SKC Insights

 

 

Overwhelmed No More – PR & Marketing in 2 Steps

It’s 3 in the morning. You’re wide awake and your mind is besieged. Your competitor just sent out a new funding press release. How do you match that? Why is it so hard to reach the right investors? The right customers? Your team throws ideas at you. Dazzle with 3D presentations. We better be everywhere – on TV, on TechCrunch, on Facebook, LinkedIn, at tradeshows, everywhere! And don’t forget blogs, white papers, case studies, and email campaigns! And on and on and on.

It’s now 4am and sleep eludes you. You’re overwhelmed. Why are PR and marketing such enigmas? You know you need it to truly grow and attract investors and customers. But how? Where do you start? To think you once thought asking Rita to the prom was the toughest thing you ever did.

Sure, PR and marketing may feel daunting. But we’re here to say it doesn’t have to be. Take a deep breath, let go of everything you think you have to do. Instead, focus on just two steps that will make all the difference: First, build your foundation, and second, build your house.

This is what we mean:

1. Build Your Foundation, aka Build Your Story

A solid foundation ensures your company stands strong while forces around you wreak havoc. The secret to PR/marketing success boils down to this: know thyself. Who are you? Who should care? What can you offer?

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5 Reasons Why You Should Care More About PR & Marketing

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two -- and only two -- basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” – Peter Drucker

For far too many companies today, the main focus is on engineering and product development. This laser focus bodes well for creating breakthrough innovations. And while these products may indeed change the world as we know it, without marketing and PR, no one will ever know about them. This gives companies with better PR and marketing, but not necessarily better products, a competitive edge.

If you’re not convinced, here are 5 reasons why you should care more about PR and marketing:

1. Stand Out or Fade Out

First up is the debilitating syndrome called “failure to communicate.” Many companies hunker down and release seriously powerful products that surpass their competitors — something that would really make them stand out – but blow it because they do not communicate their message in clear, concise and compelling fashion. They simply bleed to death through their failure to market themselves and their products. Many companies sell razors, but Dollar Shave Club stands out in a crowded market with a clear, concise and compelling message—“An Amazing Shave for a Few Bucks.” Stand out, don’t fade out.

2. Establish Your Industry Leadership or Someone Else Will

Have you ever seen a keynote speaker and wonder what they have that you don’t? You have more experience or have made bigger strides in your industry, so why weren’t you invited on stage? Chances are these speakers are seen as industry/thought leaders. When computers were just giant machines in building basements, consider Bill Gates’ and his vision to “have a computer in every home.” Elon Musk’s promise that “we will not stop until every car is electric” pivoted the world in profound ways. Both had established thought leadership in their industries. A good thought leadership program—with speaking opportunities, contributed articles, guest posts etc.—can go a long way to getting you that keynote role, and to paving the way for your company and products to dominate your industry.

3. Earn Credibility, or Risk Skepticism

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Keeping Your Edge - 14 Books to Read About PR

“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

While this quote comes from the pop culture explosion that is Game of Thrones, it doesn’t make it less true, especially when it comes to PR and marketing! Reading the techniques and strategies from seasoned professionals keeps communication skills sharp and inspires new ideas for your business. PR is constantly evolving and there is always something new to learn.

Here are SKC's list of 14 books related to PR that are must-reads for the executive eager to learn.

1. Cases in Public Relations Strategy by Burton St. John, Diana Knott Martinelli, Robert S. Pritchard, Cylor A. Spaulding

Case studies are most helpful when you're looking for ideas and thinking of ways to approach your next campaign. This collection analyzes cases using the RACE (Research, Action Planning, Communication, and Evaluation) model and breaks down how each successful campaign used best practices.

2. The Business of Persuasion by Harold Burson

As a giant in the PR industry for 70 years, Harold Burson reflects on his long career and how he built standards for the industry. The Business of Persuasion gives a peek at the behind-the-scenes of prominent communications events, including turning around Coca-Cola after New Coke and helping restore trust in the U.S. Postal Service after the anthrax scares following 9/11.

3. New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott

Now in its sixth edition, this book covers the best and most relevant tactics to optimize PR skills, and the step-by-step action plan can be used for any size business. The internet changed the landscape of PR and marketing, and new rules had to be defined. David Meerman Scott took on this challenge and created a classic that spent six months on the BusinessWeek bestseller list and is available in 29 languages.

4. The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations by Larry Tye

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How PR Changed the Lives of These 4 Startups

You’re proud of your startup, and rightly so! Building a startup is no mean feat and you want to share your company with the world. As a new company looking at the giants monopolizing your industry, this can be daunting. But a good dose of PR and marketing can give you the leg up you need.

Even the big guys rely on PR. As Bill Gates said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” Not convinced it’ll work for your startup? Just take a look around! Many startups get their foot in the door for new customers and potential investors by leveraging proven public relations and marketing strategies.

Here are 4 examples of how PR changed the lives of these startups for the better:

1. TrustGo: Executing a Multi-Prong Campaign

In a crowded mobile security market, TrustGo relied on SKC’s PR prowess to put together a multi-prong campaign that led to a dramatic spike in app downloads. Additionally, the spike in media attention and coverage led to heightened interest and overtures from bigger publicly-listed companies, eventually leading to an acquisition by Baidu, the “Google of China”! As part of the campaign, we focused our PR muscles on a tenacious media outreach program and also leveraged content marketing in the form of the Quarterly TrustGo Mobile Mayhem Report. Our case study shares how we did it.

