Wondering how to get ahead of the competition? Here is one way to acomplish that! ⚔️
As a tech startup, you already have your work cut out for you. You are going up against established businesses generating revenue from existing clients.
While you may not have the budget and infrastructure to compete against them, what you can do instead is get your SaaS brand right in front of your target audience.
One way to do this is by launching a successful PR plan. When done correctly, you can get through the right people who will become your brand advocates. From here, all the chips will fall into place, and you’ll have a steady stream of clients coming your way as well.
This post will go through the different steps in designing a PR plan that will help get your startup off the ground.
What you’ll learn: ⭐
#1 Determine What You Want to Accomplish 🥇
Before you start planning your public relations campaign, it is important to decide the desired outcome of that strategy.
Are we looking for increased sales and leads? Or are we trying to increase brand awareness and valuation by focusing on partner engagement?
As a company that offers B2B SEO services, one of the first steps we take before we start working with our clients is getting a grasp of their goals.
When setting PR goals, remember that the purpose of these campaigns is to support your startup’s objectives. Most dwell on how much website traffic or social media mentions your brand received from your campaigns. Instead, focus on the effects of these metrics and whether or not they helped meet your larger goals.
#2 Lay Out Your Brand Positioning 📈
PR is more than just a tool to get your product or service in the spotlight. Also, think of ways on how PR efforts can elevate everything else you do because it makes up who you are as a brand.
Branding starts from the inside out: what kind of person/company does my brand make me? What feelings are provoked by my logo or slogan?
When PR campaigns answer these questions, they help your startup’s brand appear more credible while delivering positive ROI in public opinion, both of which could boost sales numbers.
At the same time, you want people who interact with your brand to feel proud by association. It could help them feel empowered and excited, or relieved and comforted with your products and services.
In the end, giving your customers a positive feeling about your brand is what matters most in public relations to how it ultimately supports your company’s bottom line.
#3 Define Your Startup’s Target Audience 🎯
Once you have established your brand, it will be much easier to identify your target audiences, which is a crucial component of effective PR campaigns.
This audience could be made up of individual consumers, businesses (especially those you do business with), potential investors, employees, other members of the industry, or a combination of them all.
The audience also depends on the product or service you’re selling. A video game startup, for instance, has a different audience than a startup in the home improvement industry. But a video game startup focused on education can have a couple of target audiences.
To have a much clearer idea of who to target, you must develop a buyer persona with the help of your brand. Identify the demographics of the people that will benefit the most from your startup. The person will help you address your audience’s pain points, interests, desires, and others that will help you craft a highly targeted PR plan.
Also, you can gain insights into which media outlets your audience consumes the most. Use this information to help you launch your PR campaign exclusively on these channels to maximize ROI.
#4 Gather Market Intelligence 🧠
You can’t create a PR plan in a bubble. It needs to resonate with what’s happening in the industry so your audience can relate to your key messages.
You don’t want to risk your campaigns falling on deaf ears or, worse, generate backlash from people that could stunt your startup’s growth.
To do this, you need to conduct extensive market and industry research. A great shortcut for this is hiring a veteran company that offers outsourced marketing services, chances are that they have a stunning data base of marketing research.
For starters, you can look at available data and current trends that speak about your market as a whole. This will give you a good indication of where things are at and how you can target your PR plan to hit your mark.
Tools will come in handy when it comes to market research. For instance, social media marketing tools possess features that allow you to listen to what users are saying about your niche. This helps you better understand what they would want and need from your startup so you can address these concerns in your PR campaigns.
Competitor analysis is also another way to scour the landscape and see where you are compared to them. Aside from listening on social media to what people say about similar startups to yours, check out their social media and website analytics as well.
Find out the various performance metrics of your competitors, such as social media followers, website traffic, and others. This way, you can reverse-engineer their campaigns and find out what they’ve been doing right all this time. Apply the effective tactics your competitors use into your PR strategy and put your spin on it.
#5 Determine Channels for Your Audience 📢
As mentioned, you need to know the different outlets and channels from where your audience consumes content. For example, if most of your audience spends a lot of time on YouTube, you should consider allocating all your resources to creating video content for your PR campaign. Or if they prefer listening to great podcasts, create your channel or try and get interviewed on existing and established podcasters.
