The recent Labor Day continued to shine a spotlight on an ongoing problem brought on by COVID-19: The Great Job Exodus of 2021. According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, 40% of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year. While many companies adopted more flexible work policies to adapt to the pandemic — with some being here to stay permanently — employees are continuing to experience burnout and businesses are seeing employees flee by the dozens. 

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn have exposed a high percentage of PR and marketing professionals leaving their positions no matter the industry or tenure. Businesses large and small are struggling to fill key marcomms positions — specifically those in the mid and senior roles. And who can blame them when they’ve been working for 5 years or more, exhaustedly grinding away with a pandemic raging? 

Finding and retaining top in-house talent can negatively impact the ability of marcomms teams to execute. The absence of senior leaders can make it difficult to provide the C-Suite with the strategy and ideas essential to growing the business. Additionally, if you can’t fully staff the team with junior and mid-level professionals, it can bog down more experienced marcoms professionals in tactical, rather than strategic, work. 

The current conditions make a strong argument to fill the gap with a tech PR agency, like Bluetext. Leaning on an agency partner for additional services and support can alleviate some of that workload and bring fresh ideas and perspectives to your business. However, picking an agency is no easy task. Businesses need to find trusted advisors and agencies that will be an extension of the company; trustworthy firms that understand your business, products, and values. So, how do you pick the right partner to fill these gaps? Let’s dive in!

Benefits of an Agency Partner vs. In-House Staff

While both options have their benefits, deciding on an agency or in-house staff really depends on what your business is looking for, and it can depend on a variety of factors. While an in-house employee will, over time, know the ins and outs of your brand, it is rare to find an in-house marketer who is adept at all aspects of digital marketing. And if you do find someone who knows all aspects of digital marketing, it could be an overwhelming experience for them and may impact employee retention. 

With an agency, you gain the benefit of a team of individuals with complementary skills who already work well together. An agency can also bring a fresh perspective, based on work with others in your industry, and even competitors. In-house marcomm professionals are at times so close to the brand it can lead to overly subjective decisions. 

As for media relations, a public relations agency will have years and years of experience in multiple industries. Their media relations roots are continuously growing as they’re passed from client team to client team. Agencies have a plethora of relationships with media that are nurtured continuously from client’s both past and present. In general, agencies have a better understanding of media, industry trends, and the ever-changing media landscape and can easily adapt a strategy to meet the needs of their clients.

What to Ask Yourself when Finding an Agency

1. What are my goals?

This is a no-brainer! What are your marketing goals? The answer will determine which agency is right for you, what resources an agency should have, and more. Does this agency have enough experience and resources to help you achieve core objectives, does it have a presence in your target market or will you be able to build relationships with media through this agency? All of these questions are important to ask when it comes to choosing the correct agency partner. 

2. Does my staff have the required resources and skills needed to achieve said goals?

By understanding which marketing tactics your business needs and the resources and skill level needed to do it, you’ll be able to find the right agency for your business. If you’re looking for more comprehensive marketing services none of your in-house roles can accomplish, be sure to pick an agency that has a diverse skill set to cover your bases. As a fully integrated marketing agency, Bluetext has a variety of services we offer to our clients that include messaging, branding, website design and development, go-to-market campaign strategy, public relations, social media, and so much more.

3. What value will I get for the cost?

When evaluating an agency, the math needs to be done to compute the true cost of the output. With an agency, you get the support of an entire team rather than just one person, therefore, getting more for less.

4. What is my budget?

By determining your budget, you can decide how much you can afford to invest in marketing which will dictate how much work your agency will take on. Sometimes what you can afford is too little to drive real results with one agency but can work for another. 

Once you’ve asked yourself what your goals, budget, staffing needs, and skillset needs are, be sure to contact Bluetext to learn how our B2B tech PR team can help you fill any in-house skills gaps you are facing. 

Given the speed at which news is consumed today, timing is everything. Latching onto a rapidly developing news cycle is a great way to gain visibility for your brand, establish thought leadership on a topic and build relationships with reporters. Rapid response, or newsjacking, opportunities are when brands capitalize on breaking news to provide relevant commentary on the story while drawing attention to their own content.

As brand storytellers, we’re scanning the news daily for what’s happening in the industry, what brands are standing out, how our clients are showing up and more. Thus, implementing a rapid response strategy during your daily news scans is easy, time-efficient and can be very fruitful. However, there are a few things to be wary of, including sensitivities around the news, reaction time and offering valuable insights. 

Read the Room

Not every breaking news story needs commentary. Consider the sensitivities around the developing story, read the room and evaluate if a comms strategy is necessary around this cycle. If yes, then designate who your spokesperson will be and develop your commentary. 

Amid tragedy at a global scale, like social unrest, natural disasters or pandemic, it is best advised to redirect external communications to focus on internal messaging and making sure employees feel supported. Exploiting tragedy and proactively telling a reporter how a company’s software product might have altered a tragic situation can be perceived as insensitive and will put your brand in a negative light. 

A prime newsjacking market is cybersecurity. There are countless hacks that offer  opportunities for cybersecurity firms to comment on topics like how the hack occurred, how that kind of hack or bad actor will evolve throughout the year and beyond, background on the hack or bad actor, what cybersecurity protocols can be implemented to prevent the hack from occurring again and more. But the noisier the market (and there are thousands of cybersecurity vendors with something to say), the more you will have to carve out a defined lane and message that reporters will find of value. 

Timing Is Crucial

News comes and goes fast. Rapid response opportunities work best when you’re the hare, not the tortoise. In your daily scans, once you see a trending piece or developing piece and think that news cycle will pick up, get ahead — reach out to your spokesperson, pick their brain about how the story will develop, compile their thoughts into a pitch and ship it off to relevant reporters. From there, wait for the story to develop and see if the reporter has any other questions. 

Yes, and ?

While timing is crucial in rapid response opportunities, it isn’t everything. Messaging is just as important. It does help to be the first to comment, but other brands won’t be far behind, and if your messaging does not add value to the conversation, it will not be included. On top of that, given the opportunity is industry-wide, keep the commentary broadly applicable but nuanced enough to stand out. This is not the time to gush about your company and the latest products. 

There is a time and place for everything. While we as communicators want to jump on as many opportunities as they come, we need to be cautious about the ever-changing news landscape, the sensitivities of the world and the reputational risk that comes with it. 

To learn more about how Bluetext can improve your newsjacking processes and timing, contact us today.