Today we bring you a guest post by Kevin McLaughlin, Principal & Co-Founder, Resound Marketing.
This post is presented by AirPR, a technology platform to increase PR performance. The San Francisco-based technology company is passionate about using data to show the true impact and value of PR.
It’s every entrepreneur’s dream – your company or product launches with a huge splash generating headlines across The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, TechCrunch and Mashable. Coverage appears in all your favorite media outlets, reaching all those prospective customers, valuable partners, wealthy investors, and the laundry list of other key stakeholders (including your parents).
Admittedly, not all launches will deserve quite that much fanfare, but a launch is your big moment and likely your meatiest PR campaign of the year.
But after the launch, many company founders are left with the “what next” feeling. Without sizzling company news, a pipeline of new features, or a funding announcement, what do you have to bend the ear of influential media and maintain that launch momentum?
Odds are you are actually sitting on a pile of powerful, untapped PR tools. Post-launch startups need to get creative and turn their business assets into a PR arsenal that drives ongoing chatter and media placements.
Beyond the standard news release, here are five campaign categories to help power your PR effort beyond your company or product launch. Feel free to copy/paste these right into your next PR proposal or marketing plan:
1. The Objective Expert: Position yourself to talk about your industry, not just your own wares. Introduce company founders and essential team members to key press contacts as objective experts, asserting them as a go-to resource to help interpret or comment on industry news. Demonstrate you know what media needs. The payoff may not be immediate, but this goes a long way in cultivating strong press relationships.
2. Bylined Articles/Contributing Authors: Turn professional perspectives into thought leadership pieces. Start by crafting 4-6 of your best headlines (that you know will attract readers), along with a sub-head and 3-5 bullets outlining the content. Shop this around to media where you have seen others contribute comparable pieces. You can target business mainstream outlets (Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal Accelerators, Fast Company, Inc., Business Insider, etc.) or respected industry-trade outlets (like MediaBistro, as a totally random example).
3. Popping off on Pop Culture: Relate what you are offering and the problems you are solving to press-soaked pop culture events of the season. There are more eyeballs among the general mass consumer audience than there is in your industry sector – so this increases your chances of coverage. If you are in AdTech or E-commerce, this means illuminating trends around Cyber Monday or breaking down the Super Bowl ad hype. If you are in EdTech, this means offering tips around back-to-school, graduation, or college application deadlines. Even if you sell a B2B service, you can still connect with the general consumer audience via what is happening “behind the scenes,” even if you don’t actually sell directly to them.
4. Data Points & Benchmark Reports: Mine your collection of data to pinpoint industry trends, and then editorialize the findings. Offer a yearly or quarterly assessment on the industry you serve, or even create a weekly or monthly index if you deal with more real-time data. Encourage relevant media to use these metrics in their ongoing coverage of your industry, and of course, offer to interpret that data for their specific angle, as needed.
5. Case Studies: This is a classic PR tool. Pull compelling customer stories, editorialize the story, and shop these to the press. Just make sure your customer has given approval for the spotlight. Often, you’ll find that the people using your product/service are thrilled to be a reference, especially in the press. Be proactive in vetting the opportunity thoroughly, so you don’t waste time or leave an editor hanging waiting on customer approval.
There is no silver bullet for PR success — just a lot of hard work and hustle. And if you look in the right places, you will find a bevy of compelling, attention-grabbing story lines that will maintain that steady drumbeat in the press. Now grab a few weapons from that PR arsenal, and get out there and make some noise!
Kevin McLaughlin is Principal & Co-Founder of Resound Marketing, a top-rated national PR and social media marketing firm with offices in Princeton, NJ and Midtown Manhattan. Over 15 years, Kevin has been responsible for launching thousands of products for emerging startups and public companies across tech, consumer, and business services sectors.