The primary objective of today’s marketing professionals remain the same: how can I raise awareness of my company, brand, products and technology among my key audiences (current and future customers, partners) to drive our business?
Advertising is one proven option. The metrics are clear; an ad is seen by a certain audience which is counted by a publication’s print circulation or online pageviews and the branding and message 100% yours. But the Internet has turned the fundamentals of modern publishing on its head. Revenue from traditional media avenues have declined in the economic down turn, undermining what had been a reliable marketing strategy, pushing marketers to find alternate channels to supplement their traditional marketing efforts to more effectively reach their key audiences.
Many have turned to a combination of social media and public relations to educate and persuade customers in a variety of one-to-one and one-to-many campaigns. In the hands of communications professionals, who both know the right channels (traditional, online and social media) and how to create a compelling message framework over three platforms social media (Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia), online outlets (websites, Web video, blogs) and the press (print and online). The primary objective is the same: to create a position in your market and industry that will distinguish your company and products from the competition to drive sales and business development opportunities.
Message Development – Modern corporate, brand or product messaging is consistently evolving as audiences are segmented on a global basis more than ever before, requiring consistent evolution and adjustment. It’s important that your communications team work in coordination with your sales and project management teams to create key themes and supporting messages to educate customers about the benefits and capabilities that can be translated into the three primary communications platforms – online, the press and social media.
Media Relations – Your media relations efforts should feature a combination of press releases and consistent mentions and feature articles focused on your brand and products in key media. This kind of third-party validation is a high-impact strategy that can positively introduce, educate and persuade key audiences around the globe about your company and products. Here is a quick primer with a few tips on the key components of an effective media relations strategy:
• Press releases: Take the time to work with your PR resources (an agency, internal provider or a combination) to brainstorm creative ideas for press releases to ensure a steady stream of news, featuring a mix of product introductions, corporate milestones and thought-leadership initiatives.
• Media Relations: Thoroughly research and identify scheduled editorial topics and other relevant opportunities for your products and the company. Beyond these reactive types of opportunities, push your PR resources to create proactive pitch ideas and regularly communicate with key bloggers, industry influencers and journalists to position your executives as expert sources and thought leaders.
• Bylined Articles, White Papers & Case Studies: Be sure that your team identifies and pursues relevant industry topics to target for editorial outreach; pitch articles/case studies to targeted media that will be authored under the byline of the appropriate executive or engineering team member.
• Research: When news about your market, industry or competition breaks, good or bad, it’s essential to respond with an intelligent, swift communication to key members of the media. That content will come from a through, consistent research effort to understand and track key markets and competitors.
Social Media - Blogs, message boards, forums, YouTube and Wikipedia have become an important source of news for interested audiences. In the developing landscape of modern media, it’s essential to aggressively and strategically establish and support a social media presence which will create opportunities for your key audiences to actively connect with the company about its products and technology. Here are four keys to an effective social media effort:
• Listen and Learn: Monitor and properly respond to news or information posted about your company and its products on the top-25 industry and technology blogs.
• Concise, Consistent Communication & Content: Distribute relevant industry news and trend stories to appropriate audiences through key blogs, forums and social media tools.
• Build a Storefront and Expand: Establish a corporate and, if applicable, a technology-specific blog. Participate in and monitor appropriate LinkedIn groups, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels where executives and product managers can post news, new product information and industry updates (where legally permissible and appropriate).
• Wikipedia - Control the Library: Create, monitor and edit (where appropriate) corporate, product and technology Wikipedia pages to reflect the position and history of both the company and its executives.
There’s a tremendous opportunity available to marketers today, as now is the time to ‘step on the accelerator,’ as the global economy begins to recover from the chaos of the last few years. This opening is short and there is no time to waste and implementing effective communications plan aimed towards these platforms will get your company’s technology product in front of the influencers that make buying decisions.
Matt Landry manages marketing communications and public relations strategy and execution, focused on integrated marketing programs for a range of high-technology companies. Landry is a vice president at Matter Communications, a full-service public relations agency in Newburyport, MA and Providence, RI that works with consumer and high-technology clients across the US and Europe. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @mattmatter.