Updated on by Kate Gordon
What is PR and why do you need it?
If you’re a SaaS in a heavily saturated and highly competitive market, then PR can help you stand out by increasing your profile and raising awareness.
PR (or public relations) is, very simply, the way that organisations, companies and individuals communicate with the public and media. PR should be part of your wider marketing strategy as it complements those activities. It will improve the reputation of your business and its products, and give you exposure that you will not pay for directly, unlike advertising, for example. Therefore PR coverage is valued because it is independent: journalists will include you based on the merit of your news, opinion and/or expertise.
PR in the SaaS marketplace
Not so long ago, talking about your new and exciting SaaS and what it did was sufficient to grab a journalist’s attention. But this is now an industry that Gartner predicts will be worth US$ 331.2 billion by 2022. It’s no longer enough to talk about your technology; now you need to be able to demonstrate your features and benefits. To effectively cut through the noise, you must focus on your product’s real benefits to users, and communicate why prospective customers should come to you.
How to go about implementing PR for your SaaS
Whether you’re thinking about doing your PR internally or looking to hire a PR provider, there are a few things you should think about.
Firstly, what are your objectives? What do you want to achieve through PR? It might be to raise awareness; to announce some news; to support your sales and marketing activities; or a combination of all of the above.
You should already be able to define your target market, along with who the decision makers are. But do you know what publications they are reading? Do you know who works at each of those publications? Do you know what stories and angles they are interested in covering?
Next, work out what you’ve got to say. Being able to establish your unique selling points and define your key messages is critical. How do you add value to your customers and how do you communicate this? This will help to position you in the market.
A PR practitioner can help save you time by helping you define your objectives, creating a strategy, recommending tactics, compiling a list of target media and working with you on your messaging. They can then implement the campaign on your behalf.
Useful PR tactics to think about
Traditionally, news is announced in the form of a press release. Ideally what you’re announcing should be new and noteworthy for the journalists you want to approach. Try and put yourself in their shoes – why is this story of interest to them and their readers (who are your prospective customers, if you’ve done your research correctly).
While smaller news stories may not always be picked up by the press, it can still be worth sharing with industry publications to let them know what you’re up to. Coverage on news sites, meanwhile, can help increase your visibility online and in Google News.
In addition to prospective customers, think about what your online profile looks like to potential investors. Do you have a vision for the business? What’s the growth potential in your industry? Are you winning awards? All of this will affect their willingness to get on board during the next funding round, so news announcements on your latest funding round can be a useful tool for keeping the market apprised of your status.
Another way to increase both the profile of your business and its key spokespeople is through content-driven thought leadership activities. Rather than getting into technical details, thought leadership campaigns focus on how and why your technology is revolutionising a business process, delivering savings, benefiting customers and/or the industry as a whole. These insights will be of interest to journalists and will not only position you as experts but will also raise your profile. A thought leadership campaign is a useful ongoing activity, especially if you don’t have a consistent flow of news, and topics can be re-purposed as content for your website.
Results and what to look for
Media coverage can be measured in all kinds of ways, and it’s not always about hitting the media outlet with the highest circulation. Also think about coverage that reaches new audiences (if this was one of your objectives), is a highly respected title amongst your key target audiences, is a small but well-respected site with a highly engaged audience, or is a site with good domain authority that will impact your SEO positively. Ensure Google Analytics is set up on your website so you can measure the impact coverage has on your visitors.