It's been oft argued that channel providers lack the in-house sophistication and experience around marketing and, especially, public relations. As a result, OEMs are continually devising marketing enablement programs to help their partners build awareness and ultimately sell more products and services.
OEM support is great, but some of these marketing programs are helpful, and some not so much. But that's OK, because it's really up to your company -- not your vendor partners -- to communicate to the market what makes your company unique and worthy of a prospective customer's time.
As I've said in the past, vendors typically direct their market development funds toward old-school, push-style marketing tactics rather than the pull-style strategies that we need. To support pull-style marketing, we need more content marketing materials and resources.
In addition to content marketing, it's imperative that you secure tech media, influencer, blogger and/or analyst attention to talk about your brand and your people. Why? Because buyers are consuming content from tech media outlets and researching products and services off the corporate webpage when they're in the frame-of-mind section of the buying funnel. If no one is talking about your brand, however, how will prospective buyers find you?
So, in an effort to help you run a more effective in-house channel PR machine, here are some helpful tips and reminders on how to best get this much-needed tech media attention. The idea is to start building media relationships with the end goal of getting coverage for your brand. (This is by no means an exhaustive list, of course. These steps just came to mind, so feel free to augment them. And I'm always available to you for further discussion!)
- Take aim. Target a journalist to reach out to.
- Read (or watch or listen). Note how the journalist writes (or talks). What key elements does he always include? Is he overly cynical or does he tend to focus on the positive? How many sources are typically included in his stories?
- Research. Did the journalist already cover your idea (in some, way, shape or form)? Can you tie an existing article to your idea? Does he link to specific types of media? Is there a certain section of the outlet or type of show that suits your pitch?
- Repeat. Do the above again and again until you know the journalist and outlet.
- Recruit. After reading, researching and repeating, recruit a company thought leader to reach out to the journalist on a social network or comment on a relevant article.
- Envision. Plan your headline and lede.
- Gather. Pull together all the assets to include in the pitch -- sources, images, competitors' views, quotes, online encyclopedia entries.
- Write. Sit down and compose the email pitch, keeping it honest and realistic. Just three to four paragraphs, with bullets, stating why his readers will care.
- Call. Realize that your phone follow-up will grant you 15 seconds of the journalist's time (if you know him, however, maybe you'll get 30 seconds; if the journalist is your spouse, figure on 32 seconds).
- Move on. If the journalist is not as enthusiastic toward the pitch or is simply too busy, let it go. Then start again from the top of this list with a new target journalist.
Rich Young is marketing and corporate communications manager for eGroup and a frequent SearchITChannel.com contributor.