As working in the cloud becomes more mainstream, the number of media outlets dedicated to covering the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry continues to grow. If you run a cloud-based company, you might think that more media outlets automatically means more exposure, but that is not necessarily the case. With more and more SaaS companies flooding the marketplace every day, the media is bombarded with the same PR pitches touting the same benefits, making it increasingly difficult to get noticed. Here are a few ways to stay current and grab attention:
- Offer a customer who can share measurable results showing how your product has significantly impacted his business. Since a customer speaking on your behalf provides the media with an unbiased opinion, there is more potential for a stand-alone article.
- Find a hook that links your product to a topic already being discussed in the media. If your product provides a solution for a widespread issue or emerging trend, it increases the odds it will get noticed.
- Make credible predictions supported by research or third-party experts about the impact your solution will have on the future. The more outrageous the prediction, the more likely it is to get media attention, but be ready to back it up with proof points.
- Provide media with thought-provoking, contributed content. Write about current trends and issues with a clear point of view. You’ll capture your target audience and build your credibility as an expert.
Securing a media opportunity is just the first step. Once you have an editor’s attention, make sure to follow all editorial guidelines, provide detailed information in a timely manner, and meet all requested deadlines. Following these tips will not only help you get noticed, but will increase your chances of having quality stories published, allowing you stay ahead of the competition, engage your target audience and avoid having your SaaS product become old news.
There is no denying that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) contributes to the cleantech market. We know this firsthand because we do green public relations for two of those companies: Sun Catalytix (spun out by Professor Dan Nocera) and XL Hybrids (spun out by MIT alumni).
Earlier this month, we attended the MIT Technology Showcase and Conference, which highlighted all the local innovations, as well as key – and sometimes controversial – energy topics from industry leaders. These leaders included the likes of Marvin Odum of Shell Oil and Tom Sloan of the Kansas House of Representatives, as well as several well-established MIT energy professors. But one topic that resonated as we continue to work with companies that are creating technology for hybrid electric vehicles is the shale gas issue.
With gas prices continuing to rise and fluctuate, consumers and politicians are researching alternative forms of transportation and the future of our gas supply. Some are championing hybrid electric vehicles and others are researching other oil and gas options like shale gas.
In case you haven’t heard, some in the industry say that shale gas provides domestic abundance, reduces greenhouse gases and increases jobs. Shell recently announced that it received China's 1st shale gas deal, helping to identify the right technology to unlock China’s potentially large shale gas resource in the next few years. But the panel at the conference highlighted more of the hard risks and environmental impacts such as groundwater contamination, wastewater disposal, truck traffic noise and use of hydraulic fracturing.
So will shale gas prevail? The panelists disputed that:
- A research lifecycle analysis of the entire process needs to be done in order to fully understand if these supplies can be developed and produced in an environmentally sound way.
- Time will tell.
We’ll all stay tuned as MIT and other experts focus on this research. In the meantime, we’ll continue to focus on the readily available green technological innovations that are making an impact on today’s society.
“They’ll either want to kill you, kiss you or be you.”
–Finnick Odair to Katniss Everdeen in Suzanne Collins’ “Mockingjay”
At Metis, there is a crew of us who excitedly await Friday’s premiere of the movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games.” Already, the media blitz that precedes the premiere is impressive. Even if you haven’t read the books and aren’t counting the minutes until the trilogy hits the big screen, it’s almost impossible to not know that it’s happening. We could focus an entire blog on the promotion around the movie, but instead, we’re looking at the business lessons from the books.
“The Hunger Games” is about surviving, adapting and thriving in challenging environments and against difficult odds. Hopefully, your workplace doesn’t feel like a fight-to-the-death situation each day, but even in peaceful environments, there is much to be learned from the main characters, Katniss and Peeta, including:
- Stand up for those who need protection.
- Remember your roots.
- Seek out a mentor.
- Know when to ask for help.
- Know when to help others.
- Draw on your primary strengths.
- Play fair, even in unfair environments.
- Give interviews that connect with viewers.
- When others underestimate you, use it to your competitive advantage.
- Change the game to fit your agenda.
- Think on your feet.
- Learn when and how to organize a community.
