With changes to Google advertising policy and Facebook and Instagram shifts, public relations, or PR, could be the new key to lead generation. Because of the way sponsored content gets throttled by the algorithms, your potential clients are more likely to engage with your PR pieces, before they get served your sponsored content. Does this mean that PR can actually generate leads? This is a controversial approach in many organizations, especially service-based industries like tech; why spend time on PR and earned media when you can engage your audience directly with targeted ads? People don’t engage with PR around tech startups, right? Many businesses are making this mistake, assuming that they don’t need to focus on a PR strategy. But, could PR be the new secret to leads?
In our experience, PR can drive lead generation. We’ve got recommendations for when you’re planning your PR strategy and ideas for combining PR and your lead generation strategy. Let us show you that PR is just as vital to your company’s success as having a marketing strategy at all.
Can PR Drive Lead Generation for a Tech Startup?
In one word? Yes.
PR can also drive awareness in general audiences, which can result in leads later. With PR, you’re reaching a wider audience than targeted ads allow for. This audience may comprise your primary segment, but may also include prospects that you hadn’t considered before. By offering general audience interpretations of your brand, you drive awareness across a larger group of people.
PR can also build awareness by:
- Capturing the attention of readers/viewers
- Educating potential buyers/audience
- Equipping your target audience with necessary information about your company, service, and/or product
- Targeting your audience where they make purchasing decisions, find news, and/or look for advice to navigate challenges in your industry
In general, PR can be an incredibly powerful tool in lead generation. People are more likely to engage with the information they trust and that offers them solutions/information they need. However, there are some do’s and don’ts to be careful of when you’re adding PR into your marketing campaigns.
Recommendations for PR & Lead Generation Campaigns
Yes, PR can be a powerful and lucrative tool — if done well. When done effectively, PR is combined with content marketing strategies to gain the most out of earned media. Take our tips into consideration when planning your marketing and PR campaigns, or while incorporating PR into your business strategy.
Implement data-driven campaigns: Data is a marketer’s and PR specialist’s best friend! Plan how you will collect/use data from your earned media. Will you examine comments, shares, or post engagements? Website analytics through interlinking? Then, use this data to address some of the most common questions/concerns you are seeing in your prospective leads. This will show customers that you are listening to their needs and considering their perspectives.
Tell good stories: The key to being featured is to tell a good story. Earned media is a process, involving reaching out to writers and journalists of relevant publications. By telling a good story, you can engage your audience and encourage more trust in your brand. This can lead to capturing the attention of prospects and even positioning yourself as a thought leader. Thought leaders are a very valuable position, as they offer more credibility and authority in your industry.
Make your story easy to embrace, understand, and share: After you’ve crafted a good story, it must connect with your audience. Include links, videos, and images to tell your story! Studies have shown that multimedia coverage can attract attention 3-5 times more than traditional releases. Make sure your audience can engage with the message you are trying to convey and make it easily digestible and shareable. The more shareability a piece has, the more coverage you can get!
Use CTAs: CTAs, or call-to-actions, are incredibly helpful in encouraging readers to take action. Drive readers/viewers back to your landing page or other content on your site. This helps pull in more information and data; offers opportunities to collect contact information, and track analytics/sources people are coming from. CTAs can encourage your audience to take further actions after reading/viewing your story.
By considering all this information and putting these recommendations into practice, you’re more likely to find success with your PR strategy. You’ll be able to integrate PR into your existing campaigns and attract other potential leads!
Ideas for Combining PR & Lead Generation
There are a variety of ways you can combine PR and lead generation. You don’t need to be stuck in just one form of media! Depending on your target audience, you can establish content in a variety of ways. Some ideas are:
- Editorial outreach
- Editorial outreach refers to a feature in a magazine, newspaper, on television, or the radio. This type of content is shown to lead directly to more calls, interest, and increased web traffic. These PR pieces provide your business with more credible, third-party endorsements. Use these to establish credibility, trust, authority, and even to label yourself a thought leader.
- Press releases
- Press releases are documents directly from your organization, shared with different publications or channels. This is a relatively inexpensive way to drive media exposure while offering direct access to your audience across different media channels. Press releases also help your company appear more in search engines (SEO) and can improve your search rankings. Just be careful not to overuse press releases.
- Participate in, or sponsor, an event. You can be a brand sponsor, display company signage, have a table at the event, run a workshop, and more. These offer opportunities to distribute your materials or showcase products/services, connect your brand with the event to attendees and even speak with prospective leads.
- Long-form content
- Long-form content, or longer pieces of content shared with outside publications or on your blog, are key to a successful PR strategy. It’s an excellent tool to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge of your industry while establishing organizational credibility in your target market. These can vary in form, from blogs, articles, newsletters, to webinars, case studies, or speeches. If done correctly, it can show you understand your customer’s perspective and their pain points. Be sure to include lots of keywords, links back to your website/other content, and optimize the content for search engines.
- Guest blogging
- Guest blogging is not to be underestimated! This involves partnering with another company to write a blog for them (featuring your company) or addressing problems/challenges in your industry. We recommend discussing industry perspectives about issues, challenges, or trends your company is seeing. Guest blogging can position you as an expert/thought leader in the field. It can lead to increased credibility, exposure, and even some networking opportunities!
- Product reviews
- This type of PR has outside publications or experts reviewing your products/services. You can arrange product demonstrations in advance of release, or offer exclusive details to publications focused on your industry. These are highly underrated- don’t forget to take advantage of them when you can!
PR is an often overlooked and underestimated form of lead generation for b2b tech companies. By following our recommendations and integrating our ideas into your PR strategy, you’ll find a new avenue to success.
(Note: The article was first published on business2community.com website)