How to build a vertical PR program that generates leads
June 30, 2015
by Guest
 

By Dennis Flynn, director of corporate marketing, Maxwell Technologies


I have never worked as a long-haul trucker. I don’t know what it feels like to spend days on end staring at not much more than the open road, and I couldn’t tell you about sleeping in the back of a rig, hoping its battery would power the heating system to keep me warm through the night and still crank the engine in the morning. I know a lot about the pain points of trucking companies and suppliers, though, and my knowledge of that industry is a critical part of our marketing and PR strategy.

Maxwell Technologies develops ultracapacitor technologies, including an ultracapacitor-based Engine Start Module (ESM), which ensures that more than 2,000 heavy- and medium-duty trucks on the road in North America start reliably, regardless of weather or infrequent cranking. We serve lots of other industries, as well, and getting in front of influencers in those vertical markets is essential to building awareness, generating leads and closing sales.

In building a successful vertical PR program, we’ve learned several best practices, including:

  1. Identify the top industries where you have traction and proof points.
  2. Find your customer advocates and work with them to serve as evangelists in their markets.
  3. Coordinate simultaneous PR and marketing outreach. If you have a booth at a vertical industry tradeshow, prepare your spokespeople to not only speak with your prospects and customers at the show, but also media and industry analysts.
  4. Create content that positions your executives as thought leaders in the markets most important to your strategic goals.

This is a strategy we’ve followed in multiple markets, including automotive, wind power, electric grid and rail. Getting to know these industries and getting in front of their influencers is so integral to our business that we form cross-functional teams focused solely on vertical markets. So, while we pursue media, speaking and content opportunities in the trucking market, for example, that work is supported by marketing, development, operations and other internal department experts who are dedicated to serving that industry.

In the last couple of months alone, we’ve generated dozens of pieces of coverage in vertical publications, and those articles are driving traffic to our website, where prospects can download product information, sign up for newsletters or get in touch with us. And because the audiences within our vertical markets are so engaged, we see coverage in these publications continue to deliver traffic months after the articles first appear. With a vertical PR push, we’ve been able to reach the decision-makers in the industries that matter most to our business.

 

Dennis Flynn is the director of corporate marketing at Maxwell Technologies, a Metis Communications client. He has more than 20 years of experience defining marketing, branding and communications strategies for businesses.

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