SmartAsset director of public relations Mark Locastro's path from behind-the-scenes PR manager to a internal spokeperson role taught him several lessons about how to attract earned media and promote consumer engagement.

"I think whether you're a PR pro at an agency, if you're in-house, regardless of the situation, I think it's your job to be as efficient as possible as a PR pro to deliver information, to coordinate interviews to give the media the insights," Locastro says. "So, essentially give the media what they need in the fastest, most efficient manner."

He tells Simon that since "the media sphere is getting smaller," media outlets are looking to PR pros who can "bridge the gap faster to the media make the news more relevant to them, to their community and have a turnkey approach."

When it comes to turning earned media into measurable results, Locastro says that it's essential to "manage expectations with your client." While getting coverage is important, he says that it's key to focus on what results from that coverage.

Locastro tells Simon that a major factor in getting those results stems from an effective use of hyperlinks to promote consumer engagement and increase the client's brand visibility. "If your executives are quoted in the media and there's a link there," he says that in addition to "the search value of that, you're increasing the executive visibility of that person."

To get media outlets to put those links in takes more than just high-quality content. "It's commonly said that content is king," Locastro says, "but what is not also said is that distribution is queen. So, you can have the best content in the world but if you have no distribution mechanism to get the media to write about it, then then you're missing something."

Getting that distrubution, he says, is made easier if communicators focus on front loading their content with the greatest possible amount of "pitching ammunition," targeting audiences from both a national and local viewpoint.

"I think that that compels the media not only to write about the topic or the person, but to link to that source for more information. I think that's a really important thing to do."

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D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.