2. Zoom.ai: Zooming in on Being a Problem Solver in Eyes of Media

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Connecting with Your Audience is Easier Than You Think

You've followed all the steps to become a thought leader. You've planned your media event down to the smallest detail. Now, all of your hard work has paid off, and it's your turn to take the spotlight. You might be thinking, I'm ready, now I just need to connect with my audience. Whether you're talking one-on-one with a reporter, hosting a webinar, or giving a keynote speech at an industry event, what can you do to boost your confidence and wow everyone listening?

Here are 5 tips for connecting with your audience:

1. Tailor Your Message

"One size fits all" is nice in theory, but it's not very realistic. Before you publish that PowerPoint, understand what your audience is looking for. What information are they expecting you to provide? What are they hungry to learn? Should you use industry jargon or avoid it altogether? Tailor your messages, your tone, even your delivery style to fit each audience. Taking time to customize your presentation can mean the difference between making a connection and getting a cold reception.

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Are Newswires Still Relevant Today?

The press release is approved. Let’s get it across the wire. Let’s not!

This has happened before. You find yourself in a tug of war between newswire advocates and antagonists. Each group insists their way is the only way. The advocates argue that services like Business Wire and PR Newswire offer a broader reach and deliver trustworthy content. But the cynics are up in arms about costs and insist that social media will suffice.

SKC is here to say, wires are wise to use, just not all the time. Definitely, let’s use the wire for big news such as funding rounds and major product launches, but let’s decide on a case-by-case basis on softer news like new hires and award wins.

Here are 6 reasons newswires are still relevant and helpful to companies today:

1. Make Your Release Official

A press release that “has just crossed the wire” with a date and time stamp immediately establishes itself as an “official” announcement, something that a simple release posting on your website can’t accomplish. This simple act provides you with additional gravitas, and if you’re a startup, allows you to begin building much-needed momentum for scaling your business.

2. Broaden Your Reach

Wire services have established and ever-expanding distribution channels with media touch points all over the globe. A wire-distributed release will be picked up by hundreds of portal sites, word for word, helping you broaden its reach beyond just your own company channels.

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Are Press Releases Still Relevant Today?

The press release is dead. Long live the press release!

The debate as to whether the press release is a relic of the past (the first one was sent over 100 years ago), or still a relevant tool today has been raging for the past few years. No one reads them, they don’t get “picked up,” and SEO value is limited these days, say the press release naysayers. But we’re here to tell you, don’t rule them out entirely. And while at times another tactic will work better, they do fulfill some very useful PR purposes.

Here are 6 reasons to keep press releases in your PR toolbox:

1. Releases are Trustworthy

The release is a go-to source for reliable information -- it's information direct from the horse's mouth, so to speak. And when well-written, it provides consistent, factual messaging for the company to get out to its audience.

2. Attracts Visual Interest

The press release of yesterday was a block of text with little to catch the eye. But not anymore. Now a release can provide excellent content, and also be a host for images, videos, and other multimedia to add value to your news. Editors love an attention-grabbing picture. 

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5 Keys to Getting Your Thought Leadership Article Published

Are you aspiring to be a thought leader? Being a thought leader may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Thought leadership can take many forms, but the most powerful tool in your arsenal is the contributed article. Such an article provides insights and positions you as an expert, without a hint of self-promotion. If you do it well, the benefits are aplenty, including having people seek you out as your industry’s "guru” and knowledge purveyor.

So, let’s get you published! To see your name, story and picture featured in your coveted industry magazine or even business and technology outlets like Entrepreneur and ReadWrite, here are 5 tips to getting your thought leadership articles accepted.

1. Offer Your Unique Point of View

Your point of view is not about your product. It’s your unique, even provocative perspective, informed by your experiences past and present, that are relevant enough to be part of your industry’s conversations and meaningful to your audience. Shawn Guan, CEO of Umbo Computer Vision, watched the artificial intelligence (AI) market evolve over the years and formed a unique insight on how AI will revolutionize video security. His “The Next Evolution” opinion caught the attention of Security Today which published the piece for their audience of security professionals.

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4 Reasons a PR-Digital Marketing Marriage is Good for Business

Public Relations and digital marketing have a common goal. Both want to increase visibility and awareness, but while one is about your relationships with customers and prospects, the other is more about your relationships with reporters and media outlets.

A healthy marriage of the two disciplines benefits each side — making each one stronger than it would be on its own. PR gets access to digital audiences beyond their traditional sphere, and digital marketing gets the experience of tried-and-true methods of communication. And you get a cross-channel strategy that can’t be matched that provides the following 5 key advantages to your business.

1. Amplifies Your PR Efforts

By incorporating digital marketing tactics into your PR activities, press releases, thought leadership articles, case studies, and press coverage can be spread and amplified through new channels. Reporters will be able to find information on your business through twitter or a google search. Backlinks and/or SEO key phrases in your press release can boost viewership of a piece of news to a whole new audience. Sharing contributed articles or coverage clippings on social media extends PR to your followers and beyond. PR materials are also a great source for content-hungry channels and for content marketing where you can chop up a release for a blog post or whitepaper.

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