When I think of noisemakers, those infernal childhood contraptions come to mind (pictured below). No, I did not grow up in the 1950s, but sadly the operational concept didn’t evolve in subsequent decades. Grab the small handle, twirl the noisemaker around, and try to outrun your parents as they attempted to smash your migraine machine into a million pieces.
Relax, right? It’s fun to make a lot of noise because people pay attention. Maybe that’s true…up to a point. If you create too much noise, or the noise has no value, the end result is that the people you want to hear it the most tune you out, and some might even grab your noisemaker and smash it into a zillion pieces.
The same can be said for the company’s PR efforts.
The consequences of creating noise are not exclusive to press releases and announcements. The impact of any form of content creation – blog posts, op-eds, social media posts, pitches – is dulled when quantity is prioritized over quality.
The fast-moving narrative surrounding ChatGPT illustrates how critical and challenging it will be to create news over noise. Knee-jerk early predictions that ChatGPT’s ability to rapidly generate effective marketing and PR content would sufficiently address quality concerns are now tempered with the realization that the floodgates are open. The number of fake news websites identified as using AI for content generation exploded from 49 in early May to 277 less than two months later. ChatGPT doesn’t need to be perfect if you are asking it to plan a weekend getaway to Charleston. The margin for error is far smaller when the goal is to influence sophisticated enterprise or government tech buyers.
This isn’t to say that ChatGPT and similar variations won’t improve over time. They surely will. But in the near term, ChatGPT is going to create a lot of noise. Also, remember that Generative AI systems learn from human-generated data and large language models train on public data sets. If the share of data sets tilt heavily from human to AI-generated content, it threatens the value proposition of the models.
Clients often first engage with PR agencies as noisemakers. They are churning out so much content, operating under the premise that velocity trumps all. Part of our job, at a PR agency, is to educate clients on the difference between noise and news, and what it takes to drive the latter. Because making noise isn’t making news; there is a difference. Several differences actually. And becoming a newsmaker first requires understanding what it means to be a noisemaker.
5 Signs Your Brand is a Noisemaker
- Your media engagement is transactional
Press releases, at their most basic, are designed to communicate something of value from the organization to relevant target audiences. In terms of broader outreach to media, value is undermined if the approach is purely transactional. If the only time you reach out to reporters and influencers is when you want something out of them (i.e. – sharing news you want them to cover), that is one-directional noise. They will tune you out and assume the only time communication is established is when you want something from them. More productive is to evolve beyond a ‘taker’ relationship; media engagements aren’t transactions to be executed but relationships to be developed where PR professionals look to provide meaningful information that is not always self-serving.
- You value sizzle over substance
Noise is pure sizzle. News is a strategic combination of sizzle and substance. When it comes to b2b and b2g technology, products, services, and solutions, vaporware doesn’t sell. There are ways to distribute news in a compelling way, and there is innovation happening that is transformational enough to make media, customers and prospects stop what they are doing and pay attention.
But we are light years past the dot com era where companies could literally push out a press release, say anything they want, and not have it be pressure tested. Your news needs substance and validators; your audiences are cynical and if you don’t have the answers, they will move on.
- Your news is episodic
News in a vacuum becomes noise. Your target audiences shouldn’t have to figure out how each press release, blog post, case study, presentation, etc. connects to one another.
We talked about the need to tell a cohesive, forward-looking story. Don’t message the news in a vacuum; establish a storyline that can link past, present, and future company news and activities. If someone were to read all of your releases, blogs, and other announcement mechanisms, would a compelling and tight narrative emerge? It should.
- Your news overpromises and underdelivers
That’s the epitome of noise, right? Bold promises that may sound good at first blush, and may even generate attention if spun correctly, but that do not hold up over time. Unfulfilled product and technology promises – even if they are real and not vaporware – undermine the impact of road map announcements down the line. Corporate growth stories are another common stumbling block, as CXOs often feel obligated to project best-case scenarios for hiring and client/revenue growth. If you expect to add 50 employees in the coming year, and only add 12, media and investors will remember that, and ask tough questions about why your organization fell short.
