stuff over the years and being disappointed. But after a few really hard rides where I felt stronger during sustained top-end efforts, without the burning in my quads, the next day's fatigue told me that I really had pushed harder than I thought. Worth a try on your hardest days (or races) if you're into this kind of stuff, but definitely too expensive for just any ol' ride.

San Diablo Artisan Churro Maker is a device that, I'm not going to lie, is so unrelated to cycling that I figured I'd just see if the PR agency would actually send it. (Chelsea, I'm not sure how I got on your list, but thanks for sending). Because churros are awesome, and this thing makes it super easy. Download San Diablo's secret recipe (link in the box) and get ready for a treat!

Saris MP1 Nfinity platform adds all of the swaying, shifting motion of real, outdoor riding to your indoor training setup. It's amazing. It makes my indoor sufferfests feel more realistic, without the unnatural stiffness that comes from having your bike locked into a stationary trainer. If you've been building out your hardcore indoor cycling environment, this thing is a worthy addition.

See ya later,


Tyler Benedict

PS - Real quick, can you forward this to one friend who likes marketing? Thanks!

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*Any items, services, or products mentioned in these emails are provided solely because I think you'll like them. I don't sell this space, but some links might be affiliate links, which earns me a small commission (beer money, really) if you buy something. This helps support all the free content. Thanks!