Make Milestones the Spine of Your 2019 PR Plan

As a tech PR, it never ceases to amaze me how many tech firms let their milestones ‘slide’ without ever promoting them for their own benefit.

Milestones, by their very definition, don’t come along very often. As a result, the PR effort that supports them – press releases, launches, etc. – don’t come along very often either. This is a wasted opportunity – because it is very rare for the small tech firms I have worked with to have occasion for more than 2/3 press announcements per year. If even that.

What are company ‘milestones’? They are the everyday achievements of you company. A product/version announcement, some new funding, a partnership, a new customer, a key new hire or board advisor – these are all milestones, and they should all be the subject matters of press releases – sent to your industry media, and possibly published on the newswire. Used properly, they can be the cornerstone of an authentic, and credible PR plan.

So you should certainly make the most of them. These important events mark out your company’s progress, develop your ‘story’ and in the process create your digital footprint over time – the results which prospects, investors, govt. support agencies, and skills pool will see when they are doing background or due diligence checks on you and your firm.

And it is important to stress that although this is ‘earned’ coverage, you can actually be in full control of much of it – what the headline is, how your company and product is described, what the headline quote is – because your press release will appear alongside any coverage you achieve – if you have used a reputable newswire, or sent it to outlets that publish industry news in the form of reproducing press releases.

Is it worth doing? Of course it is: recent surveys by inbound firms show that the media remains among the most trusted source of third party information among purchasers and decision makers in the technology sphere. That make the media among the most valuable channels for independent third party recommendation for tech firms, just behind word of mouth – and therefore highly valuable in such a noisy content environment, and way ahead of self-published or paid for communications tools like blogs, infographics, advertising, owned content etc.

And if it’s your news, make sure you make the running – not some other party to the release. If your partner or a funding agent issues the release, they and not you will be the story, and you will be just a bit part actor in someone else’s scene. Jointly issue the release if absolutely necessary, but take full or shared credit. For Irish firms, this is also true of appearing in Enterprise Ireland ‘joint’ announcements. If it’s your news, do you really want it to be lumped in with 6 or 7 other companies all fighting for air? Not on my watch.

Finally, once it appears, you can then amplify it through your social media channels – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Did you know that published ‘news’ continues to lead the way in social engagement across all social media , despite continuously falling engagement rates elsewhere? Appearances in news coverage continues to attract interest, where other tactics are falling off a cliff in terms of attracting notice.

I noted earlier that such events – and the activity that supports them – don’t come along very often. This is a good thing! Only ever deploy PR for genuine company ’news’ – by doing so you promote authenticity, while also increasing your credibility, both highly valued commodities. Journalists and publishers are more likely to take your news seriously and report it if receiving it is a not an everyday occurrence. Press releases should be used sparingly – it really is a case of ‘less is more’ where your PR cred is involved.

So, make a new year’s resolution for your company now. Don’t let your important news slide in 2019. Make the most of it – and build your 2019 PR plan around it.

(Pic: Milestone at Terenure, Dublin)

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