- You prioritize quantity at the expense of quality
Finding the right balance of news/content quality and quantity is critical. But too many organizations swing the pendulum way too far towards volume – pummeling the market with press release after press release, blogs that do not capture leads or attention, and other forms of content that target audiences will eventually tune out. Content velocity is important, but not at the expense of quality because people need to read, view, and listen to this content, be motivated to engage with it, and then take action. At the end of the day, the push for quantity may be happening for the wrong reasons. Churning out content because investors are clamoring for news, any news, is counter-productive. Relying on faulty and biased metrics to justify content velocity also negatively impacts broader objectives.
Find out what it means to become a newsmaker able to rise above competitor noise by contacting Bluetext today.
PR professionals are often required to transform subject matter experts – scientists, academics, researchers – into effective messengers. These experts possess deep knowledge in their respective fields, but they often struggle to articulate complex concepts in a way that’s easy for the general public to understand. Bluetext believes three key strategies help SMEs share their knowledge in a manner that captivates their audience.
Encourage them to Tell Stories and Use Analogies
Our brains are wired for stories. While facts and figures are crucial within academic or scientific circles, only standout statistics engage wider audiences. Individual stories and relatable analogies make the nuances of an expert’s work more tangible.
PR professionals must encourage experts to transform their knowledge into stories. Analogies, for example, can break down complex topics into familiar concepts that audiences can understand and connect with. It’s about presenting information in a way that is not just intellectually digestible, but also emotionally resonant.
Below, the technical explanation gives accuracy at the expense of comprehension, while the analogy aids understanding and relatability.
Before: “Solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity through photovoltaic cells. When photons hit the cells, they knock electrons free from atoms. If conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides of a cell, it forms an electrical circuit. When electrons flow through such a circuit, they generate electricity.”
After: “Think of a solar panel as a plant in your garden. Just as a plant uses sunlight for photosynthesis to produce food, a solar panel uses sunlight to produce electricity. The ‘leaves’ of our solar panel – the photovoltaic cells – catch the sunlight and kickstart a process that generates electricity for your home.”
Don’t Dumb it Down, Balance it Out
It’s crucial not to dumb down complex concepts when training SMEs as effective messengers. The goal is to respect the audience’s intelligence while ensuring comprehension. This balance is best achieved by delving into specifics when necessary and providing a general overview where it isn’t.
For instance, when discussing an advanced software tool, an expert might briefly explain its mechanics, then elaborate on the real-life scenarios where it could enhance work productivity.
Before: “We use a high-transmittance, anti-reflective glass, encased with anodic oxidation aluminum alloy frame for our solar panels. These are embedded with mono-crystalline silicon solar cells, which are highly efficient.”
After: “High-transmittance, anti-reflective glass allows a lot of light to pass through and reduces light reflection, which is ideal for solar panels. Anodic oxidation aluminum alloy is a sturdy, corrosion-resistant material used to frame the panels, and mono-crystalline silicon solar cells are highly effective cells made from a single crystal structure that converts sunlight into electricity,
Above, the ‘before’ message is laden with technical terms that a non-expert may not understand. In the ‘after’ message, the expert takes a more balanced approach by explaining these terms in easily understood language that identifies each material’s role in the system.
Practice with the Expert
As with any skill, effective messaging needs practice. Before an interview or presentation, PR professionals should work with the expert to define their key messages, prepare responses to likely questions, and identify topics to avoid.
Practice sessions serve dual purposes. They help experts gain confidence in delivering their messages and also assist them in refining their responses. Through iterative practice, experts can identify and focus on the most important elements of their responses, ensuring they deliver succinct, impactful answers when interacting with reporters or audiences.
Training experts to be effective messengers isn’t always a straightforward task. But by encouraging storytelling, balancing technical information, and emphasizing key messages, you can help them communicate their knowledge in a way that resonates with a wider audience. The transformation from expert to an engaging speaker is well worth the effort and maybe the difference between just getting an interview and receiving airtime, or even better – an invite back.
