Kiley Kmiec is a former music marketer at EA. He currently manages Next Impulse Media, a full-service creative and influencer marketing agency. When he isn't running award winning websites and developing world-class marketing programs focused on sports, young fatherhood and the overall male experience, Kiley enjoys surfing, happy hours and the Cubs.
SPORTSPR: When you launched Next Impulse Sports back in 2011 (originally CosbySweaters.com), you provided a fresh take on sports-related news. As the site has grown, along with its readership, how have you maintained the light-heartedness fans have grown to love while providing relevant content to stand above competitors?
KILEY KMIEC: I think the key to staying relevant with your core consumer is found within the writers that you hire. Making sure that each of your writers has a personality which resonates with the 18-35 male is the only way you can really stay true to what you initially started. If you try and force the content by catering too much to trends and what the mainstream media is pushing, you immediately lose credibility with your following. The folks reading our site are incredibly loyal and I think they appreciate us still plodding along the same path that Cosby Sweaters started.
SPR: Although most of the Next Impulse content is based on personal accounts of games, interviews and news, how often do you deal with PR reps for your athlete content? If often, or at all, what challenges do you/have you faced?
KK: I’d say we deal with PR reps for athletes a few times a month, mainly when we are launching an influencer campaign or working with a brand on certain sponsored content. In terms of the everyday news we put out, it doesn’t involve a large amount of interaction with PR reps except them pitching us on certain stories (which is a few times a day). I think the main challenge we do come across working with PR reps is that there seems to be way too many cooks in the kitchen with certain athletes, and you have to really work to make sure you have the right decision maker.
SPR: Flipping the script, PR pros are constantly pitching news to the media to either get a story or an interview. Both during and beyond Next Impulse, what practices related to media pitching has been successful? (e.g. PR pros being personable, respecting your time etc.).
KK: I think the most important aspect of a PR pitch is not coming across as condescending in your e-mail, or trying to sneak something by us. The more honest and forthright you are, the more we are willing to help out. It of course goes without saying that if you have great content, that is always the first thing we look at it. Please don’t repeatedly pitch the same story, we are fairly good at responding with a yes or no to each pitch, but if we forget to do so that doesn’t give you the green light to send 5 e-mails in a 48 hour span.
SPR: In regards to nurturing relationships with either athletes or PR pros, are there stories/topics you will choose not to discuss as to not hinder the relationship? What boundaries have you agreed on, as a publication, not to cross, if any?
KK: We have a simple motto which is we only want to focus on the positive or lighthearted aspect of culture and sports. If it shines negatively on an athlete we tend to stay as far away as possible. Family is 100% off limits.
SPR: With all of your success, especially in such a drastically evolving digital age, what tips do you have for individuals hoping to launch their own online publication?
KK: My advice would be to pick a niche, and stick with it. The landscape at the moment is so saturated, but there are tons of swimming lanes for niche websites.