How to pitch SaaS stories to the media

May 17, 2018
 

It wasn’t so long ago that the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS) warranted its own beat in many trade media outlets, and even business reporters were carving out specialties for themselves in a fast-growing space. Today, SaaS is ubiquitous. With so many companies in so many industries touting their products in the as-a-service model, the way PR teams tell SaaS stories has to change. 

Now that “SaaS” is no longer enough to grab the attention of reporters, what should you focus your SaaS media relations and PR efforts on instead? Our team suggests these six areas:

  1. Contribute content with the element of surprise: Technology trades and publications serving vertical industries are hungry for content, and many of them are interested in expert contributions, even from vendors. To get past the editorial gatekeepers, though, you’ll need to keep your sales pitch out of your article. Further, you’ll need to hone in on what’s different and surprising about the SaaS story your company has to tell. If you can’t describe that without invoking the name of another company (“We’re like X, but for Y), your sauce might not be special enough yet to hook a reporter who wants to be surprised. 
  1. Tell a great customer story: While there are good homes for contributed thought leadership, convincing a reporter – especially a business reporter – to do the writing often requires a compelling customer. SaaS media relations can hinge on a customer willing to talk about a common pain point they had and how they turned it into a positive – with the help of your SaaS offering, of course. Offer your customer reference in your initial outreach to reporters.
  1. S-a-a-S + R-O-I: In addition to its convenience factor, software-as-a-service gained ground because of its ability to cut costs for customers. If your customers are paying based on what they use, they’re likely seeing significant cost savings over whatever solution yours unseated. Have the numbers ready to illustrate the return on their investment.
  1. Tap friendly analysts for help: Lots of SaaS offerings replace cumbersome, manual processes or legacy technology, but that doesn’t mean you can discount the competition. Schedule regular conversations with analysts to fine-tune your differentiators, and stay in frequent contact with relevant analysts, so they’re up-to-date on your offerings. The connections will pay off not only in terms of messaging, but potentially for third-party references for media or advocacy with your prospects. 
  1. Don’t forget the channel press: The IT channel and reseller market is growing quickly to help businesses with diverse technology needs. SaaS companies need awareness with this audience, and pitching the press that covers the channel can be a critical part of the go-to-market strategy. Tell a clear story about how your offering will help partners generate new revenue, expand their capabilities or handle larger deployments.
  1. Dial up the focus on data: Business publications are hungry for data-driven stories. Are you sitting on untapped information that could fuel a trends story in a top-tier outlet? A survey of your customers or other data about their pain points, usage patterns or other details can help grab the interest of a reporter. If the data you’re able to uncover changes over time, quarterly reports (supported by marketing and PR campaigns) can help turn you into a trusted resource reporters go back to repeatedly.

Securing a media opportunity is a great first step in building awareness for your SaaS company. To keep up the momentum and turn initial awareness into long-term, measurable return on your PR and marketing investment, consider what happens to your media coverage after it’s published. How are you leveraging it for content marketing, on social media, through sales enablement and more? These are all key marketing considerations for extending the life of your PR wins and building your SaaS business.

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