Take a look at some of Bluetext’s past work to see how client subject matter experts have been able to unlock their knowledge for a wider base and deliver powerful messages to the audiences that need to hear them most. Are you in need of a marketing and public relations agency with the skills to bring out those messages and take them to market? Contact us today.
Modern PR strategy has evolved significantly over the years to adapt to the dynamic digital landscape. A company’s communication strategy should encompass a variety of innovative techniques to engage audiences, drive brand awareness, and impact the organization’s bottom line. Bluetext has successfully employed these six strategies for our clientele that you should consider incorporating into your PR approach or, at the very least, ask your Agency why they aren’t doing the same.
One of the critical elements of a modern PR strategy is thought leadership. This involves positioning your company’s executive team as experts by creating and sharing insightful, thought-provoking content. Whether it’s publishing industry analyses, contributing to discussions on current trends, or offering innovative solutions to industry challenges, thought leadership can significantly enhance your brand’s credibility and visibility.
Another critical strategy in today’s PR toolkit is content marketing. Businesses benefit from creating and distributing content that drives audience growth and engages key stakeholders. This strategy isn’t limited to written content; it can take various forms, including videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. The aim is to craft content that resonates with your audience, enhancing their awareness and understanding of your brand and encouraging interaction.
Brand journalism is another powerful PR approach. This strategy involves creating and sharing news stories about your organization and its impact on the industry or community. You can shape public perception and stir interest in your company by crafting compelling narratives around your brand and its activities.
Speaking engagements offer a fantastic platform for your organization’s leaders to showcase their expertise, share thought leadership and network with key stakeholders. By securing speaking opportunities at industry conferences and events, your brand and subject matter experts can reach a wider audience and gain valuable industry recognition. No matter the level and expertise of the speaker, it goes without saying that media training and coaching go hand in hand with any speaking engagement. Even professional talking heads on cable news need to run through their talking points and polish their delivery, so it makes sense that your executive or SME needs at least the same prep. Preparation is the key to any crisp, engaging, and memorable presentation.
Awards & Recognition
Recognition plays a vital role in a successful PR strategy. Applying for and winning awards highlighting your company’s achievements, innovations, and work environment can significantly boost your brand’s reputation, SEO optimization, and company visibility. More importantly, it builds trust among the target audience, employees, and stakeholders, making it easier to engage stakeholders and establish lasting relationships.
Finally, employee advocacy is an increasingly recognized strategy for its effectiveness. Encouraging your employees to share your organization’s content and messaging on their personal social media channels or at industry events can amplify a company’s reach. Employees are credible brand ambassadors, helping to increase brand awareness and foster trust among potential customers and stakeholders.
Each of these PR strategies and tactics increases brand visibility, improves understanding of products or services, builds trust among critical audiences, drives more engagement, and has a tangible impact on your bottom line. Utilizing each strategically and cohesively can significantly enhance your PR efforts and ultimately contribute to the success of your business. To learn how to apply these strategies to your communications mission, reach out to Brian Kelley at Bkelley@bluetext.com.
Have you ever pitched a reporter with a story or announcement you thought would definitely catch their attention only to be ghosted? It’s happened to all of us at some point in our careers, in no small part because, frankly, journalists are drowning in pitches.
In Cision’s 2022 survey, more than half of the 3800 journalists responded that they received over 50 pitches a week through email, phone or social media, and about 24% of them received up to 100 per week.
As PR professionals, we are responsible for building brand reputation and promoting businesses in a positive light. To do so, we need to be armed with data and facts to create campaigns that will evoke the right response and reach the intended audience in an authentic way.
So, how can PR pros break through the noise? How do we grab the attention of reporters and other audiences? The key is infusing company stories and narratives with data.
Why use data-driven storytelling?
Data-driven storytelling helps construct and communicate a compelling story that drives action and can be the difference between a successful campaign and one that gets lost in the busy news cycle.
By accurately presenting data associated with clients, you can improve narrative-building and storytelling capabilities, connecting clients to the public in a meaningful way.
