All tech SMEs and start-up marketers face a major challenge: getting heard in an increasingly noisy and multi-faceted marketplace. The internet is a bazaar of different specialist technologies and audiences, so getting heard by the right people at the right time can be a real challenge for small tech firms. Appearing in your trade media on a regular basis is a great way to achieve this.
I recently wrote about the value of PR to your SEO – or ‘getting found on the internet’ as it used to be known. Increasingly, online PR is being used for this purpose as a primary goal – to optimise a firm’s SEO. Indeed many SEO firms are now employing PRs to generate coverage in order to optimise their client firms' SEO ratings. But if you look at everything else PR can achieve for your firm, this really is putting the cart before the horse.
In fact, aside altogether from its benefits to your SEO, PR serves a number of key business purposes: developing your message, defining your audience, increasing the reach and spread of your brand and message, developing your brand awareness, and developing brand credibility among your key audiences.
Consider who the key audiences for your PR messages are: current and future customers, investors, government funding agencies, industry peers, employees, skills pool, and so on. Then there is the media, who are key influencers of the purchase decision among C-level executives.
Now consider how PR can influence how your firm is seen by these individuals: the company you keep: your customers or partners, the investors who put their faith in you, the key hires who stake their professional reputation on your technology, and the influential media who consider you to be newsworthy. Your firm as a thought leader: writing opinion pieces in influential journals. Your firm as an innovator: how your technology resolves pain points for enterprise. And so on.
Then consider the different channels you can employ to reach your audience: whether it’s your local or tech or trade media, or direct contact via case studies, white papers, newsletters, trade show participation and key note appearances, trade advertising and so on. Good PR will tap every avenue, whether Paid, Earned, Shared or Owned, to ensure you are seen where you should be seen.
Because important though SEO is for a firm, it still depends on your audience inputting the correct sequence of search terms. And even then, you will be presented as just one option among a long list of competing firms and technologies. And what will determine the all important meta description that appears alongside your entry? Good PR, that’s what.
PR is about making the most of your message no matter what your stage of development. Early stage start up? You are the next big thing, look at who is investing and who is partnering, and shout about them. SME? Look at your brilliant client stories and how you have contributed to their success, look how you are a thought leader and innovator. New product? Look at the fantastic new features and why you have introduced them. For every stage of your company’s development, you have a great story to tell.
Good PR will elevate your company and product like no other marcom activity. Start now and see a change in how your company is perceived within 3 – 6 months.
(Pic: Mushrooms On A Log, St Enda's Park)