Public relations is a powerful tool for marketers in highly competitive and noisy markets. That’s because appearing in independent publications is far more credible than marketing or advertising.
Here are just a few ways that PR can help companies sell against the competition:
It’s all in the messaging. It’s surprising how many companies have garbled, inconsistent and downright bad messaging, and then wonder why their message isn’t getting through. Messaging needs to clearly define how your company is different, and be able to do this without mentioning the competition. A PR firm should work with you to develop messaging BEFORE you talk with the media.
Focus on thought leadership. The views held by your executives about the industry, economy, and future are unique and can really distinguish a company. We once worked with a telecommunications firm that was competing against the big phone company in the region. Giving the founder a venue to discuss weaknesses in the industry was a terrific juxtaposition to his way of doing business and helped him significantly grow the company.
Let your customers talk for you. Happy customers are the most powerful marketing tools companies have. Capturing these stories and being able to show concretely how you’ve solved their problem will help you beat the competition every time. Reporters love use cases because they are instructive, authentic and highly read. Use cases also make great content for social media and for sales collateral.
Shine through awards. Filling out awards applications can be tedious and time-consuming, but the payback makes the effort worthwhile. People like to do business with companies that have been recognized as winners. Merchandise these awards in PR efforts, on your website and in customer communications.
Spread the word. Wouldn’t it be great if your CEO could walk into a room full of interested prospects and demonstrate how your company or product can help them? It’s possible if your CEO is selected as a speaker at a reputable conference. Conference organizers love speakers who are knowledgable. Your speaker application is more likely to be accepted if you offer to bring a customer along to demonstrate how they achieved their success.