For example, personal finance, business and local consumer interest reporters are annually inundated with tax-related pitches leading up to April’s big filing day. To catch their attention, data is critical. We worked with one of our clients to build a campaign anchored by data that showed tax scam robocalls increased in volume ahead of Tax Filing Day, while also uncovering localized data narratives specific to scams circulating in different markets.
Having this reliable data to back up the story around consumer scams and awareness for Tax Day helped drive media opportunities for the client, which can help increase engagement with the public, generate interest and spark further conversation.
How to use data to tell your clients’ stories
While creativity and relationships are key components of a great public relations strategy, facts are what seal the deal. Here are four ways you can use data and spread a narrative.
- Use newsworthy statistics. When pitching a story, data drives the narrative forward. Incorporating attention-grabbing statistics helps give your narrative a solid foundation of evidence while making the content more persuasive and impactful. With newsworthy statistics, you can hope to get your client’s story more attention and media coverage.
- Frame data in the right context. Data is important, but what matters more is how you frame that data. Before sharing any statistics, make sure that you’re choosing the right facts and figures and putting them in a context that is relevant to your client’s story so that readers can instantly understand the implications of the facts you’re presenting. It’s also imperative that your spokespeople are well-equipped with the necessary data and have the right talking points to frame the story correctly.
- Follow up with visualizations. To bring your story to life and make it stand out, it’s a good idea to back up your data with visualizations such as graphs and charts. Doing this can help paint a vivid picture that reinforces the narrative you’re trying to pitch while making the story more engaging and easier to digest.
- Understand data trends. Data also provides powerful insights into the conversations happening around a brand or company, allowing you to see what phrases or keywords people are using to talk about it, how often to post about it, and which channels are being used for engagement. With this data, you can see what topics or trends are resonating with target audiences and adjust the strategy accordingly.
Data can be a PR pro’s best friend when used effectively. By framing data in the right context and following up with visualizations, reporters are likely to be engaged by your clients’ stories and more likely to cover that story.
A single well-crafted story backed with facts, statistics and data can go a long way in making your stories powerful, authoritative, and attractive to both reporters and the public.
Learn more about Bluetext’s data-centric PR approach, or contact us to hear about our full life-cycle marketing services.
If you’re starting off your press releases and pitches with boilerplate language, you might as well crumple them up, toss them in a garbage can, and set them on fire.
Alright, that may be slightly overdramatic. But it got you to keep reading the next few sentences, didn’t it? Attention is an increasingly precious resource in this age of constant stimulation, so grabbing hold of it and keeping it is paramount for any PR professional trying to get a message out into the world.
Standing Out in the Crowd
When a pitch is one of the hundreds in a reporter’s inbox, or a press release is one of the thousands published daily on the news wires, you can’t take for granted that anyone will read your content and understand the full scope of your announcement. A reporter may only see the first words in an email preview before deciding whether to open or delete an incoming pitch, so if the subject line hasn’t already grabbed them, your opening is your final chance to make the case for your message’s relevance.
Some contexts and audiences require an established professional tone, necessitating a more formal approach. But where there is an opportunity to add energy to your message without spilling over into the bombastic, introducing dynamic language can make all the difference. In other words, don’t “improve” your opening lines— supercharge, enhance, or revamp them.
