A communicator on a small team can easily feel overwhelmed.
If you are the marketing lead at a growing tech business, you must juggle multiple strategies on a tight budget—with increased pressure from the leadership team to “move the needle” with your marketing investments. Your PR has likely been ad hoc and handled in-house to help drive brand awareness, but you’re wondering if it is time to invest in outside PR expertise to support your next growth phase.
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When is the right time for an organization to hire a public relations agency? There are three key turning points a scaling business should consider when investing in PR:
1. You are preparing for your next round of funding.
As you head into your next round of funding, you need investors to hear about your company for there to be any impact. Venture capitalist Mark Suster from Upfront Ventures supports PR’s role in raising visibility leading into a round. “Great PR could add $10 million to your valuation or increase your chances of closing a round 2x, and either case is a reason to make sure you have good press,” he says. “It’s much harder to get funded as a company nobody has heard of.”
Like any new relationship, you have to put yourself out there to meet the right person—and a well-placed story can do just that. Whether it is a industry insight piece raising the credibility of your CEO, a product feature or a growth story, meaningful articles in targeted media can put your company on investors’ radar and influence their opinions. In addition, good coverage can be included in investor roadshow presentations to demonstrate third-party validation and bolster company credibility.
2. You are constantly being asked to produce more content.
Content might be king, but you are struggling to keep up with the content demands from the sales, marketing and executive teams. You are being asked to create blog posts, longform pieces like eBooks and whitepapers, and social media content—all designed to engage potential customers and draw them into the sales funnel.
PR can help extend the life of your content with these two tactics:
- Repurposing existing content for targeted media outlets. You likely have a content library with stacks of blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers, case studies and data reports. A seasoned PR team with good writers can refresh, slice or combine pieces of content, pitching a new version to the media in the form of bylined articles or op-eds, giving that content new life in front of fresh eyes.
- Using secured media coverage as sales and marketing assets. Is your sales team constantly on you to develop new content tailored to a specific vertical? Look to PR. For example, if a sales goal for the year is to increase revenue in your healthcare vertical by 15 percent, your agency can execute a strategy that speaks directly to IT decision makers in the healthcare trade and vertical media. This secured media coverage—whether a market education piece from your CEO or standalone product feature—can then be used by the sales team as a touchpoint to move potential consumers.
3. You don’t have time to sharpen your competitive edge.
An experienced PR agency should act as an extension of your brand, being your eyes and ears in the competitive industry landscape to help you answer the following questions through research:
- On what key themes are your competitors hanging their hats in both the press and other marketing strategies?
- Are there gaps in competitor messaging that your brand can fill?
- Have competitors amped up their press and announcement strategy recently? Why and how can your brand enter the conversation?
- Is there an opportunity for your brand to take a contrarian stance and stand out from the noise competitors are creating?
By having a consistent pulse on the competitive landscape, you can create a stronger content strategy and your PR team will uncover more opportunities to secure meaningful press coverage.
Start by developing a list of possible agencies and asking trusted peers for recommendations, or research which agencies head up the PR for leading brands in your industry. Ultimately, you should choose a PR firm that not only demonstrates results, but shares insights into your unique business challenges.
Lindsey Groepper is the president of B2B SaaS PR firm BLASTmedia.