Technology PR: – Five Reasons Why It’s Called ‘Earned Media’

19th Mar 2014 Sam Howard

Here at Sofarbeyond, we asked PR communications specialists –  Sam Howard, founder The Comms Crowd to tell us more about the value of PR and why companies need to think differently about how they do it.

PR is a core component of the marketing mix, done well, it provides third party objectivity, delivers credibility and is a perfect complement to more direct marketing vehicles. In the world of B2B tech, the purchase decision making process is drawn out and with multiple stakeholders, who each have their own agenda and their own influencers.

Sustained media coverage of a company and its solutions can help establish brand trust and preference. Another positive, in terms of budget demands, PR leaves a much smaller hole in your spreadsheet, than advertising or event participation.

Hurrah! I hear you chorus, where do I sign?

But it’s called ‘earned media’ for a reason and you have to be prepared to earn it. Effective PR that delivers to your bottom line is less spin, more graft. If your software company is thinking about ‘doing PR’ here’s some factors to consider:

1)   A good book relies on more than just a cover: PR is the best vehicle for telling your company’s story, explaining your strategy and demonstrating delivery of your values and vision. If your company has news, views, beliefs and genuine success stories, PR can help articulate them for you – but we can’t just make it up! If you have nothing to say, that’s absolutely fine, but don’t waste your budget on white noise either.

2)   Not all children are above average intelligence: If I had a pound for every ‘world’s leading provider’ I had encountered, I’d be running a donkey sanctuary right now. The pub is the place for inflated claims of greatness, not PR. Be prepared to forgo the hyperbole!

3)   PR can ensure molehills stay molehills: This is the era where we witness reputations rise and crumble in hours not years. But companies that have invested in telling their story intelligently are in a far better position to ride out the lows than those that only invest in riding high. PR channels give you the opportunity to rapidly respond and restore trust. However, if what you’ve got going down is more Kilimanjaro than molehill, you might want to prioritise attending to the cause rather than hoping for the PR cure.

4)   Techies need to talk business: Often in B2B tech, the software is made by a guy with a PhD and will be used by a guy with a PhD. So why do you need some PR (probably without a PhD) in the middle of that food chain? Well the thing is, what’s important to the guy that made it and even to the guy that uses it, may not be that important to the guy that pays for it. A good PR will help you articulate the issues in the marketplace, what problems these are causing, and why your technology solves them. It’s about the business benefits, not just the technology features.

5)   Keeping it topical: I hate to sound mean but the old adage is true: Only you, are that interested in you. So often I sit in kick off meetings and hear the client say, ‘what we want to say is…’ and I get a bit of a sinking feeling. While it’s valid to announce new products and client signings, you need to be prepared to invest in the wider debate – whether it’s providing comment on the impact of impending legislation, producing a blog on next generation security issues, or penning an article on how the latest fat finger blunder could have been prevented. Thought leadership, requires your time and intellectual input.

In summary, PR done well and in collaboration, can deliver a credible platform to tell your company’s story, share your successes and demonstrate understanding of your market – you’ve just got to be prepared to work at it.



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Five ways to get (social media) lucky on St Patrick’s Day

16th Mar 2014 St Patricks day Social media rainbow

How’s your social media strategy? Unless you have the luck of the Irish, getting it right can be as hit or miss as finding that winning lottery ticket or backing the winner at the races.

This St Patrick’s Day we’d like to help you get lucky with your social media by giving you five quick and simple tips to engage with your audience. Tell us what you think on LinkedIn – we’d like to know if our tips help you get lucky.

1.Be social – Ok, we know that St Patrick’s Day is a great excuse for those of us who aren’t Irish to enjoy a Guinness or two, but it’s also a good excuse to be social with your audience. What could you send your customers or prospects on this day that would help bring a  little luck to their business or support their common challenges?

2.Be timely – with national days such as St Patrick’s Day and public holidays such as Easter, it’s important to be timely with your content. The best way to support this is to have a plan or a content calendar that marks out key events happening either industry wide or across the UK. Make sure your content is already ready to go – it will make your customers feel that you are always on trend no matter what is happening. Take a look at these companies that embraced the London tube strikes.

3.Be interesting – we’re bombarded by content on a regular basis, whether it’s a text message, email, phone call, Skype or WhatsApp. So, the best way to cut through the noise is to be interesting and creative. Story-telling and visuals are a really powerful way of not just cutting through the noise but remaining memorable thereafter.

4.Be visual – we say this a lot but it’s proven that we process images 90 times faster than words. Also, we don’t really read online anymore (just 40% of us read pages with more than 111 words) So, to get your message across, keep it short and keep it visual – it’ll be easy for us to see it in a crowd.

5.Get lucky – It’s about understanding what is resonating with your audience and for that you need to be using social media tools. One of our favourites is Sprout Social media, where you can sign up to a 30 day free trial, to find out what interests your audience and feed that content back to them –  this way marketing will finally become a services rather than a sell!

We hope that helps you stay lucky this St Patrick’s Day. Tell us what other content you’d like from us next month and we’ll get writing!

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