PR for Grown-Ups: A Growth Stage Company’s Guide to Implementing an Effective PR Strategy
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PR for Grown-Ups: A Growth Stage Company’s Guide to Implementing an Effective PR Strategy

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So, your company has emerged from seed and startup phase and officially has entered the growth-stage – congratulations! With the many new issues now facing you – from business strategy, corporate ...

So, your company has emerged from seed and startup phase and officially has entered the growth-stage – congratulations! With the many new issues now facing you – from business strategy, corporate development and hiring to revenue growth, product development and market analysis – you likely haven’t had time to celebrate.

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PR for Grown-Ups: A Growth Stage Company’s Guide to Implementing an Effective PR Strategy PR for Grown-Ups: A Growth Stage Company’s Guide to Implementing an Effective PR Strategy Document Transcript

  • PR for Grown-Ups: A Growth Stage Company’s Guide to Implementing an Effective PR Strategy So, your company has emerged from seed and startup phase and officially has entered the growth-stage – congratulations! With the many new issues now facing you – from business strategy, corporate development and hiring to revenue growth, product development and market analysis – you likely haven’t had time to celebrate. If you don’t already have a PR program in place, you might be considering adding this to your list of priorities. The benefits of a solid PR strategy include driving brand awareness, reaching your target audience with news and key messages, improving credibility through third-party validation, positioning you as a thought leader in your category, countering competitive noise, and, ultimately, driving sales. For growth-stage companies that want to pursue PR but aren’t quite ready to hire an external firm or consultant to help, what options are there? As it turns out, an internal PR effort can yield solid results if certain steps are taken. Below are 10 tips for adding PR to your internal efforts: 1. Designate an internal resource. To be effective, one company resource should manage PR efforts. This person should have access to people from various segments of the company (e.g., C-suite, sales and marketing) and should be tightly integrated with – if not a part of – the marketing team. 2. Understand your audience. Who’s your key audience? Urban professionals who bike to work? Mom & Pop shops that are trying to keep up with never-ending advances in technology? Heads of households? The local business community? Large retailers? Identify your top 2-3 target demographics and determine what they’re reading. You probably already know this, but it’s worth the exercise to confirm that you’re reaching out to right press. 3. Get to you know top reporters and publications. Once you’ve identified the right publications, start reading them on a regular basis. Find out which reporters are writing about the topics you want to address. Make a list of your top 2-4 reporters in each category and make it your mission to get to know what they cover, how they like to be pitched, and whether they’re on Twitter (more on this later). Send them your company’s relevant story angles and news announcements (you can track their editorial calendars for ideas of what they are covering when). When you pitch them, be sure to reference that you read their articles and understand their beats. 4. Develop a company description and key messages. Know how to explain what your company does in one sentence. The same goes for each of your products and/or services. Develop a company description and key external messages and convey them in all communications. 5. Determine company spokespeople. Identify your key company spokespeople who should be tapped for interviews. Ideally, the president/CEO or another Clevel executive would serve as the primary spokesperson. Be sure to prepare them for each interview opportunity by providing details of the reporter’s previous coverage, as well as the topic at hand. Also, arm spokespeople with the aforementioned company description and key messages so they are reinforced in all media relations efforts.
  • 6. Identify timely thought leadership angles. Conduct a thought leadership brainstorm with key executives and spokespeople to determine what industry issues they can speak about and build out the top 2-4 topics. See what reporters are writing about the topics and determine how your spokesperson can further the discussion in a way that’s relevant to the reporters’ readership. Create a personalized pitch and send it to your targeted reporter(s). 7. Reach out to customers for validation. Customer validation is a critical part of a successful PR program. Unfortunately, customers can be finicky about participating in media opportunities. If your key customers are major publicly traded corporations, for example, they might have policies against participation in vendor press releases or media outreach. The good news is that you don’t need 10 customers who are willing to talk to press – to start, 1 is just fine. Speak with your sales team to target several customers who might be willing to speak to the press and start reaching out to them. 8. Be prepared with relevant collateral. Be prepared with photos, videos, bios and company and product descriptions. Have these ready when reaching out to press (i.e., leverage headshots and bios for personnel announcements, product shots for product announcements, videos for customer testimonials, etc.). Infographics reflecting insightful data also can be very compelling to the right reporter. 9. Leverage Twitter. Follow your targeted reporters and publications on Twitter. Reporters have flocked to Twitter, as it’s a perfect environment to build a personal following with their readership base. Plus, tweets are now considered reach for reporters – the more tweets, the more reach. They appreciate it when you retweet their articles. It also provides you with insights into how specific journalists work and what their individual preferences are. Twitter can give you a great idea of what reporters are interested in right now. 10. Reuse, repurpose, recycle. PR content can be redeployed in many ways – from social media posts to blog entries to website content to follow up to sales calls and newsletters. And, be sure to Tweet about and link to the great coverage you’re getting, as it’s a great way to build relationships with reporters and drive traffic to their sites. Do you have an internal PR strategy in place? If so, please tell us more about what’s worked best for you! This post was originally featured on the Illinois Technology Association website.