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Time to Spring Clean Your PR Strategy

Time to Spring Clean Your PR Strategy

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the flowers and trees are blooming. It’s that time of the year when I think about Spring cleaning, especially living in Atlanta where everything inside and out is covered in pollen. As I was dusting my entire house last weekend trying to rid it of the fine yellow dust covering EVERYTHING (the struggle is real y’all); I started thinking about how to spring clean your PR strategy and what would benefit the most from a little extra attention.

Media Lists

The media landscape is constantly in transition.  Journalists change positions, beats, contact information, etc. They might have altered their interest in specific topics. Throughout the year, we try to keep our press lists up-to-date, but spending some extra time going over your media list, updating the notes based on feedback from pitches and researching new media outlets can be a great use of time.

Messaging

This is a great opportunity to review your business’ messaging and assess if it needs updating. Perhaps you’ve announced new products in the last six months, or perhaps the industry has developed a new acronym for your niche, or maybe there is a new piece of healthcare legislation that is key to what your business does that should be mentioned in your messaging. Maybe you’ve learned more throughout the year about what your key audiences want to hear. Now is a great opportunity to take another look at your key messages to make sure they are conveying what you want them to and effectively reaching your target audiences.

PR Coverage

With a fresh look at your media lists and messaging, it would also be timely to review your coverage.  Where have you received the most placements? Are any angles played out at this point? What outlets have you not gotten coverage in that you want to be in? What angles do you need to push harder?  Are you actually reaching your target audiences with these outlets? A review of all of this will help you spring forward to make your coverage blossom even more.

Events

We PR people like to develop our annual plans generally at the beginning of each year.  But so many details for events such as conferences and tradeshows are updated throughout the year.  Determining which conferences you plan to attend, submit a speaker application to or want to include in your content strategy is a key component to any PR campaign. Take this time to update your events list with deadlines for speaking and any other promotional activities.

Review and Set New Goals

With a fresh perspective on where you’ve been and what you have to work with, it is also a great time to review the progress you’ve made in achieving your goals and updating them or maybe upgrading them. Utilize the S.M.A.R.T. goal format as a best practice.

Some of these recommendations take some ongoing maintenance but think of this time as a chance to really dust off what you are doing with your PR campaign and apply a fresh strategic approach to it. So, before you grab a vacuum, go grab a pen and review your PR strategy to help your business make the most of its PR activities.

 

So you just landed a ventrue capital investment and want some media coverage

So You Just Landed a Venture Capital Investment and Want Some Media Coverage

Closing a venture capital (VC) investment is a big deal for any young company.

After all, less than 1 percent of all U.S. companies receive VC money. A VC investment represents market validation. An experienced group of industry veterans has decided that your company holds the promise and potential to make them (and maybe even yourself and a few of your employees) rich. They think you have an innovative idea, and their cash will serve as the catalyst sparking that growth.

Sounds great – and it is. Landing VC money is a huge accomplishment for any company that is able to make it through what is generally an ultra-competitive process.

It’s also a great opportunity to generate some media coverage, which for many young companies, will represent their first introduction to the market and first occasion to share their stories with potential customers, partners, acquirers and other investors.

The only problem? Announcements of VC investments happen all the time, so the media is not lacking in coverage options. To make sure your announcement about obtaining a venture capital investment gets noticed, keep these four integral principles in mind.

Do not withhold the dollar amount: If you’re looking to create media interest at all, I cannot stress enough the importance of including the dollar amount of the investment. This is a very important point for reporters who need some way of assessing the gravity of all the funding announcements they see. Obviously, $50 million will look better in headlines than $5 million, but $1 million looks a lot better than nothing. In my reporter days, when I saw a funding announcement without a dollar amount, it immediately went to the bottom of my queue of potential upcoming stories. Don’t fumble away this valuable opportunity by failing to get approval from your investors to include the dollar amount.

Describe how you’ll use the investment: All reporters expect that you’ll use your recent cash infusion to drive “growth,” but they’ll want more specifics than that. What are your key measures of growth? If it’s customer acquisition, what type of customers are you looking to acquire? If it’s employee headcount, how many are you looking to hire? (BONUS: Including potential jobs numbers in an area can help you get into local media AND aid in your recruiting efforts.) If it’s revenue, by what percentage are you hoping to grow revenue in the next year? Obviously, you don’t want to reveal any secret strategies to competitors, but your investment announcement provides an opening to begin shaping your company’s story and the way it’s publicly perceived. Do that by articulating a clear vision for the future that describes exactly what “growth” means to you.

Make sure executives are available for interviews on the day of the announcement: For the chance to pose questions like those mentioned above – plus plenty more – reporters will be interested in speaking with a top company executive, preferably the CEO. After coordinating key talking points with the CEO, be sure to coordinate schedules. As important as a funding announcement is, it’s not realistic to expect an executive to block off her entire day for interviews. But one or two decent chunks of time on the day of the announcement isn’t too much to ask.

Be sure to include investor and customer quotes: A VC investment serves as an important representation of market validation, and the funding announcement is a chance to shout that validation from the rooftops. A quote from the investor is a must, explaining why the VC firm thinks this company is one to take a risk on, why the market will ultimately choose their technology as a winner and what type of growth potential exists in this particular market niche. For bonus points, include a customer quote explaining (preferably with quantifiable outcomes) exactly how your technology helped them address a significant business problem.

Yes, it can be difficult to gain media coverage for venture capital announcements due to all the stiff competition out there. But it is possible to get journalists’ attention.

Drafting an announcement that follows the key principles above will help your announcement stand out while giving journalists what they want and need – a good, complete story to tell. And the same story that helped you win the investment in the first place.