Imagine you’ve created a product or service that’s going to have a huge impact — for instance, you’re the first bank to offer a cryptocurrency that’s FDIC insured. You’ve made it easy and safe for people to buy and manage crypto, and you need to get the word out about this “new normal”.
In support of these efforts, you need a solid demand generation plan to create demand for your new product or (in this example) service. Ebooks, supporting blogs, email campaigns, and paid advertisements are all part of a successful demand gen strategy, but one important element often overlooked is public relations (PR).
PR goes far beyond the crisis communications, press releases, and other talking points often associated with it. Using the principles behind PR tactics in your demand gen strategy can make a huge difference in its success.
Take it from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates who said it best: “If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget, I’d spend it on PR!”
Let’s take a look at why you should include PR tactics in your demand gen strategy and how to do it successfully.
Successful public relations, like content marketing, is about one thing: relevant storytelling that makes an impact. With the right hook, PR can essentially open the door to the buyer’s journey by generating awareness around your brand. This can occur in several ways:
When it comes to PR tactics, it’s the quality not the quantity that counts.
So if you’re pitching an article idea, a guest blog post topic, or a social media influencer, be sure to communicate the value that publication or influencer will receive. Do you have new data that can help someone improve their operations? Do you have a case study with real, reportable metrics that can inspire someone to tackle a problem differently? Do you have an expert opinion that hasn’t been expressed and can help solve a pain point?
Think back to the pain points of your buyer personas. How does what you’ve created or will create in the form of a contributed piece help solve those pain points? That’s the key message you should be communicating when making your pitch.
You’ve got your content, and you know exactly what pain point or points it addresses. You’re ready to take it to the masses. Next question: How do you know which outlets to pitch or who to contact?
That’s where a media list comes in — but not a huge, long list purchased from PR software companies. We’re talking about taking a little time to do some research to come up with four or five publications you think best target your buyer personas.
The best way to find out which publications your audience reads: ask them. During interviews for your buyer insight process, ask your interviewees where they get their industry information. If you’re unable to ask them, think of the industry your buyer persona serves and some of the pain points he or she deals with, and research highly regarded publications in that industry. Chances are you’ll find a few, and when you do, you can start formulating your pitches.
Let’s go back to the FDIC-insured cryptocurrency banking example. With the target of investors, you might target a publication like Investing.com that’s geared toward providing financial market insights to financial traders and investors.
Bloggers and editors are just like the rest of us — they’re strapped for time when it comes to sifting through mountains of emails or reading irrelevant pitches. Before you hit send on that pitch, you’ll want to first make sure you have the correct contact person. All it takes is a little research to find out who covers what.
When formulating your pitch, it’s important to keep it short and to the point:
For example, if you’re pitching a contributed article to Investing.com about debunking the myths behind bitcoins, you might include data/research that supports the confusion around bitcoins, examples of a common misconception or two, and your credentials as an industry expert within the pitch.
The pitching process works similarly for influencer marketing, too. Whether the goal is to do a one-time promotion or form a long-term partnership, your pitch should communicate the value that comes with promoting your brand or product/service versus the benefits it brings to you. For instance, they might be the first user to set up an account at the cryptocurrency bank — and if they are, highlight that exclusive offer before you ask about them sharing their user experience.
Sometimes your pitch will get declined or you won’t receive a response back from an editor — and that’s okay. You can use other tools to generate awareness for your brand.
On LinkedIn, everyone can use the publish feature. To that end, consider writing a series of articles that you can then share on LinkedIn. For example, if you’ve written an eBook on the future of cryptocurrency and financial markets, you can use each section of the eBook to generate an article.
Just make sure that your LinkedIn profile is updated before using this feature. If you’re going to generate awareness, you’ll need to at least have a profile picture, your current employment information, and a company page.
Unsure of where to start? Here are a handful of tips:
The value in listening to your audience can’t be overstated. What are they talking about on social media? What are their social platforms of choice? (Another helpful buyer insight question to ask.) If your content can provide an answer, let them know.
Participate in LinkedIn groups and chime in with advice where appropriate. As an example, you may find that there’s a lack of clarity over the different types of cryptocurrency in an investor group — and if you can share an infographic that easily breaks down the different types, you’ll give your audience the immediate gratification they want. Along with answering other people’s questions, you can also kickstart your own discussions and pose some of your own questions.
Using PR effectively in your demand generation marketing can give your content the boost it needs to get in front of the right people. Effective PR not only helps begin the buyer’s journey, but it can also help you form lasting relationships with editors, bloggers, and other influencers in your industry. And these partnerships are invaluable to your continued success in the future.