From Standard to Stronger
The start of a message doesn’t have to be extreme or court outrage to be compelling — it only has to be unique and inspire curiosity to learn more. Methods may vary depending on the industry you’re working in or the types of audiences you’re speaking to, but there are a few core techniques that can reliably improve the start of your messaging. The following examples of standard introductions show how they can be strengthened by using these techniques:
Pitch Email – Make it Personal, Tell a Story
Standard opening: Hi Tom, I saw you have been covering trends in technology and wanted to share some information on new advancements in AI. An expert I work with has spoken on the anticipated opportunities and challenges at several conferences and can capably speak to the current moment…
There’s nothing wrong with this opening, but it is likely identical to dozens of other pitching messages Tom regularly receives. If the subject line isn’t compelling enough on its own, the body of the message is unlikely to improve the chances of your message being read. By making the introduction more personal, demonstrating familiarity with the reporter’s work specifically, and telling a story, we can strengthen this opening:
Stronger opening: Tom, I couldn’t agree more that “we’re on the precipice of the greatest global transformation since the internet,” as you said in your recent piece. That’s exactly how the AI expert I work with describes what’s coming. At a recent conference, he told me about his predictions for the next five years over a lukewarm hotel coffee and…
Press Release – Share a Surprising Fact, Use Dynamic Language
Standard Opening: City, State (Date) — A new survey released by IT firm Example Company shows that business leaders already use AI in their daily work. The survey, which polled 2,000 corporate workers, found that 68% of respondents have been utilizing the latest AI innovations.
This introduction is accurate, and you don’t want to stray too far from the core facts of the announcement. Still, by frontloading the interesting fact, using bolder language, and providing relevant context, the basic facts of this release can take on a more dynamic form.
Stronger Opening: City, State (Date) — Over two-thirds of business leaders are already using AI every day, according to a landmark survey of IT professionals conducted by Example Company. This finding, among several other insights in the full report, paints a picture not of an industry on the brink of transformation but an evolution actively underway.
Article – Ask a Provocative (But Fair) Question, Demonstrate Value
Standard Opening: Some workers express trepidation about using AI tools in their jobs, citing concerns about their role being deprecated by new technology. But these workers may not appreciate the ways in which AI can improve their experience at work.
This introduction clearly sets the stage for what the article will entail. But unless a reader is already interested in the topic and independently curious to learn more, they are unlikely to dive into this article. To improve this introduction, we can begin with a compelling question and clearly state how the reader stands to benefit from the message at hand:
Stronger Opening: Do you love every part of your job? Chances are, there are some tasks you begrudgingly complete and others you actually look forward to. Thankfully, the routine, mundane tasks that can make the workday feel longer are precisely the types of tasks AI tools excel at handling. Less time doing data entry or collating spreadsheets translates to more of your time dedicated to meaningful or creative tasks.
Going Bold Without Going Overboard
There’s a fine line to walk between an opening that is compelling and intriguing and an opening that is inflammatory or misleading. Bold openings require substantive and useful information in the body of the message in order to deliver their intrigue and avoid seeming like a bait-and-switch. If you begin with an unusual question, be sure to provide an answer or interesting points in support of different perspectives. Likewise, if you begin with a strange fact, ensure that it relates to the ultimate focus of your message. Starting an article with “Did you know frogs use their eyes to swallow?” may make readers continue reading the piece, but unless your story is related to frogs, it will seem like a cheap non-sequitur by the end of the article.
Of course, there is room for nuance, detailed explanation, and essential facts in PR messaging. But readers will only give that kind of material the attention they require if they are already invested in the story you are telling. Earning that attention with a strong and compelling introduction allows you to slow down and take time on the most critical details.
You would probably not be reading this conclusion if this blog post had started: “Writing an engaging introduction in press materials is a very important part of PR messaging, as it establishes a tone that encourages further reading.” But with a strong start, the piece becomes more engaging and ultimately reaches a broader — and more engaged — audience.
Interested in taking your press strategy to the next level? Contact Bluetext to learn about our PR services.
The entrepreneurial CMO is “beholden neither to the status quo nor to disrupting it for disruption’s sake.” That premise, according to Forbes, helped to guide its selections for the recently released 2023 Forbes Entrepreneurial CMO 50 list.
It is a herculean challenge to drive change in relatively stable environments, let alone be bold enough to transform brands amidst a year of chaos defined by an evolving pandemic, inflation, structural workforce adjustments and a polarized country willing to buy or boycott products based on a brand’s perceived “wokeness.”
Disruption is not only being fueled by undeniably negative chaos agents, but also by more complex ones that pose endless possibilities…and risks. Generative AI and ChatGPT grab headlines, and rightly so, but for so many brands the pandemic has accelerated enterprise-wide digital transformation.
