SKC Insights

 

 

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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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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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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5 Tips to Create Media Buzz During the Holidays

Sometimes “bad timing” can be “good timing.”

Conventional wisdom dictates that companies should avoid media pitching and outreach during the holiday season. The belief is that everyone, including consumers, reporters, and editors, is too busy and distracted to hear our story pitches, look at press releases or read news articles. The truth is this is an ideal time. The news cycle is slower, creating content holes for reporters. For companies, the holidays are the perfect time to gift news outlets with story ideas.

Here are 5 tips for getting yourself some coveted coverage during the holiday season:


1. Wrap-up the Year with a Special “Wrapped” List

If your company had a great year, why not celebrate it with your customers? Share how they benefited over the past year with a summary of what they saved, enjoyed, or gained from your business. Spotify announced their aptly named “Spotify Wrapped” stats of the most streamed artists of 2018 and are giving subscribers playlists of their personal top songs. It didn’t take long before Spotify started trending on Twitter and featured in top outlets like TechCrunch, CNET, and Newsweek. Cap off the year with your own version of customer favorites. Turn it into a press release and perhaps even an infographic, and share it with local, trade and national business press. (Don’t forget to let your own customers know, too, by sending them an email and posting the roundup on your social media networks). 

 

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5 Questions You Should Ask When Selecting a PR Agency

You've put in all the time and effort building your company. You know that your technology and brand story is a major differentiator, and that having the right PR agency partner will raise your awareness and credibility, catapult you to the next level, help get your story out, earn you positive media raves, and compel your prospects to buy from you and partner with you.

You know the timing is right to bring on board a trusted PR agency. But how do you choose the agency that’s right for you? Asking the following five questions might just get you closer to your ideal agency!

 

1. What is Their Track Record for Helping Companies Like Yours?

Finding a PR firm that has helped companies like yours is helpful. Look at companies that the agency has on their past and present roster. Are they from your or related industries? Are they startups or Fortune 500s? If you are an AI startup, agencies with applicable AI experience will understand your offerings and ramp up more quickly, but equally important, it means that your team will have relationships with reporters at the media outlets where you want to be featured. Treat the agency’s track record like a portfolio and prediction of how the agency will work with your company.

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8 Tips for Creating Newsworthy Content

 

 

"Sorry, that's not news." Have you ever stumbled when a journalist tells you what you have to offer isn't newsworthy enough? You gulp. Here you are, with an exciting piece of news or scintillating insight, ready to strut your stuff, but they decide "it's not newsworthy" and don't give you a clue on what makes them tick. 

Well, we can't generalize for all media, but in our many years of working with hundreds, if not thousands of them, we have developed a good sense of the types of news and information that companies can create and package to pique the media's interest, earn their trust, and get written up in their news stories.

Here are 8 tips for creating newsworthy content:

1. Dazzle with Facts & Figures

Journalists love hard data. And that's a fact! Shining the spotlight on facts and figures, preferably with announcements about reports that shed light on industry trends, can entice a reporter to write about your organization as part of a larger trend story or even lead them to creating news just on your content. Survey data works great. When ACUHO-I's Annual State of ResNet Report was published earlier this year, media outlets picked up the story based on the strength of the numbers and infographic provided. One outlet, Campus Technology, even used the report in not one, but two articles, drawing from various newsy aspects of the report to cover multiple angles.

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4 Foolproof Content Ideas

Building 365, or even 182, days of content can test the most creative and best writers among us. Sometimes, it might feel like no matter what you do, you can't fill the blank spaces on the calendar fast enough. Fret not. Here are some tips to create timely content for your blog, newsletters, contributed articles, infographics, white papers, etc.


1. Celebrate the Holidays!

With built-in themes and dates, holidays are fantastic sources of content inspiration. Centering your content around the anticipated needs of your prospective customers, like including some of your fun gadgets as gift ideas for Mother's Day, is a great way to build content in advance. Some image creators, like Canva, even have holiday templates months ahead of time that you can use for stress-free planning. No big holidays coming up? Look for other opportunities. If you're a security company, you can have a field day with National Cyber Security Awareness Month. 

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8 Content Types to Boost Your Digital Marketing

Content is the main ingredient when you’re cooking up a luscious digital marketing strategy. Just like how a chef works with different ingredients, you can work with varying types of content to entice your customers.

Here are 8 types of content to boost your digital marketing:

1. Publish a Hearty Blog

Short for “weblog,” blogs function both as a type of content and a channel to publish that content. This makes your company blog an excellent hub for all of your other content. As a channel, a blog is a homemade meal to social media's restaurant. Preparing all of your ingredients seems like a hassle at first, but you get to decide how your blog looks, feels, and tastes to give it a personal touch that serves you and your audience.

2. Send a Sweet Treat E-Newsletter to their Inbox

We've talked before about how newsletters can grow your business, but it's also a great piece of a digital marketing strategy. When paired with other content, like a review of your month's blog posts or promoting your latest e-book, personalized newsletters make for a compelling one-two punch. Newsletters are a place where you can talk directly to one customer instead of having to feed an audience. This makes them intensely personal and a great way to connect.

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