Public Relations

How to Create an Award Winning PR Campaign for SaaS Companies

Any SaaS company can improve their overall marketing programs by pairing it with a PR campaign.

Implementing a successful PR campaign for your Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company requires hands-on improvement on your part. These PR methods apply to most other industries PR campaigns as well. You may not be involved in the day-to-day aspects of writing press releases and contacting writers, reporters, and editors in the trade media.

But you’ll have to know enough about the process to keep it focused on your company’s marketing goals and boost sales. And making sure that your public relations program doesn’t lapse into costly irrelevance as many companies PR programs do.

First principles of successful public relations in your company

Execution of your company’s ongoing PR program should be guided by three principles:

  • To send out press releases and announcements only when your company have something to talk about
  • To think of how your press release or announcement will be received by the writers or editors on the other side of the exchange
  • To make a press announcement only if the announcement sells your product, or if it can contribute to sales

The first two points above are the two biggest complaints of editors at trade publications, magazines, newspapers and other media sources concerning company PR strategy.

Nothing travels from an editor’s desk to their wastebasket faster than a press release that is either not relevant to the publication, or should have been sent to them in the first place. The third point above, the relationship of your PR announcement to your company sales.

Send out a news release only when you have news. Once you’ve established a PR program for your company, you’ll find it becomes very easy to write and distribute press releases to the media. And now that anyone can send a press release by email, where distribution costs are zero, the final barrier to self-restraint has been broken.

At many companies, what happens next is that anything that happens becomes another press release. And it is distributed to the company’s entire media list in a scattershot fashion. Why your local business press might be interested in the news that your company won a quality award from a local trade group, Fortune Magazine isn’t. Not executive promotion, a new account, a product feature improvement, or sales promotion should be a press release. So be when you are creating your PR campaign.

Even if it is published, chances are that a minor announcement in the back of a trade publication of a new account closed buyer sales staff, for example, will only be read by your sales manager and the rep who made the sale. Was it worth the $1,500 in hourly billing cost from your PR firm to write and distribute the press release? Probably not.

Create a minimum news special in your company, and stick to it. Your CEO or senior management may think every minor development in your company deserves a press release, but if you do, you’ll soon wear out your welcome with editors in your industry’s trade media, and train them to ignore every release they see from your company. Hold your fire until you have something more important to announce to these editors. When you do, they’ll be listening.

Think of a person who will be reading your press release

One of the quickest ways to lose the attention of a trade publication editors and writers in your industry is to do something that waste their time, slows them down or otherwise irritates them.

Many PR firms are notoriously disrespectful of media people in these ways, and anything that shows a lack of concern for an editor, writer, or other media contact makes it very hard to win them back once they turned against your company.

Put yourself in the place of an editor or writer at a major trade publication, magazine, or newspaper. And your average work day, you receive scores, maybe hundreds, a press releases. It’s clear to you that many of these press releases have been sent to you just because your name is on the PR firm’s media mailing list, not in consideration of any relevance to the areas you cover at your publication.

Public Relations Marketing Program

Create an Effectively Public Relations Marketing Program using Business Media to Generate Inquiries and Sales.

Moreover, while you’re trying to finish a piece for your publications deadline this afternoon, you keep getting phone calls and emails from PR people asking me if you got their press releases.

If you were the editor, would you appreciate a company in PR firm that didn’t waste your time by drowning you with irrelevant press releases? Would you want to talk more with PR rep some companies who had press releases and story ideas that would help you and your coverage of the industry? Much of this boils down to common sense, but you’ll be surprised how looking at your news announcements from the other guy’s perspective can improve your press coverage.

Here are some useful guidelines for developing and distributing news announcements for your company’s PR programs and seen from the perspective of writers and editors at trade publications and other media outlets:

  • Will they be interested? Your first step is deciding who on your media list should get the press release of your news announcement, and who shouldn’t. Look at your press release, then look at each editor and another contact on your list. Would your story be interesting to them? Is it something they are interested in covering for the readers? If not, then sending your press release to this person is like sending them junk mail don’t do it.
  • Having you filled in the context of your story? Editors are always looking for news announcements that key to important business issues in your field? Such as hot new industry trends, emerging technologies, productivity, or government regulation in your industry. Your news announcement always gets more attention if you can tie some aspect of it to a major issue everyone’s talking about in your industry. For example, if there is a proposed EPA air pollution regulation that has your industry up in arms, and if your company’s new SaaS product feature can help a manufacturer improve their monitoring and reduce plant emissions, then your product announcement should be wrapped around this issue. Think of the top issues and trends that everyone’s talking about in your industry and see if your company’s news announcement can be credibly linked to one of those issues.

Have you given them all the details they need to write their story?

If you’ve met these first two guidelines, think about everything else the editor writer needs to write their story, and give it to them. Product spec sheets in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, company history and background, high-resolution product photos on your website. Most important, make it easy for the writer or editor to contact you, by putting your personal company contact information on all your PR material.

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SaaS companies will want to find events that trigger news announcements to the trade and business media and then use distribution techniques for their target audience that helps increase awareness and increasing sales. I use SEMrush’s sensors and Google trends.

A PR campaign should be integrated into the marketing campaigns. Use case studies, which are a cost-effective, to explain the use and benefits of your product or service.

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By George Schildge

As a digital marketing and conversion optimization expert, I work with startups, small and mid-sized businesses to help them develop processes to get predictable, scalable revenue growth. I work closely with management teams crafting marketing and sales strategies to promote the brand, generate more leads, and convert more leads into sales. I have a unique ability to balance rational, linear thinking and lateral creativity giving me a hard-nosed sense of operating reality, instrumental to a company’s growth.

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