You can run a business very successfully for months without generating breaking news. Yet, it is imperative to stay top of mind with your key audiences. But how? At Townsend Advisers, we work with clients on several effective tactics for keeping your company relevant to your publics (i.e. the media, customers, vendors, and other groups that you want to influence).
When should you issue press releases?
It important to regularly issue press releases for several reasons. A press release can be very valuable as simply a keyword-rich SEO tool that drives search traffic to your website and marks your company’s key accomplishments to website visitors. So what’s press release worthy?
Quarterly financial updates
High profile customer acquisitions
New sources of capital financing
Company events and anniversaries
News must be timely and relevant. These events all happen in the course of doing business.
Now that we’ve covered what’s press release-worthy, what can you do when your company has no news to report, but you want to remain top of mind in the media? Below are 5 PR tactics for asserting yourself as a thought leader.
1) Contribute articles or op-eds. News outlets are under growing pressure to create more content and more ways for their readers to consume that content. As such they are in dire need of outside contributors. Huffington Post pioneered a new model of relying on a large network of outside contributors to provide content to their readers, and now even the New York Times is started to rely more on op-eds to fill their ever-growing need for content.
Consider timely and newsworthy topics relevant to your industry. What surprising insight can you share on this topic? The key with contributed content is to think like a journalist; be informative on the topic without advertising your company. You’ll have a search-optimized chance to promote yourself and your company in the byline and bio that accompanies the article.
2) Secure speaking engagements. Industry trade shows, events and conferences are a great opportunity to influence potential customers, vendors, and partners. Check the website of these events several months prior for opportunities to nominate yourself as a speaker. Look at the previous year’s speaking topics to get an idea of what interests the event organizers and attendees. Pitch a relevant and timely topic that presents a your company as an expert thought leader, and provide valuable and novel content.
3) Align with key industry influencers, and help them create news. Partner with or sponsor a key influencer who is well known in your industry. The partnership itself is news, and then your partner’s news can be your news. Be sure to pick partners with robust publicity channels to cross-promote the relationship with their followers. The key here is to ensure that your partner is a true influencer of your target public and to publicize their accomplishments and your role in helping them succeed.
4) Create a signature award or event. Identify an opportunity to give back to your industry, your vendors, or your target markets. As an example, Ernst & Young created an “Entrepreneur of the Year” award and related gala event in order to draw attention to their customers and top prospects, and they have become a successful evangelist within their target communities.
5) Be a resource. Invest some time building relationships with your top-tier reporters and influencers; discover what they’re working on and determine can make any introductions to expert sources who can help. You’ll eventually become the person they call when needing expert commentary for stories and projects.
BONUS: Create an infographic
Infographics have become a new, viral, pop-culture art form. A really good infographic is short, easy to scan, provides novel information quickly, and motivates people to share it with their friends.
The key to using an infographic to publicize your company is to not make the infographic about your company! The infographic should cover something interesting to a wide group of people and applicable to what your company does. The same way the by-line in a contributed article is enough to tie your company to a thought-leadership topic, the by-line in an infographic is all you need to reap rewards from your infographic’s success. Tools like visual.ly can help you get started.
What have you done to remain in the news during a news drought? Share it with us in comments.