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?
- Who Are You? Right. Beyond your name, what is it that you/your company do better than all your competitors out there? How are you contributing and changing your industry? From the onset, answer the question, “What’s our unique proposition?”, then build the strongest stories and messages about your company and products that resonate with those who matter.
- Who Should Care? Identifying the right audiences to focus on is a critical foundational step for company success. For a startup, these audiences could be investors and prospective customers. For a fast-growing company, they could be future employees and partners. Knowing who to direct your story/messages adds a critical layer to your foundation.
- What Can You Offer? Once you know yourself and your audiences, start planning and creating a rich content base that you can leverage and re-purpose for them. The key is to provide solid fodder that can back up who you say you are. From there you can prioritize educational and entertaining content like presentations, press releases, product sheets, blogs, whitepapers, infographics, eBooks, newsletters, and more.
2. Build Your House, aka Shape Your Story
Once your foundation is established, the fun begins. You are now ready to build a house, a mansion, even a city. This is the time when you amplify and spread your stories and messages, and watch them take shape in the eyes of your audiences. How do you amplify? Consider public relations, inbound, and outbound marketing.
- Public Relations: Say, you entice the media with a unique story and approach to upending your industry, and the next thing you know, you’re on CNBC and Forbes and invited to speak at CES. Congrats! You have effectively used the power of PR to “earn” media coverage, placements you’ve secured by being newsworthy, arguably one of the best third-party credibility building strategies out there.
- Inbound Marketing: Inbound marketing believes in having companies create useful content that they can publish through their own channels and/or distribute to their audiences. This is “owned media,” and the content choices are limitless. From ebooks, to whitepapers, to case studies, to blog posts to infographics, and slide decks, you build trust with every piece of content your prospects consume, and draw them closer to you.
- Outbound Marketing: Outbound marketing is usually “paid media,” and what a lot of people have grown up surrounded by: advertisements, flyers, telemarketers, billboards, sponsored ads, etc. Outbound requires more budget and like the other two tactics, amplifies your messages and contribute to you building your marketing/PR house too.
Stephen Covey once said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” If you focus on these two PR/marketing main things, there just might be a high chance that at 3am on a future night, you’re sound asleep because your marketing/PR foundation and house are built!
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