Forbes acknowledges those challenges – and more – in identifying 50 CMOs who succeeded despite the unprecedented, multi-faceted risk climate. Here are a few narratives that emerged from the change agents selected for the Forbes 50 list:
Being data-driven, but human defined
Nobel laureate awardee Ronald H. Course once said “if you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.” Ironically, in some ways, CMOs are being tortured by the very data they rely on so heavily – particularly when it comes to the crushing volume of marketing data. A 2022 survey of 300 global CMOs by integrated marketing data platform Adverity found that two-thirds of them feel the volume of marketing data available has become overwhelming.
This love-hate relationship with data may at least be partially responsible for its conspicuous absence within the insights provided by the 50 CMOs named by Forbes. At a time when the ability to acquire and analyze data seems to dominate so many brand and business conversations, it was clear that entrepreneurial marketing leaders aren’t looking to be defined solely as data crunchers. It is undeniable that data has become core to internal and customer-facing operations, table stakes even, but marketers acknowledged its limits.
More than one CMO recognized by Forbes referenced that while data drives decision making, there are risks in having it solely define brand strategy as if it is a panacea. Marketers such as Carla Zakhem-Hassan, CMO at JPMorgan Chase, highlighted the importance of humans in the decision making process. She wants to always ensure “…the company infuses humanity into their products, services, and marketing approach” and that her team knows they “need the data, but we also need the humanity.”
Injecting B2C creativity into B2B campaigns
B2B brands often face narrower and more rigid guardrails when it comes to unleashing creative ideas into the market. B2B prospects are bottom-line driven; the sales cycle can be long; and the hierarchy of decision makers is complex. Edgy campaigns that effectively capture the attention and dollars of consumers may strike the wrong chord with business buyers who just want to understand how you can help solve their challenges.
But entrepreneurial CMOs do not want to be boxed in. Accenture Chief Marketing & Communications Officer and Forbes 50 honoree Jill Kramer pushes back against the notion B2B marketing is “uncreative” by launching campaigns like “Let There Be Change” – designed “to help B2B CMOs reframe the business goal and rebrand the marketing term using a more entrepreneurial approach.”
Re-writing playbooks rather than tweaking them
If a CMO is always trying to adapt to change, they probably aren’t driving it. The notion of a post-pandemic “return to normalcy” when it comes to how and where people work or the mechanisms brands use to engage with consumers is flawed at best, self-destructive at worst.
Building campaigns that anticipate the unwinding of structural changes that never arrive are sunk investments. Forbes 50 marketers recognize this; ServiceNow CMO Michael Park cites how marketers are missing an opportunity if they simply try to adapt to volatility, and instead should be using it as a springboard to the road ahead, which provides “almost unlimited opportunities to redraw the parameters we set our growth targets against.”
The same can be said about the nature of work. Melissa Selcher, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at LinkedIn makes the point that 5 years ago, you did not have tens of millions of people creating social channel content around work. People commuted to their offices, spent the day there, and then returned home. As Selcher explains, “no one talked about work, we just worked.”
The pandemic changed all of this; the how, when, and where people worked became diverse and compelling, and also defining in a way that current and future employers have to acknowledge.
Aiming for micro-failures and macro successes
It isn’t novel to suggest that failure breeds success. As Dale Carnegie suggested “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”
But the trick is to make brand strategy failures manageable, not fatal. Ricardo Marques, VP Marketing, Michelob Ultra at Anheuser-Busch/InBev, talked about micro-failures when reflecting on the brand’s “McEnroe vs. McEnroe” initiative, which, pardon the pun, served up what it claimed to be the world’s first hybrid tennis match of real John McEnroe versus virtual representations of himself at various career stages. “We had micro-failure moments throughout the project that would have killed it in a traditional approach, but didn’t because we remained agile and flexible throughout, adjusting, and calibrating when faced with challenges.”