Also, influencer marketing has become one of the more legitimate ways to get traction with your audience. Since people trust these micro-influencers, you can get help from them to promote your startup and piggyback on their authority.
#6 Strategize Your Content Plan with Storytelling
Developing a content strategy for your PR plan is more than just publishing great content.
To be fair, having great social media post ideas — each published for different reasons — can help you gain traction in the market. But their effectiveness is amplified even more if they all strive towards a single goal.
Therefore, you need to tie them all together also to strengthen your brand identity and consistency. And one way to do this is by weaving them into a story.
Let’s face it: most startups offer the same products and services more often than not. The only differentiator among them is the connection they’ve built with their respective audiences. And arguably, the best way to develop a relationship with them is through storytelling.
There are four components of an effective story:
- ☑️ People or a person experiencing the hero’s journey.
- ☑️ The process by which your products and services are made.
- ☑️ The actual product that could help people in their journey.
- ☑️ Place where the people/person in the story lives or where products and services are made.
You can create content for each of these four components or a combination of any of them. And by telling your brand story effectively through them, you can change their thoughts and behavior towards your brand in a positive way. Also, by aligning your campaign through storytelling, you get all team members on board with the idea, thus helping everybody be on the same page.
#7 Prepare Your Pitches in Advance 🔮
For some of your PR pieces, you can publish them on your website, blog, and social media. But for others, you must pitch to newspapers, online publications, and other media outlets to get published there boosting your marketing strategy.
When pitching your story, you need to know that almost all outlets have an editorial calendar they follow and have stories lined up from other businesses. They will dictate when your content will be published.
Therefore, you need to find the outlets and reach out to them at the earliest. Know their upcoming schedule and where you think you can fit your campaign in there. Also, get a copy of their media kit requirements before your pitch, such as press releases, branded custom images, and others.
This process can be done much more efficiently by employing a company that offers professional marketing services.
Another thing to worry about is the actual pitch. Not only do you need to have a good story for publications to share on their properties, but you also need to present all the necessary media assets. That includes video, images, and copy.
They may request more assets from you before they eventually publish your story. In that case, you need to produce them before the deadline.
What you want to achieve here is to build relationships with third parties by showing you can communicate with them clearly and deliver the content for your PR campaign on time. This way, you can turn back to them for your upcoming campaigns. Even better, they might publish your content sooner, thanks to your existing relationship with each of them.
#8 Have a Follow-Up Plan to Your Pitch ✍️
After submitting your pitch, there’s a chance that publications haven’t read it yet or think your story isn’t newsworthy to be published on their channels.
In any case, you need to send them a follow-up request to review your pitch. Add new information about your campaign to help change their minds and convince them to run your story.
You can share the constant strides your startups have been making lately, such as new products and features. You can also use positive customer feedback to show publications that you have the support of your audience.
Send these to them within a week after you sent the pitch but didn’t receive any reply. Send more follow-ups if you deem necessary, but make sure not to send too many as this may annoy them.
#9 Measure the Success of Your Campaign 📐
Once the PR plan is executed, wait for some time before you track and measure its performance.
Assuming that you’ve done your due diligence, you should see positive results from your campaign.
At the same time, you want to see the actual data that caused these results. Maybe you can find ways to improve the performance of your upcoming campaigns.
To measure how your campaign fared, you must go back to your goals. If the purpose of your PR plan is to improve brand awareness, listen to the chatter on social media about your brand and determine the overall sentiment of their posts. At the same time, look at your website traffic and see how many new visitors you received after launching your campaign.
Startup companies usually deal with much smaller traffic and workload. However, once you reach a certain stage the traffic will begin to stagnate. Eventually, you will need to hire a company that offers enterprise SEO services so that your company can continue to receive more traffic.
All of these metrics help you generate insights about your brand’s current state and provide you with information on how you could move forward with your marketing strategy.
An effective PR campaign requires meticulous planning and research to get it right. The steps above should help you get in the right direction with your public relations plan. This way, you can get the recognition your startup deserves from your audience.
More importantly, you need to launch campaigns using insights from your previous ones consistently. You must know that public relations are not a one-time deal. It requires constant effort from your startup to strengthen your brand and help you eventually generate sales.
Ultimately, your startup should strive for long-term growth. And this can be achieved by developing a marketing plan and a SaaS SEO strategy that will constantly improve your PR plan, among other campaigns you have.