THE (NOT SO) TOP SECRET TECH PR MESSAGING STRATEGIES
Have you synched your messaging strategy to your growth cycle?
First: A Little Secret from Inside the Tech PR Agency World
I'm going to let you in on a little secret; if all the top tech pr agencies in the world were to get together and had just three minutes to all agree on something; it could be done.
There is one conversation point everyone would be in complete alignment on: the universal experience of an unknown, unproven tech startup wanting immediate coverage in the most exclusive publications: Wall Street Journal. Wired. TechCrunch. Huffington Post, Venturebeat. Immediately. We'd agree we'd all had this client; and then we'd spend the remaining two minutes of the call arguing about the value of press releases. A topic for another day, however.
Public Relations: Look beyond the rolodex
Getting back to our startup client and their wish list, PR folks would all, to a one, utter a collective groan. NOT because we don't routinely work with clients of all sizes to get this kind of coverage. But because many startups think getting topic coverage from the world's most respected journalist is simply a matter of a phone call from someone's Rolodex.
The strategic reality is a very different, and complex, thing. Here's a look at how it is done, and how you can use the power of harnessing your company business stage and messaging to earn valuable media coverage, and work smartly with your PR team.
Validation & Timing: The PR & Marketing Reality
For those of us in the tech pr agency world, our mission is simple: To help companies get valuable media and social conversation going for their enterprise. However, the very thing that makes media coverage so valuable, the credibility of the journalist as a trusted and impartial voice, is the same thing that means this high value media coverage s not handed out like candy on Halloween.
"High value media coverage is not handed up like candy on Halloween"
But hey, for the candy and media-coverage loving business leaders, there's some good news to be had. Press coverage can be earned for early-stage and unknown companies
The key is understanding what kind of conversations with the media make sense, based on where you are in your business cycle.
Silver linings and two important pr goals
The silver lining in using a timing-based public relations messaging strategy? You'll have an ever-evolving number of smart, relevant topics that meet two goals:
1. Be of interest and value to journalist (translation: media coverage opportunities).
2. Build credibility and awareness for your enterprise's brand (translation: market exposure).
Public Relations & the Three Phase Timing Strategy
The idea is to think of your business growth in cycles. Each cycle has a different media outreach strategy and a different messaging focus. Accordingly, each cycle has a different type of high-value message to offer to the media.
Stage I: Pre-Entry
The Stage I phase is for the startup enterprise, or the company about to launch a new solution,. Unless your name is "Bill Gates" or "Elon Musk," this is not the time to ask journalists to take a leap of faith and cover your "not ready for prime time" business concept or early-beta offering.
There was a little glitch back in the '90's called the dot.com bust, and journalists learned the hard way not to wax poetic about tech solutions that were not yet fully baked. HOWEVER, you can use your insight, technology background and understanding of the marketplace to discuss market need and pain points.
Insightful, research-backed commentary on the needs of the marketplace, or critical trends, are welcomed commentary from thoughtful tech leadership. Discussions about not-yet-existent technology is not.
Stage II: Entry
Congratulations! You have a product or service. It's gone through beta, and it performs. Now is the time to talk shop with journalists, and meld your earlier conversations about market need with the launch of your new solution. From a tech public relations perspective, this is an actual "news-item" moment, and press announcements, advances and all the tools are rightfully fired up and deployed in this stage.
Stage III: Scale
This stage is where true traction and credibility gain takes place. Now that your solution is launched, your team works to collect case studies, testimonials, performance data. You can now scale your strategy with success stories, shared with the media. The ultimate blending of your three-stage and phase strategy, your company leadership can now talk about market pain points, the value of your solution in solving those pain points, and the real-life case study successes you've had with your customers.
The Common Denominator: Thought Leadership
There is, however, one additional, over-arching strategy you'll deploy across your communications campaign: Thought leadership. The knowledgeable, credible discussion you'll share with the media that is not sales-focused. Rather, it relies on insightful commentary about the marketplace, technology evolution, research data and more.
The happy irony, of course, is that thought leadership is the most powerful sales tool, and media coverage generator, of them all.
So, evaluate where you are in your business market cycle. Identify the high-value, newsworthy conversations you can have with the media based on your stage, and leap into the extraordinary business of earning media coverage.
Questions or comments? Feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, go ahead and book a no-obligation, no-strings 15 minute consultation. We will be happy to provide advice to help you get on your way with your own strategic media messaging plan.
Pam Abrahamsson is the award-winning director of PRA Public Relations, a Top 19-Ranked, cloud-based PR Agency serving the tech and fintech world. PRA Public Relations' clients are featured in the world's leading business, tech and industry digital media.