PR Beyond COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into the best-laid 2020 business and marketing plans. Industry trade shows, which historically have been critical venues for lead generation, were canceled or moved to a virtual format. We expect this to be the case for the rest of the year and likely into 2021. While these face-to-face events are on hiatus, it is still crucial to engage continuously with customers, prospects, and other influencers while also ensuring that you cater to their needs.
Here are some tips tech companies should embrace now and into the new year to connect with their audience and amplify their message.
Build your thought leadership
One of the most effective ways to stay in the public eye is to focus on thought leadership. Whether this is on your blog or as a guest contributor on a news site, well-researched, and well-written thought leadership pieces, get your brand out there. People are watching more than ever. Having engaging content that communicates your unique positioning will keep you in the public eye. At Engage PR, we invest much time building tailored thought leadership programs based on the client’s business needs, customer challenges, market drivers that the press cares about, and available resources to support those trends.
“According to Survey Monkey’s 2020 thought leadership report, 66 percent of marketers consider thought leadership a “top priority” for their PR. With 71 percent of respondents reporting that it has increased web traffic, 62 percent reporting an increase in lead generations, and 56 percent reporting more media mentions.”
The results were not a surprise to Engage PR. We have heard countless times from clients how a media interview that resulted in coverage or a contributed article that Engage PR secured resulted in a prospect’s inquiry. It means finding a PR team that understands your market, customers’ pain points, and has relationships with the media and analyst influencers that matter and elevate your point of view.”
Keep in mind that the pandemic has impacted many media outlets as well. Many of these sites are hungry for ad sales, and some are also looking for more third-party content. These types of opportunities are great platforms to get your messages heard. This is the time to let the market know who you are, what you’re about, and how you solve problems more than ever before, and if you’re not doing it, your competitors are.
Develop a more robust content strategy
We’re all now more online and have time to read and take in information in various formats. From blogs, whitepapers, to podcasts, content is an excellent way for your company to remain top of mind among current customers and new prospects. Your content strategy and activity, however, should reflect the times we are living in. Craft a short to mid-term plan for your content marketing. To get started, identify your current business priorities and goals. Determine how you can use content marketing to support those goals. Evaluate how your audience personas may have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. For instance, are their priorities still the same? What kind of content are they asking for or consuming? Finally, decide whether you have enough expertise on board to come up with your content strategy. If not, this is where a PR agency that understands your market can be a vital asset.
Engage in social media
Social media is a direct channel that amplifies your story, your service, what you’re announcing, and more. It’s also a powerful tool to address what’s happening in your industry, challenges your customers are facing, and what knowledge or expertise you have as an organization that could help your audience. Well written, smart posts that include tagging individuals, tracking companies, and using hashtags ensure that your content is found by the people looking for it. Also, being an advocate for your customers and partners is an excellent approach to building your own company’s relationships supporting businesses that support you, particularly during challenging times. Besides implementing these best practices on your own social media platform, Twitter handles or LinkedIn page, be active and respond to customers, partners, and even press posts. By Engaging and interacting, you’re bringing the spirit of marketing that can bring value to your business that lasts a long time, even after challenging times.
Be mindful of your message. If you’re doing great, consider that not everyone is
When you’re looking at how you’re approaching your marketing and PR, remember everyone is affected. Be mindful when you’re engaging with the marketplace. While it’s good to showcase your company’s success and progress, avoid overly optimistic messages that could seem advantageous to the situation. For tech companies providing critical connectivity, everything is now going digital. That’s good for your business. However, not everyone in the tech industry is faring as well. You have to consider other companies that are in a challenging position. Being empathetic and understanding that in the marketplace is important and how you convey your message is to avoid strong winning words like ‘We’re killing it’ could be perceived as bragging. Again, it’s good to talk about progress, raise up your team, but empathy goes a long way.
Make it personal
Because of the pandemic, people are adapting and doing more online. They’re leveraging more personal networks, reaching out more directly, more so than ever before. If you’re not making yourself well known, then you’re not going to be found. At the same, while digital experiences and virtual events may be the norm, we all need to remember how our messages and outreach may affect others. Zoom fatigue is real. Take time to consider the best format for your communication. As most of us continue working from home, our personal and professional lives have blended like never before. Taking time to send more personal outreach, skipping the video call for a simple email, scheduling break times during virtual events, and being aware of current developments in your target audience’s lives will go a long way.
Leverage the power of PR now and moving forward
By far, PR is your best asset to establish your company’s thought leadership, drive your content and social media campaigns, and ultimately communicate with your audience. As we go into the fall, it’s a good time to reevaluate, adapt your objectives and strategies, and outline what you want to achieve for the rest of the year and 2021.
The best way to adapt your PR and marketing strategy is to view it as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to connect with your clients and the public in new uncharted ways to prove that you’re more than just a company. It’s also an excellent opportunity to showcase the more human side of your brand’s personality because we are all going to need to rebuild together, and now is the perfect time to start.