By Yvonne Eskenzi, co-founder and director of Eskenzi PR
You’ve got your budget approved, it’s the start of the new year and you’re raring to go. Your sales teams are pumped up and looking for leads – now it’s your time to shine. You need good PR and marketing to achieve this – right now!! I’m sure you’ve got a lot of the tools and tricks in place, but here are the 12 best tools we use to get our clients out there!
PR is all about engaging your audience with compelling, worthwhile content that will make them notice you – if you’re in the cybersecurity industry, you’re one of 3000 vendors, so how in heaven’s name are you going to make them notice you?
Content Content Content – everything we do in PR and marketing is about great content – one fabulous piece of content can be used over and over again across multiple platforms. So what content works the best and what platforms can you use to get this content out there?
- Original Research – without a doubt this is still the number one, best way to get your company the most traction. Research that’s riveting, unusual and makes you think. Ideally it should be internal research that you’ve done, and that can stand up to scrutiny as it’s been conducted across a sizeable number of people or endpoints. It could be research into vulnerability testing, mobile app trends, or most common breaches across different regions. Can you turn these findings into headline grabbing facts and figures that a journalist can use as story? Great research has very long legs and can be used for slide presentations, award and speaking submissions, press releases, and blogs – you name it! – and good research it is often referred back to for months or even years.
- Opinion Pieces – a strong viewpoint from an expert on an area of interest that’s topical and new will always go down well. Journalists need to fill their sites, and as long as the content hasn’t been used anywhere else you’re very likely to get it placed. Add a picture and a great headline and the chances are you’ll be able to get it placed at least once. Once you have the core of a great opinion piece, you can change the article slightly and repurpose it for other publications in verticals or different regions.
- Rapid Responses – this is an Eskenzi favourite – perfect if you’re in cybersecurity, as breaches are happening every day. Most of our best coverage has come from rapid responses – and the key here really is to be rapid (as the story breaks you need to go out with a comment within the hour) and offer your expertise as to how and why the breach has occurred, how it could have been stopped and do it in no more than a couple of sentences.
- Interviews for the big cheese when he/she is in town – it’s getting harder and harder to pull off getting journalists to come out and meet with people face to face, or even conduct interviews over the phone or at events. The golden rule is only do interviews when you’ve got something really good to say – if the CEO is flying to the UK, think of some hooks and angles to give a journalist so they’ll leave with a good story to take back to the office.
- Press Releases – gosh these are very few and far between these days – now it’s quite rare to send out a press release, as many companies use their company blog to announce news. However, they still have their place for when the story is big. I still believe that when you have a press release, you should build a targeted list of journalists and pitch them either over the phone with news of the press release or on Twitter. Make sure you write personalised emails that will resonate with their particular readers.
- Blogs are really worth their weight in gold… when they’re good. Always make sure that when you write a blog you make it interesting – don’t produce them for the sake of it – this is where most companies go wrong. People are getting very bored of seeing information put up on sites just because companies feel they are feeding the beast! We’re all now feeding the beast – but at least invest time on giving the beast delicious food so he can produce digestible, appealing and appetising content.
- Case Studies – we all love a good case study and testimonial – I think this is your best PR asset and does your bidding for you. Lots of our clever clients give their customers discounts if they become case studies or references, and believe me it’s money well spent. Journalists love to talk to customers, as it means they’re talking to the people who actually use the product and will be truthful about it. Take my advice – do whatever you can to get case studies. I know in cybersecurity it’s near on impossible, but fabulous if you can pull it off.
- Whitepapers – when we ask our clients about whether whitepapers are valuable and worth the investment, they always say yes. A good whitepaper is perfect as a deeper dive on what your products do. I’d say they’re pretty essential to really lock your more discerning, interested customers in. They’re not really something a journalist would use, but essential for your customers and useful to turn into an opinion piece or article which then can be placed with a publication. These go behind a gated part of your website, so you don’t give these away until you’ve got the recipients contact details.
All of the above are ways to generate valuable content to get you coverage, and here are some of my favourite ways to deliver that content.
- Videos – I’m a big fan of videos. I love watching short, amusing videos that are relatable, informal and personable. No-one wants a boring video – we’re so used to amazing films and series now on Netflix and Amazon Prime – you now need to compete. Once again, like all these films and series, you need to draw your audience in with drama and excitement, so think how you’re going to do this. Will graphics work? Can you use clever imagery and some humour? Gone are the days where you had some boring IT bloke standing up telling us how their product works. Think outside of the box – if you’re in cyber, maybe a woman could be in the video. Yes, use a bit of glamour or colour – don’t be scared to be different.
- Podcasts – These are fantastic, and my mate at BBC click online said they’ve never had so many downloads for podcasts as people listen to them getting ready for the day, in the gym or on their way to work. These shouldn’t be long – 10 minutes max – but it’s the same old rules – compelling and worthwhile with useful take-aways that the listener will leave with and find valuable enough to come back for more.
- Social Media – This is the beast we spoke about earlier – it’s the beast we need to feed day in day out, and that’s hard work to keep it interesting all the time. My advice is to have weekly staff meetings to discuss ideas for content and, ideally, if you can share the load to create and distribute your content across multiple platforms – then you’ll be onto a winner. Work out who within your organisation could be “Content Champions” – it could be the quiet IT geek who hides behind his computer all day – try him out and ask if he’s got ideas for articles, podcasts, blogs – I bet you he will Social media is nothing more than a delivery platform – your job is to make the content that passes through it creative, different and compelling– to do this all the time is tough, so as many people you can pull in to help you to achieve this is the key to making this successful. Draw up a hit list of potential “Content Champions”, get them scheduled into a diary, so everyone knows when it’s their turn to write the content ahead of time.
- Webinars – Again you need to decide what content will make for a good webinar. Can you get some outside speakers who are interesting and have lots of followers so that they’ll Tweet to their audiences that they’re involved in your webinar? These are very good for marketing and lead generation, but not really so much for PR.
PR is all about content and good relations. It used to be that as PR professionals you just needed to know the journalists to pitch your story to, but now with social media the universe is infinite and our job is never finished. However, if you stick to our 8 favourite ways to get publicity, and push your content across the platforms we’ve mentioned, I’m sure you’ll be on your way to having a fantastically successful 2019!