Lucky Seven! Seven Tips for Successful US Media Relations

Building and maintaining a consistent and impactful earned media relations program in the United States (and indeed the UK) is a long-term investment for scale-up technology companies. 

In the challenging US-based tech media landscape, when a tech scale-up has ‘allegedly’ a great product proposition, and a sound business strategy, but no exposure, they can easily get buried among their lesser competitors. These ambitious tech businesses, with no media presence will find it even harder to stand out from the crowd, with current and prospective, investors, customers, partners and employees. So what can be done?

Here are some tips from one of our top quality PR partners on the west coast of America, who has outlined the Seven Tips for a successful US-based media relations program. 

1- PR could actually stand for personal relationships. Build them! Read, read, read. Do your homework on EACH journalist, their beats, their story writing style, their foibles, their proclivities. Today, social media offers ample opportunity to see what makes them tick and discover that entry point.

2– Strive to be a resource of insightful information to journalists. Be steeped in knowledge, not just a buzzword bingo pitcher. And don’t just pitch your client, but broader industry topics that have relevance for the reader, and your client.

3— In your pitches, set out the context and the why now. Answer the 5Ws and an H: who, what, where, when, why and how. These are the basic tenets of journalism.

4– Email blasts don’t work. Period. Once you accomplish #1, you will craft smart, custom pitches that can grab the media’s attention.

5– If at first you don’t succeed, try try, again. Timing is everything. Make sure your pitches are in sync with the news flow – e.g.: in tech, don’t try to pitch journalists on the day Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft (or those other larger beasts) are making their announcements, or you’ll be drowned out.

6– Have your own opinion. Vocalize. Be clever and smart. Maybe even a bit sassy. This builds your own brand and establishes street cred.  As with #1, follow journalists, go where they are (including on the right social media platforms), read their work, engage in conversation on the topic, the trend, the news developments relevant to your work. 

7 — News? The old adage man bites dog still rules but most times we do NOT have real “news” to offer the media. Yet clients often believe they do. Our job is to properly position the client within the larger industry and to pay attention to timely market news and trends, where the client is relevant and has something to say. Help the journalist understand that by talking with our client, they will gain greater insight into their beat.

Hopefully, you are living by these lucky seven tips (and we’re sure there are more), but if you want to discuss your US (and/or your UK) PR and media relations program needs, then click here to call to book a short intro strategy call to discuss your comms needs for 2024.

Five Tips For Finding the Perfect Comms Agency Partner

Whether you’re still lounging on your holiday sunbed, with a Piña colada in hand, or steadfastly steering the comms and PR ship for your business, it’s important for marketing and comms executives to consider what’s key when on the hunt for that perfect agency comms partner.

  1. Define the Team & Cultural Fit: One time, my agency team thought we’d won the business after delivering a great PR pitch to a tech firm… only to have its marketing director challenge us with a group task to complete in 20 minutes to evaluate our teamwork. Despite feeling like we had lost control of the meeting, we displayed agility, creative thinking, and addressed the challenge well, ultimately winning the business. To ensure a successful PR partnership, meet or speak with the team members who will be running your PR campaign and assess if their skills align with your requirements.  Are they resourceful, proactive, agile, and consultative?  How will they work with your internal stakeholders? Do they have the X factor you need?
  2. Get Clear on Business Goals: Transparency is crucial; you need to share your company’s real business goals upfront–whether that’s driving sales leads, establishing a better position in your tech category to attract an acquisition, or seeking investment to expand overseas. Define and prioritise the key goals, as they should shape the comms objectives and, ultimately, your PR programme.
  3. Communicate the PR Goals: Be crystal clear about the PR objectives you want to achieve: is it driving more positive industry analyst engagement, or gaining higher media share of voice compared to your competitors? It’ll help you both to know what you really want, and it avoids later disappointments. Include at least three key messages for the PR campaign to guide the agency’s thinking. If you’re unsure about that at this stage, that’s fine, but identify it as a priority to work together on from the outset. Additionally, provide clarity on target audiences and geographic areas where regional assistance may be appreciated.
  4. Reach Measurement Heaven: Indicate how you’ll want to be measuring success for your organisation and its executives. Any agency worth your money should have concrete initial views on measurement criteria, e.g., industry measurement best practice.  Ensure alignment from the beginning: you can’t improve what you can’t measure.
  5. Outline Your Budget: Don’t leave agencies guessing what the stakes are here. Be explicit about your budget or at least provide a range. This enables the agency to create a well-suited campaign for you and establishes a level playing field. Budget clarity will also help rule out agencies that might not be the right fit, saving time for everyone involved.

All in all, investing time in to crafting a thoughtful, business-oriented brief that communicates your requirements in a communications partner is worth doing as it will ensure you receive quality proposals from agencies that align with your needs.

That’s because while team fit, culture, and chemistry matter, creating a comprehensive brief upfront will lead you to the most suitable PR partner which really is equipped with the right set of skills to elevate your planned communications blitz to the next level. 

Now, get back to your Summer holiday! 

Spring Cleaning Your Messaging

As a UK-based boutique virtual communications agency dedicated to helping tech businesses to grow and prosper, Elate understands the role of effective messaging, but here we want to re-emphasise the significance of messaging for ambitious and growing tech firms like yours.

As a global communications director, and previous Elate client, says:

“Your people are incredibly important, but your strategic messaging is one of the most important corporate assets you own. It defines what matters: who you are and the value you provide. Done properly, it puts you head and shoulders above the competition. If you’re not sure it’s 100% right, then don’t spend a penny more on communications until it’s nailed.”

“Messaging is the heartbeat of your brand, enabling meaningful connections with customers, prospects, partners, employees, investors and a myriad of influencers. It amplifies the value of your proposition, cultivates a quality reputation and secures your brand’s share of voice.”

As we hit mid-Spring (yes, isn’t 2023 flying!) we urge you to embrace the opportunity to refine or create compelling company and proposition messaging.

Here are a few questions to guide your messaging Spring Clean:
• Is your strategic messaging aligned with your brand, mission and vision?
• Is it overly complicated and can you sum up your value in seconds?
• Can the team roll off your top two-three strategic messages?
• Does it resonate with key buyers, influencers and vertical sectors?
• How does it play in your priority geographic markets?
• Are you leading key industry debates with a clear and authoritative voice?
• How does your story compare to key competitors?
• Do your messages include evidence or are they simply grandiose claims?
• When was the last time you refreshed and tested them?

If you want to discuss how we can assist with your communications programme or messaging, let us know.

Wishing you a season of productive Spring Cleaning!