Getting coverage for your tech firm isn’t easy. But it is certainly achievable, especially if undertaken as an ongoing process rather on an ‘event-by-event’ basis: PR should be seen as a journey rather than a destination; a process in which the goal is to achieve both reach and awareness, as well as gaining the credibility of having your technology or firm appear in authoritative news outlets.
And a few simple steps, easily built in to your company activity will help you achieve this.
1. Your Milestones Are Your Story
Lately, a lot of marcom has become all about ‘storytelling’. But what does this jargonising mean? Its really very simple: all you need to do to achieve your company's ‘storytelling’ is record your regular company events and milestones as they occur. Big new deal? Press release it. Funding? Press release it. New product/version release? Industry trade release. New hire? Trade release and social media. And so on.
So, not rocket science. But by following this simple routine, you will pretty soon build up your background story, and importantly, begin to establish your credentials with your important media editors and writers.
But how do you 'develop' your story? It's simple: get a calendar and a road map, and write one onto the other. Obviously you can then fill in details like audiences, resources required etc., - as well as working on timing - but essentially, you will put a shape on your story as a tech company for the coming year simply by putting your intended milestones down on a calendar, and using that as a template for your planned marcom activity. Pretty soon, you will be 'telling your story'.
2. Your Audience Is All The People Who Are Important to Your Enterprise
So, we have our story for the year plotted – but it needs an audience. Who are you addressing? It is important to identify who these are: your ‘audience’ is the people who are important to you – and these should be at the front of your mind in all of your communications: it is important for tone, and it is also important for distribution. So who are they?
Most people consider marcom should be directed primarily at the market, and of course it should be. But many others also help make up the success of your enterprise, and these too should be borne in mind, both when shaping your story and distributing your message.
So as well as your consumers and leads, consideration should also be given to investors, government funding agents, skills pool, employees, suppliers, etc. Thus, your ‘story’ isn’t just confined to your product or service, but also is about funding, key new hires, new customers, potential new applications and markets, and so on.
3. Reaching Out: Use the PESO Model
As technology and digital media have rapidly advanced, so have the reach and scope of the channels available to all marketers when promoting their message, and increasingly, lines have blurred between them. In order to integrate this array of marcom channels, Gini Dietrich, author of ‘Spin Sucks’ developed the ‘PESO’ model, a strategy that encompasses a firm’s Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned Media.
For SME tech firms - with their well defined audiences - the scope is usually very manageable, with small budgets expected to go far. As a result, the ‘paid’ aspects of any programme is usually very limited where it exists at all, with most effort instead going into earned, shared and owned media.
So for the most part, tech firms marcom content ends up being created under the ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ headings, and with the resulting documents or coverage then being ‘shared’ on social media, or via email campaigns. Examples of ‘earned’ content would include media relations and the resulting coverage, be that news releases, articles, features etc. Meantime, owned media might include newsletters, case studies, industry use cases, blogs etc. And in each instance of new content creation, it can then be shared via social media like LinkedIn and Twitter, or directly via email to your chosen lists.
None of this is particularly difficult, but it is work intensive, and it is worth matching up your content calendar with your PESO schedule to make sure all channels are reached.
4. Press ‘Go’
Surprisingly, this is where many firms fall down - on the key aspect of marcom: execution. They prepare all the materials, put them together and publish them online, but then don’t put any effort into sharing. They write a press release, publish on their website, but make no effort to identify - and then contact - the appropriate journalists. Some even go so far as to contact press release wire services, and pay accordingly to have the release published. And then don’t contact the appropriate journalists.
Without this key final piece of the process, all the other work is wasted! The all-important prep., identifying your key writers - and then contacting them directly and frequently – is what makes the difference to ensure that you aren’t just another one of the thousands of unread press releases in their InBox. Make that pitch! Pick up that phone!! There is no shortcut!!!
These four simple steps: mapping out your ‘story’, identifying your ‘audience’, identifying your communications channels, and finally pressing ‘go’ will transform the way your company is perceived, in the media, among your key audiences, and eventually - as the results contribute to your digital footprint – online. For help in putting your plan together and then actioning it, please contact me here.
(Pic: First Snowdrops)