We’re living in an era where outsourcing our lives has never been easier. From driverless cars to Amazon home delivery of almost any product we could ever need possible at the click of button, it’s increasingly easy to automate our existence. Yet, too often, companies approach #PR in the same way – as something to turn over to someone else, as something done for the company, rather than with it. But to get the most of PR, you need to establish a strong relationship between the PR firm or consultant and the business that’s being represented.
How do you build that strong foundation? As part of our continuing series about PR for tech companies, I spoke with Evan Sirof, a freelance PR expert and consultant. Sirof has a lot of experience working with companies in various stages of the PR journey. He offered up his checklist of how any business can get the most out of PR.
Priority 1: When You Start PR, Have a Goal
Sirof emphasized a point I’ve heard from a lot of PR experts: when you begin PR, you must understand why you’re doing it in the first place. Many companies come to PR reactively after seeing a competitor get prime coverage. As Sirof said, “Companies often think we need to do something too, even if they don’t know what that something should be.”
This is a flawed approach. If you don’t start a PR campaign by first knowing your specific goals and needs, no firm is going to be able to help you package your story skillfully. Sirof recommended that companies engage in a bit of self-analysis before embarking on PR by asking a series of questions:
- What are you looking to promote about your company?
- Are you promoting your company because you’re trying to line it up for a transaction or a relationship?
- Is your PR focused on a particular product because you’ve created something new and innovative? Or is your goal larger, like trying to define a new category in your industry? Or are you trying to separate yourself from the marketplace or become a thought leader? Or are you an established player trying to recast your story?
In short, you need to know the why of your PR strategy before you can even develop a strategy to put in place.
Priority 2: Evaluate Your Strategies Based on Your Market Positioning
When you’re developing your strategy, you need to know who you are and who you aren’t. Companies must recognize what will be most effective given their size and industry presence. Even if you have a cutting-edge new technology that you think makes you competitive with major players, you need to understand the reach those companies have. To challenge Microsoft’s cloud presence, you first need to figure out how you can position your product in a new and innovative way. Otherwise, you’re David versus Goliath, but you don’t even have a stone in your hand to fell the giant.
It is also essential to understand your sales pipeline. Do your potential customers recognize that they have a problem? Or do you need to provide them with basic education that helps them define it? Your customers must recognize that they have unmet need before you can differentiate your technology as the best solution to meet that need.
Priority 3: Have a Content Foundation in Place
If you’ve followed this series of blogs, you’ve heard this refrain before: PR is not possible if you don’t first have a foundation of core content. Many companies think the reason they’re not getting their story out is because they don’t have good PR. The reality, in fact, is that they don’t actually have the content to back up a campaign.
Sirof said he spends a lot of time working with companies on content. Even the slickest advertising campaign can end up being all style, no substance, if you don’t have white papers, videos, infographics, web pages and other core content to direct people to once you’ve grabbed their attention.
Sirof sees a tendency for companies to throw the kitchen sink into their PR program. They piece together a customer story here and a press release there, without a coherent strategy. The resulting PR is disjointed and random. For Sirof, “PR is more effective when it’s guided.” And it’s guided when you’ve already a foundation of core content. While quality PR firms can help you create content, you must create the content before doing any press outreach. “We all know the most effective campaigns are ones where you send an email with a link to a white paper or video which then starts a conversation and extends engagement,” he said.
In our next PR journey blog we will explore more priorities you should consider as you vigorously head towards PR success.
Become PR-ready with quality content creation
Evan Sirof has been working with innovative technology companies for more than 20 years. He is a specialist at helping companies craft compelling stories to communicate with their markets. His company, MarComm-On-Call, reflects his vision of timely, professional #public relations, writing, and strategic communications services that are implemented quickly and executed for maximum effect. Evan has extensive experience in broadcast and professional video, #big data, telecommunications, enterprise applications, storage, professional photography services, compliance and other technology segments.
Check out the whole blog series: