In my previous blog post, I talked about how to create an effective marketing strategy around 5G innovations. Now, I’ll dive into PR strategies for cutting through the increasing market chatter around this exciting next wave of technology so your product or service doesn’t get lost in the fray.
Rethink relationship building.
The first step to establishing credibility around 5G is personalizing your media relations strategy. Given the advent of social media, it’s easy to overlook desk side and coffee meetings, but these in-person opportunities are still the number one way to strike a good working relationship with a journalist.
Email outreach has become as impersonal as dating applications. To stop a journalist from “swiping left,” make sure that you have a well-crafted headline and a succinct ask that keeps them coming back for more. Rather than pitching en masse via bulk email blasts, take the time to craft personal notes offering in-person briefings using hooks that specifically speak to their unique beat, likes and needs.
The most valuable information you can provide reporters is a fully packaged story that combines data, customer case studies, edgy expert insights and multimedia assets that help shape the story. Has your client recently published a case study or whitepaper? Do they have an infographic or video available? Make writing the story easy for the reporter. By demonstrating that you’ve taken the time to get to know a writer and customize a story just for them, the more likely they will be amenable to covering what you have to say.
Once you’ve established a good working relationship with the media, make sure that you keep abreast of their broader editorial flow, in tandem with emerging trends in your industry. PR never sleeps, so make sure you have the tools and resources in place to inform and enhance the angles you craft and content you develop. Consider using a feed reader to avoid being overburdened with Google Alerts and schedule set times throughout the day to monitor relevant headlines and industry reports so you can jump on them quickly if news breaks.
Check your message.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all enterprise buyers are familiar with your solution’s specific use case or solution differentiators. Think beyond product. In addition to building out solid content around where you fit in the 5G landscape and preparing your leadership to speak to its benefits, take time to establish messaging that resonates with your key buyer personas and what makes them tick.
You are writing not only for the decision-maker, but other organizational influencers and stakeholders who may sway the purchasing decision. Develop a messaging platform that truly communicates your value to the market and ensures your brand story can be adapted to your audiences and communications channels. The goal is to provide a clear business case for your 5G solution without intimidating prospects by starting the conversation at the wrong level. For example, avoid jumping too far in the technical “weeds” if you’re trying to sway a CFO who really wants to hear about the ROI your innovation can provide.
They key is delivering your message via a content strategy that speaks the right language to a specific buyer at the right time in their journey. Building thought leadership and awareness? Leverage your blog by tying your story to hot trends. Talking to an engineer? Then a technical diagram can help relay the features and functionality of the solution. Working to influence the CIO? Create an ebook that explains the ease of deployment and how to easily integrate with their existing investments.
Engage and educate as the default.
To reach B2B consumers, skip the flashy promises and playing into the hype and focus on engaging your buyer. If you’re struggling to differentiate your brand’s voice, monitor platforms like Yammer, Quora and Reddit to get a pulse for what topics are getting pickup among your stakeholders. Are there frequently asked questions that aren’t being addressed? Is there a sudden shift in sentiment that the media is highlighting? You can pepper answers to these concerns into your content and media pitching to show that you are in tune with your audience.
The key to 5G-related communications is inclusion and not alienating those who may be unfamiliar and even afraid of the nature of the technology. In addition to monitoring social media and corporate forums, take advantage of surveys and other sales data to gauge where your customers stand in the adoption cycle, rather than relying on market hype and projections to drive your PR strategy.
Lead by example.
According to Nielsen, over ninety percent of people still trust word of mouth versus brand messaging, so having a CEO actively involved in PR can be critical. However, they are not the only executives who should receive media training. Think of tapping your CTO, VP of Engineering or Director of Sales for compelling thought leadership. The last thing you want to do is decline a media opportunity when another well-qualified executive can execute.
Take advantage of onboarding sessions with incoming leaders to get them up to speed with best practices for interacting with media and provide a handbook for future reference. Schedule media training to make sure all subject matter experts are on board with delivering consistent and quotable soundbites, and know the process for responding to a crisis situation should the need arise.
Teach leaders how to speak on behalf of the company, as well as how to respond to tough criticism without tarnishing the brand. Preparation is key for live and rapid-fire situations, so arm your spokespeople with the tools to represent the brand in the best light at all times.
Also set clear guidelines and expectations for social media and crisis communications. While Facebook, Twitter and the like are great at humanizing leadership, they open up a can of worms in terms of compliance and liability. From a PR standpoint, an executive must strike a balance between personability while being prepared to answer a diverse range of challenges on behalf of the company across social media.
Amplify your voice.
5G plays into a large system of stakeholders who all want to feel heard and valued. Make sure that your annual content calendar is flexible enough to be refreshed to address pressing industry trends and other unexpected opportunities to promote your brand. Look beyond "newsjacking" and consider promoting fresh research, regulatory reviews or your latest partnership. The key to successful PR around 5G is delivering high-quality content that is timely enough to meet the core needs and concerns of your stakeholders. Relating product features and benefits are one thing, but aligning your business model with current conversations around 5G will ensure your brand’s staying power. Most importantly, make sure your communications channel strategy is aligned so that content is amplified and optimized to reach your audience and doesn’t just sit on your website or social channel unread.
If you have a 5G technology and a strong story to tell, contact Merritt Group to begin the next stage of your journey.