Just when you thought you had your marketing efforts under control someone asks you what you have in place for a PR strategy, and you think “do MSPs really need PR?” In short, yes, every company with a marketing strategy (and that should be all of them) should have a PR strategy to go along with it.
5 Reasons You Should Have a PR Strategy
You might be thinking that the services you offer as an MSP are kind of dry to be sending out press releases, but PR goes far beyond the occasional press release. Here’s why having a PR strategy is important for every MSP.
1. Gain Visibility & Credibility
Every little bit of media coverage your organization receives gives your company visibility and credibility, with potential buyers and search engines that help those potential buyers find you. Every niche blog write-up, customer review, newswire press release and thought leadership piece included in your PR strategy contributes to your public image.
2. Highlight the Interesting
Your team has knowledge and news that’s worth sharing. It may not always be news to everyone, but it will definitely be new, interesting and informative to someone. Some things you may want to approach the press about are:
- When you start providing new technologies to your clients. Describe how this technology helps your clients and the community in general.
- When you hit a business milestone. It could be a certain number of years in business, a number of clients reached or a financial milestone.
- If you have a unique way of doing business that has helped you to grow. People love growth stories! They can learn from them and apply them to their own business, which creates goodwill in your industry.
3. Position Your Company as a Thought Leader
By now you may have heard about the practice of thought leadership. Forbes once defined a thought leader as:
“A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”
Thought leadership is a relatively new element to PR, brought on by the multitude of online publications that are hungry for a constant flow of content. Buyers trust recommendations from real people more than any other form of “marketing.” So when someone from your organization has a thought leadership piece published they are helping to build trust with the community of readers and potential buyers.
If you’re considering entering the realm of thought leadership for your PR strategy, start by:
- Determining who your target audience is
- Brainstorming at least three stories that you could tell and what those stories would teach your target audience
- Searching out publications that cater to your target audience and are interested in publishing your pieces
4. Handle Social Media Coverage and Connect with Customers
Before the advent of social media, it was difficult for customers (happy or disgruntled) to talk about your company in public. Now it’s easier than ever with platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn and so on. Platforms full of people ever ready to hear about someone’s experience with your company.
This is where the “public” in public relations really comes in. How you converse on social media will be a reflection of your company image, whether you intend it to be or not. If you don’t want to get caught in an ugly conversation keep a few simple rules in mind:
- Don’t ignore bad press. Brushing it under the carpet will only make you look guilty
- Converse with everyone who talks about (or to) your organization, good or bad, so they feel heard and understood
- If someone spreads misinformation about your company bring the truth to light in the most diplomatic way possible
5. Demonstrate You Are an Active, Growing Company
When you search your company’s name is your website the only item that shows up? That’s good enough, right? Sometimes it might be, but often it’s not. In the world of PR and marketing, no news is not good news.
You may think I’m exaggerating, but let me tell you a true story. A friend of mine had just been appointed as the new CEO of a software company that had been badly managed in recent years by his predecessor. The company had been around for 12 years, but had been struggling. So, my friend, the new CEO, really got down to business and got involved in as many prospective deals as he could.
During this time he came across one deal that seemed like a perfect fit in every way possible, so when he found out that the buyer decided to go with a competitor he was genuinely confused. He called up the buyer to find out where they had gone wrong and the buyer expressed concern over the lack of activity and visibility of the company. No news, no social, no excitement, no nothing.
The buyer wanted to work with a company that was growing and vibrant, and cared about their industry and community. Many buyers have similar thoughts because they want to know that they are working with a company that is truly invested and interested in growing.
The moral of the story? Doing social media and PR may not win you a deal, but it certainly can lose it.
Stay Tuned for More on Developing a Winning PR Strategy
I hope this information has lead you closer to understanding why MSPs with a marketing strategy need a PR strategy to go along with it. The why is a good place to start, and in my next post I’ll talk about the how and pass on some tips and tricks for a successful PR strategy.