The good news is the economy is slowly recovering and the unemployment rate is at a national three-year low. The better news is that Boston’s unemployment rate is well under the national average. What does this mean for a Boston PR firm job seeker? The competition is fierce. Take heed of the advice below to get noticed and to get hired.
- Avoid misspellings and grammatical errors in your resume, cover letter or email. This is the employer’s first impression of you. Typos will send your application to the garbage can.
- Be prepared for the interview. This means do your research, know your prospective employer, bring portfolio samples and offer references.
- Never show up to an interview late. Showing up too early is just as bad.
- Use common sense. Chewing gum and leaving your cell phone on are big no-nos. For some comic relief, watch the bad job interview montage.
- Leave your baggage at home. We want to hear about how you could complement our team and thrive in our environment. Leave information about the drama of your personal life out of it.
- Always follow an interview with a thank you letter or email. Interviewers like to know that you appreciate the opportunity and are interested in the position. This token of appreciation will get you noticed.
Recent graduates and first-time job seekers may want to follow the advice of MTV’s Ryan Kahn: In this competitive job market, you want to stand out from the competition, and following the advice above is a step in the right direction.
Metis is currently accepting applications for all positions.
Ideas are the drivers of the business world. Without ideas – big or small – businesses would remain static. But what drives these ideas? What makes someone an idea generator rather than a follower? As David Lynch, the famous filmmaker, points out in his book “Catching the Big Fish,” ideas are like fish. They need to be caught and reeled in. Sometimes, you catch elusive ones from the bottom of the pond, while others start as partial thoughts and grow over time.
In PR and marketing, we are expected to continuously have new ideas for promoting companies and their products and services. We sit by the edge of the fishing hole, pulling in the small fish and hoping to snag the big one. We look at other people’s catches for inspiration. Are they using different bait to get the fish to bite? But success in PR and marketing doesn’t lie in following in a competitor’s footsteps or adopting the usual method; it’s found by expanding awareness of the world around us.
In ”Catching the Big Fish,” Lynch, draws upon his own experience and writes about how meditation expands consciousness and awareness, decreasing negativity and increasing happiness. It’s through this expansion that we become better fishermen. We gain the desire and the drive to find the bigger ideas. We become idea generators rather than the followers we might otherwise have been, and we inspire those within our companies to conceptualize and approach problems innovatively.
How do you push to catch those big fish at the bottom of the fishing hole?
Although most business-to-business companies have jumped on the social media bandwagon, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready. It’s important for B2Bs to determine what they’re trying to achieve through various social media channels. Below are four misconceptions B2Bs have about social media and how to overcome them.
- Participating in social media will help boost sales. According to the Forrester Research article, “Defining Your B2B Social Media Strategy,” marketers understand they need to get involved in social media, but they don’t always start off with the right approach. Social media won’t help boost sales unless it’s done properly. A social media plan with goals and expectations needs to be in place for companies to be successful.
- Twitter is the way to go. The social media market is always evolving. It’s important not to put all your efforts into one platform. Instead, consider establishing a strategy for Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube, and explore new options. Start with objectives rather than procedures and technology. Also, once you’ve set your plan, ensure that you are continuously analyzing the behaviors of your target audience.
- B2B and B2C social media have nothing in common. Much like the way B2C companies use social media to reach consumers, B2Bs are also reaching out to people -- people who are decision-makers of companies. Present a strong business case for your service or solution. For example, a company that is offering cloud services should make sure it addresses the key reasons a CEO should consider adopting cloud computing for his business. This can be done through tweeting the benefits of cloud computing or providing company videos on the subject, which can be posted to YouTube.
- Your job is complete once the information has been posted. Many companies fail at social media because they aren’t engaging their audiences. Take Twitter, for example. Many companies tweet links to their whitepapers in hopes people will come to their websites. However, if a company fails to interact with its audience, those visits won’t materialize. Engage your followers by asking questions or simply by reading their updates and commenting.
By putting these misconceptions to rest, businesses should be well on their way to social media bliss through creating conversations with their potential customers and influencers.
Let’s assume we’re on the same (virtual) page about whether or not your business needs a blog. You need one. For reasons from customer engagement to search engine optimization (SEO) and everything in between, building a solid company blog is worth your time and effort.
