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.
“If you are not a trend setter, at least be able to exploit the ones you see.” ― Jeffrey Fry
You don’t have to rock a mullet to stay one step ahead of the crowd in 2014. But if questionable hairstyles aren’t the answer, what is? How can you ‘exploit’ the trends that will be the most profitable for your business? In line with Jeffrey Fry’s advice, you’re free to take full advantage of our selection of the five key digital marketing trends for 2014 – mullet optional, of course.
1.Growth hacking – once upon a time, the term ‘hacking’ was only associated with sneaky ways of getting information that maybe you shouldn’t have access to. Now growth hacking has a more salubrious profile and is a low cost way of analysing how your customers behave online in order to better adjust your products and services to meet their needs. Twitter, Facebook and Mind Candy are all examples of companies who have successfully used this marketing technique to grow rapidly.
2.Local search – with the rise of 4G, more of us will be accessing content online via our smart phones. 2014 is the year we need to consider how to be found online by local searches made on a smart phone and it can help to consider displaying TAP (telephone, address and postcode) on your website(s). Take a look at this article from our friends at e-consultancy which will give you some useful tips about local search.
3.Number crunching – finally not as painful as doing those ab crunches at the gym! This year will see the opportunity for you to create your own digital dashboards so that you view search, social, content and PR results all in one place. This functionality is long overdue and will give you the bigger picture of how visitors are engaging with your business – from the first click to the last.
4.Keep it personal – we don’t often get a chance to do this in marketing. 2014 is the year where keeping it personal will help you to engage with your audience. To take full advantage of personalised communication to better engage with your audience, use social media as research to understand what your audience is interested in and deliver content of interest back to them in a personal way.
5.Marketing as a service – in 2014, marketing will be seen as a service rather than an opportunity to promote a product or solution. This is because we have more tools at our fingertips to deliver content that is rich, engaging, relevant, timely and personalised. In turn, our content can better serve our customers and prospects based what they are interested in.
What do you foresee as the biggest trends in 2014? Share your thoughts on our LinkedIn page.
Welcome to the newly re-launched Sofarbeyond website. This is the place to find out about the latest happenings in the digital world. At the moment, we are super excited about the role of content marketing, which in our opinion lies at the heart of a good search and social media strategy. Here are some tips to consider from our trusted friends at E-consultancy (18.4.2013)
Content Marketing is the new buzzword. And as with buzzwords, every agency is trying to capture a slice of the action – but this means they all have their own definitions. Which leads to confusion.
Naturally SEOs were the first to jump on Content Marketing as content and links are so intrinsically linked to success, but there’s a lot more to it than SEO.
Content marketing – where to start?
It’s unlikely that we are going to reach a commonly accepted definition of content marketing, so it’s important to be prepared before you engage. Your overarching goals should be clearly defined and should dictate the strategy.
Different types of content strategies will achieve different goals and the two main content approaches can be defined as:
- Direct Response
Brand based content tends to have huge reach, creates a lot of social buzz and has sizeable advertising backing. However, these campaigns tend to drive less benefits in areas such organic search than a DR focussed campaign.
DR based content is more focussed towards driving organic search success. The content strategy will deliver valuable new on-site content and very specific off-site content that will drive links.
However, this type of content will not drive anywhere near as much brand recognition when compared to a brand focussed strategy.
Each content strategy has vastly different outcomes, so as I mentioned early it is vital to set clear goals for the campaign.
Content marketing results
Content marketing simply cannot work in a silo, and whilst all the various types of agency are developing product offerings ultimately the best results will be achieved through three areas:
- Clear objectives, KPIs measurement criteria.
- Using your objectives and KPIs to define your content strategy, don’t let your agency push you down a route just because that’s where their skillset lies.
- Collaboration between agencies – I firmly believe that a single agency cannot own Content Marketing because there is far too much crossover between channels, it should be a collaboration between creative, SEO, social, media and PR.
Remember Content Marketing is about producing great content, not vast amounts of poor or average quality content.