Invest in PR for the Long Game
Many organizations turn to cost-cutting measures as short-term fixes in today’s uncertain business climate. Public relations is often one of the first budgets to be trimmed – a strategy that may have costly downstream effects. Although these measures may bring some immediate respite from financial strain, damage to a brand’s reputation and visibility can remain long after inflationary pressures recede. As an investment into the long game of business success, a comprehensive PR strategy can be more productive than budget cuts. It is budget-friendly and resourceful, with an impact that outlasts turbulent times. Strategic communications demonstrate resilience and a determination to remain visible during a crisis or recession. Therefore, PR is a shrewd investment for businesses looking to surpass the competition and maintain long-term recognition and success with their audience.
Executives who think past short-term crises to sustain long-term success will continue to foster connections with current and prospective customers and stakeholders. Even analysts have acknowledged this, with Gartner highlighting long-term growth over short-term gains as a key driver of business success in 2023.
When the going gets tough, some companies decide to retreat. But, in reality, this is the perfect time to go on the offensive with your PR efforts. PR allows you to amplify your product or service, showcase your executive’s perspective, and help prospects learn more about you and your company.
Amid the worrying headlines and tech lay-offs, here are tips on making the most of your PR during times of uncertainty in the B2B tech landscape:
1. Strengthen trust through consistent messaging and PR activities
During times like these, PR investment ensures that customers and influencers see your company as a financially secure entity and a safe, long-term bet. An optimized PR program keeps your messaging authentic and transparent, helping you resonate with your target audience. Content surrounding your company or service should demonstrate a long-term commitment to your audience and their concerns, even if your customers’ budgets are tight right now. A comprehensive PR strategy that maintains clear messaging to your target audience across multiple channels can go a long way. Customers may remember a crisis in abstract terms, but they’ll always remember the concrete actions your company took to stay connected during that crisis. PR can keep your company or service top-of-mind once the economy bounces back by leveraging communications to establish a foundation of trust during tough times.
2. Build thought leadership/share of voice
Communicate your story and point of view when others —maybe even your competitors — are silent. It’s important to remember that bad times don’t last forever. The economy is cyclical, and we will get past this crisis. At best, your company may be financially sound but have limited news. A slower news cycle is the perfect opportunity to expand your company’s thought leadership campaign through a contributed article or executive interview program. The right PR partner can leverage your company’s strengths, assets and unique perspective with its own media relationships to secure coverage between news cycles. This is not an easy process, but it will have an impact now and well into the future.
3. Dig into how your customers receive communication
In this age of digital overload, media platform saturation and increasingly savvy customers, it’s essential to dig into your customers’ core needs and information sources if you want to set your brand apart from competitors. This can be accomplished by leveraging your PR team to evaluate and integrate current and novel approaches to brand journalism. Through content development, traditional media and social media, PR activity helps you better understand what your ideal customer needs and wants, helping you stand head-and-shoulders above the competition. Well-crafted stories that emphasize your company’s value from multiple perspectives — such as customers, industry analysts — can position your business for lasting success.
4. Targeted engagement through social media channels
Social media is an invaluable tool for cultivating and interacting with a B2B customer base. The right PR partner can help your company take a purpose-driven, deliberate approach to social media. The days of “spray and pray” are over. If your customer base mainly lives on LinkedIn, why would you invest time into Instagram or Facebook posts? Each platform has a purpose. LinkedIn is typically ideal for corporate networking and company news. Meanwhile, Twitter is usually the optimal platform for engagement with analysts and industry influencers.
A good PR agency helps you maximize the impact of your social media presence through a precise, targeted approach. Additionally, PR pros can enhance the visibility of your company blog through consistent promotion on appropriate channels, showcasing your company’s thought leadership cadence with relevant information and opinion pieces. This activates your audience and promotes meaningful engagement with your business.
PR agencies are effective because they come with built-in connections to the press and expert analysts. These relationships, or even a high-level awareness of the vital voices in your industry, can help drive meaningful discussions on the appropriate social media platforms. Actions may include thought leadership posts citing experts, posing engaging questions that are relevant to blog content or presenting open surveys to current and prospective customers.
5. Listen to your audience to learn about your audience
Throughout the dynamic history of PR, one thing remains – PR engagement is strengthened by listening to your audience. This helps you understand your customers’ needs and common problems. A comprehensive PR program can reveal your target prospects’ current actions and future concerns as we head into the new year, enabling you to tailor your efforts to those concerns. What are their needs? What problems must they solve and how does your product or service fit?
Industry analysts are an additional resource to leverage if your company wants to answer these questions. Different analyst firms bring different perspectives, but many share a key commonality. Most analysts talk directly with your customers and publish insights that will help your business. Others take a micro approach, looking at market share and significant drivers in key verticals. Diverse analyst interactions can help you uncover these answers and adjust your approach, priming your business for engagement when the economy recovers.
Invest in PR now to Foster Long-Term Success
PR is a long-term investment based on patient relationship building and consistency. Tech companies in it for the long haul have seen positive returns on this investment, even if it isn’t overnight. These companies often experience increased customer loyalty, market position, prospective interest, sales and brand reputation. While it might be tempting to cut PR to save a few dollars, your brand momentum may come to a screeching halt. Remember, your competitor is always ready to step in and take your place. PR is an essential B2B tool for keeping you in touch with your customers and prospects. If nothing else, remember that crisis is the time when the public needs to hear from you the most. Cost-effective, efficient, powerful PR is your ticket to standing out from the crowd and enhancing long-term brand visibility, even after the storm clears.