PUBLIC RELATIONS IN THE U.S. MARKETStrategies for Success
WHAT IS PR?Good PR is about building and maintainingprofessional networks.This means not only working with traditional and non-traditional media to obtain positive coverage: itmeans working with influencers, your customers,potential customers, and even your competitors toget the good word-of-mouth that drives sales andincreases valuation. We enable our clients to connectwith their audiences on a deeper, more meaningfullevel.
AND PR INCLUDESMedia relationsAnalyst relationsSocial mediaSpeaking opportunities/attendance at conferences – it is vital thatyou have a clear plan for speaking opportunities at the beginning ofthe calendar year. Many conferences require at least a six monthlead on speaking opportunities, and event sponsorship requiresmonths of preparation to maximize your exposure. Look to decideon events early to minimize your costs.Awards/competitions --apply early and often, and avoid anyapplications that have up front costs or that require sponsorship. Doyour research and leverage your online fans to gain placement!
PR VERSUS ADVERTISING Public relations differs greatly from advertising, yet is often confused with it (especially in the US). Effective PR can be less expensive and much more powerful than advertising. However, you also have less control.
THOSE CRAZY AMERICANS• Americans value straight talking and getting to the point.’• Americans are not afraid of failure.• New is good. Change is ever-present in American corporate life and therefore so is the easy acceptance of new ideas, new models etc.• Many Americans have never left the US. Be prepared for a parochial, American view of the world.• Most professionals have a Blackberry, iPhone or smartphone enabling them to check emails and reply outside of work – something which is encouraged and expected• US working hours are 24/7, 365 days a year. Americans are ‘always on’ – expect to receive emails from Americans on weekends, vacations and holidays.
AMERICA – VAST AND VARIED • Language, accent and behavior varies greatly throughout the US • Often people jump right into business – do not take offense • Email structure follows local oral traditions • Suburbia & Middle America • Local holidays/festivals/events (not all national) • Dress and formalities are in flux (especially with younger generations)
WHY RELATIONSHIPS MATTER • Like in other aspects of business, who you know can be just as important as what you know • A thoughtful introduction is extremely valuable • Speed, turnaround and tone of response • Introductions are key but well thought out, intelligent follow-through is paramount • Finding the right contact at the organization • StyleLikeU and Huffington Post Story
GO BIG OR GO HOME Capturing the Media’s Attention in the US • 62.6 million in France vs. 307 million in the US – your spend must be relatively proportional • Out-of-the-box conference/trade show tactics • Launch parties • Stunts and guerilla marketing (not just girls in bikinis) • The ‘celebrity’ factor • Philanthropy – what’s your cause? *If done correctly, these activities lead to WOM buzz • Myth of the viral video campaign
ATTENDING CONFERENCES • Its not hard to build a community of supporters and a reputation for yourself and the company from afar and then to solidify the relationships with a few well-timed trips. • Look to attend intimate and large-scale events alike such as TechCrunch Disrupt in NYC or SF, attend meetups like the North Brooklyn Breakfast Club, and the local NYC, SV/SF events listed in Startup Digest. • Finally, network with key American investors and influencers when they are in Europe at conferences like LeWeb, The Next Web, F.ounders and DLD.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE SEEKINGMEDIA ATTENTION IN THE USDifferentiation: Has it been done before, is your technology disruptive or arefinement? Know thy competition.Timeliness: Is it part of the news agenda in the US currently?Impact: How does the story effect your industry, your competition –will it changethings in any way?Proximity and education: How is it relevant to the publication you want to writeabout it?Controversy: Will it divide opinion, will it get people talking? Sex sells – is itscandalous in anyway?Prominence: Is there a well known person attached to the news? Who is quoted inthe release/any third party endorsement (market analyst or key influencer)?
HOW TO: KEY MESSAGES & A PRESS KITKey messages: the who what were when why and how of your company •Limited to three to five sentences maximum •Supportable with factual data or proof points •Concise, clear, understandableCompany boilerplate: a concise overview reflecting the key messaging and features of yourcompanyBios of key management: quick bios of your founding members, senior team, and investorsTestimonials: what do others have to say about your product?Company fact sheet: a quick one page document describing your product, features, andaudienceFor Internal Use: press Q&A: Answer all the tough questions ahead of time
BOLIERPLATE EXAMPLE – FACEBOOK & GROUPONAbout FacebookFounded in February 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power toshare and make the world more open and connected. Anyone can sign up forFacebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment.Facebook is a privately held company and is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.About GrouponGroupon, launched in November 2008 in Chicago, features a daily deal on the beststuff to do, eat, see and buy in more than 500 markets around the world. Grouponuses collective buying power to offer unbeatable prices and provide a win-win forbusinesses and consumers, delivering more than 650 daily deals globally. For moreinformation, visit http://www.groupon.com.
HOW TO: PITCHING TO US MEDIAPre-pitch: • Get involved in social communities: Look for industry friends on Twitter, Quora, and blogs. • Get familiar with your writers: Use RSS feeds to track news in your industry. Read and comment often. • Get the press involved (provide specific high level outlets with exclusives and early beta access. Get feedback before you launch). • Watch your competitors: Google alerts works great for this. • Use Klout, PeerIndex, LinkedIn, Twitter to research
HOW TO: PITCHING TO US MEDIAThe Actual Pitch: • Email and Twitter are your best channels of communication. • Tailor your pitch for each publication. Have they recently written about your industry? • Be friendly, concise and honest. Stay away from terms like “revolutionary”, and don’t be afraid to mention competitors. • Understand timing: do not pitch during industry shows. • Begin pitching early in the week. No reporters open email at 5:00 PM on a Friday. • Provide visual assets and video • Confirm meeting times asap. Reporter schedules are often busy
PUBLIC RELATIONS TOOLSGoogle AlertsGoogle Alerts allows you to set up keyword searches for the name of your company or competitors,for example, and receive updates in your email inbox or through an RSS feed.CustomscoopA handy news clipping and tracking service, with the ability to easily generate reports and exceldocs on the fly.Social Media ManagementHootSuite and Seesmic are services that allow you to manage multiple accounts across all thepopular social media outlets.TweetDeck is used to manage profiles across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Foursquare andGoogle Buzz.Professional SolutionsScoutlabs has a great clean interface and overall excellent features for volume trending, sentiment-tracking, learning about key quotes (based on sentiment), and managing workflow for responsemanagementRadian6 is a powerhouse that gives you integrated workflow, alerts, sentiment, monitoring acrossblogs, forums, news, Twitter, and more.