How do you make sure the content you put out there doesn’t make your business look…dumb? Avoid these all-too-common mistakes:
- Write blogs that could double as sales letters. A good blog will support conversions and sales efforts, but that doesn’t mean your posts should be the digital equivalent of cold calls. Don’t push product. Push knowledge.
- Aim for dissertation-length posts. Your readers might want the hundreds of pages worth of data in your head, but they’re more likely to digest it in 300-word chunks. Pace yourself.
- Keep your tone serious and your language formal. If you can’t already tell by the title of this blog, writing for this medium can be a bit more casual than, say, writing a financial report for your investors. A good blog connects your business to your prospects – as long as the language is inviting and the content useful.
- Post whenever you feel the urge. Get on a schedule so you can form a blog habit that’s harder to kick than that 3 p.m. trip to the vending machine. You’ll write more often, your readers will learn to look for your posts on certain days, and your SEO value will benefit.
- Write it and forget it. Before you know it, you’ll have a library of posts, and many of them will be evergreen. Link back to them to support new content, and curate existing blogs into lists focused on specific topics.
- Trust readers to come to you. No doubt, you have a killer company blog. But no one is going to see it if you don’t make it easy to find. Use your keywords well in headlines, body text, tags and metadescriptions. Post links to your blog on company Facebook and Twitter accounts, and add a link to your blog in your email signature.
- Mind your own business. Blogging should not be a lonely endeavor. Read relevant blogs in your industry. Comment on them. Link to them. Build on ideas that begin elsewhere, and frame those posts as conversations, giving credit to those who spark your ideas.
After receiving more than 300 award nominations for guest writers, individual bloggers and company content producers, BostInno, an online news platform focused on creating original content covering Boston’s innovation ecosystem, announced eight winners for its first ever Insider Awards.
According to BostInno, the “Insiders” are people who talk about their experiences, networks, companies and events through shared content.
I experienced the Insider Awards party last week at Ned Devine’s Irish pub, where attendees were, “celebrating crushing content and dropping knowledge.” I, along with my colleagues at Metis Communications, would like to say congrats to the winners:
Make sure to read content from these winners.
Nominees, finalists, winners and supporters sure seemed to have a good time. The dance floor was packed, and according to BostInno, there were more than 900 attendees. Many wore T-shirts with the slogan, “BostInno I like my Content to Party.” Groups enjoyed networking and offered each other cheers with their Narragansett beers.
BostInno and sponsors Turnstone, HubSpot, Boston Seed, Skyhook, Telamon Insurance, Atlas Venture, Flybridge Capital Partners, Uber, Narragansett, and Illuminaria put on a spectacular event.
Of course, social media can also provide you with a recap of the night. Check out #InsiderAwards on Twitter.
Visit the BostInno calendar for some great upcoming events.
“When is it too early for startup companies to begin thinking about public relations (PR)?”
The answer to this question is, “The sooner the better.” Often times entrepreneurs and startups say they don’t have the budget when it comes to PR, but it should be at this point that the entrepreneur or small business owner decides to learn the basics of PR. It’s important for an entrepreneur to understand how PR is different from advertising and how it can benefit his business. Unlike paid advertisements, PR helps to secure positive coverage in the media.
While I was attending the fourth Northeastern Entrepreneurship Expo (NEXPO) last week, this question immediately came to mind. Many companies at the expo were heading in the right direction, but it seemed they could use some guidance along the way.
When starting out small, it’s still important to tell targets who you are and what your company does. So what can PR do for your company?
- PR experts assist a company in creating awareness in the industry. A PR expert can help a business position its product or service as the next best thing and create public recognition. This is backed up by research and industry audits.
- In addition to media relations, PR can assist you and your company with awards, events and case studies. In addition to assisting with traditional media, many agencies also encourage their clients to use social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Flickr.
- PR professionals can work with your company and its customers to generate third-party support and credibility within the media.
- With which kinds of campaigns can PR assist? PR can do some of the behind-the-scenes work for demos, how-to videos and other influencer campaigns.
How is your company trying to connect with potential customers?