“If you’re not appearing, you’re disappearing.” The legendary jazz drummer Art Blakey was describing the struggle for relevance in the entertainment business, but the quote speaks to just about every industry today.
The barriers to entry in any field are lower than ever. There are plenty of positives to this, especially in how it encourages more diverse voices to engage in the market and more creative, unconventional approaches to innovation and problem-solving. On the other hand, this means that sometimes the loudest voices drown out the ones that have the most substance.
You can have the best technology and the most experienced and charismatic people, but that won’t matter unless you can (1) rise above the noise and tell the world about it, and (2) convince the world to believe that you’re telling the truth. How do you do this? With a PR program that checks five key boxes:
1. Media Outreach, Relations and Coverage
Developing strong media relations is the first for a reason, and each of the remaining items feeds into this one. The power of traditional advertising isn’t what it used to be – it can get your name out there but it won’t convince anybody that you’re the real deal. The goal of media outreach is to get the media to report on what you’re up to in their own words, a perceived stamp of approval that lends credibility to your message.
2. Content Strategy
Good content should define your brand identity, on both a functional and a personal level. Content is an opportunity to show off. If you really know your stuff, prove it by backing it up with original data and insights. Align your content with industry trends and hot topics, and offer meaningful (and useful) interpretations of those trends that could only come from someone with your unique expertise. At the same time, inject your brand with a unique personality that speaks to your target audience and makes them want to hear more and spend more time interacting with the brand.
Note: Your social media strategy should be distinct from your content strategy and is not a pillar of a corporate PR program. Rather, it’s a tool for amplifying the accomplishments of successful PR and in most cases should be managed in-house. Stay tuned: we will go into more detail about effectively using social media as part of your B2B PR strategy in a future article.
3. Industry Analysts
High-quality content goes a long way, but it needs to be backed up by industry analysts. Getting your data and insights in front of the right people at, for example, Gartner and Forrester helps to position your brand as an expert in the field. When professional industry analysts trust you as a source, it legitimizes your brand’s credibility and increases brand awareness among partners and competitors.
4. Speaking Opportunities
As Art Blakey said, be appearing or be disappearing. Speaking opportunities are part performance and part networking, an opportunity for high-level executives to showcase their personal area of expertise and to boost brand visibility. In today’s market, relevance can be a hard thing to hold onto, so speaking regularly at strategically-appropriate events (usually unpaid) can give your brand much-needed exposure in front of the top industry analysts, thought leaders and decision makers in your industry.
5. Industry Awards
Of the five items on this list, industry awards are the most often neglected. They take a lot of time and money to enter, resources that could surely be better spent within the company, right? But winning awards comes with a myriad of benefits that can be hard to measure directly, including building credibility (which boosts the effectiveness of every other component of the PR strategy), boosting morale and offering free publicity which can strengthen your media relations. Perhaps most importantly, it can have a major impact on talent acquisition, helping you stack your deck with the industry’s best people.
These are the five pillars that make up an effective corporate PR program, each of them working in concert to elevate your brand messaging, identity and visibility.