Other Forbes CMO winners addressed the need to not only correct failures, but convert them into opportunities. Uber VP of Marketing David Mogensen shared that when Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields tweeted about an Uber Eats delivery fail, the Uber team eyed an opportunity that showcased the value of agility. They pivoted from a ready-to-launch campaign to a call-and-response spot where WR Odell Beckham addresses the QB’s complaint. But to ensure it was a campaign of substance for the customer base, the brand promised a $0 delivery fee for 3 months if app users encountered similar problems.
Similarly, Kofi Amoo-Gottfried, CMO at DoorDash reinforced the need for marketers to learn from successes and failures. A glitch allowing users to order from Cheesecake Factory without paying became an opportunity to later partner with the well-known chain to hack and gamify its extensive menu – driving a double-digit bump in website traffic and a tangible orders increase.
Perfect strangers can make perfect partners
A little something about me; if I have an opportunity to work Balki Bartokomous into a blog post, it is going to happen. Balki and Larry were in fact perfect strangers in the hit 80s/90s sitcom, and it is safe to say that top marketers are not shying away from exploring unexpected alliances with celebrities, viral influencers and brands, as well as other content creators to reach desired audiences.
Lara Hood Balazs, General Manager and CMO at Intuit focused on establishing a more dominant unifying brand elevating its better known products such as TurboTax, QuickBooks, MailChimp and Credit Karma. Updating the brand’s identity included forging a unique partnership with Mr. Beast for its #RaceToTheRefund campaign.
Nothing excites Bluetext more than working with marketing entrepreneurs who want to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to transforming brands and markets. Click here to learn more about how Bluetext is the innovative partner you need to become the brand that customers want, and the competition envy.
Digital transformation creates challenges and opportunities for B2G marketing leaders seeking to sell to government agencies. The appetite for digitization of citizen services accelerated during the pandemic as agencies recognized a more intense need to transform communications and engage with citizens. At the same time, the DoD moved forward with a digital-forward strategy to guide the industry on how to best deliver transformative technologies.
B2G brands competitively positioning themselves to pursue and capture digital transformation-driven contract opportunities benefit from a smart, holistic public relations program aligned with the pace at which agencies are evaluating, adopting, and deploying new technologies.
So much of Bluetext’s PR and marketing work with government contractors and IT providers involves a keen understanding of how government buyers evaluate, procure and deploy technologies and services – and the messages that resonate most with them. For B2G marketers creating PR programs that tap into public sector digital transformation, there are a few key considerations:
Agencies Don’t Transform Overnight
Less than one in ten (7%) government leader respondents in an EY 2022 report said they believe their organization has achieved its digital transformation goals. This doesn’t mean that digital transformation isn’t moving forward but serves as a gut check that B2G brands must stay attuned to the pace of change.
The tricky balance for B2G CMOs is to effectively communicate how their products, technologies, and services can future-proof agencies while acknowledging that legacy technology investments cannot be unwound overnight. In other words, media coverage and thought leadership cannot ignore where agencies are today.
Similarly, there are nuances to digital transformation messaging, for example when it comes to workforce automation. PR may be required to address the fact that, among government workforces, transformation can create uncertainty. Artificial Intelligence and automation can equate to fears of employees being replaced. If B2G brands leave it up to the agency customer to overcome workforce resistance to new technologies, adoption can be slowed and contract opportunities will dwindle.
Match Thought Leadership To Right Hype Cycle
There are perils to spinning wheels on Gartner Hype Cycle™ “Innovation Trigger” technologies that may be garnering media coverage but are years away from commercial viability. The “Innovation Trigger” hype cycle phase refers to when “A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.”
In the 2022 Gartner Digital Government Services Hype Cycle, the research firm identifies technologies such as Metaverse, immersive meetings, and influence engineering and machine customers that are years if not decades away from reaching a plateau.
In the same way that CIOs need to keep their eyes on potentially transformative technologies and practices that are years from widespread adoption – and start developing positions on these trends – marketers must think about how best to associate their brands with these emerging technologies. Thought leadership programs are a good place to start.
We work with B2G brands that face diverse challenges on the sales side. For some, they may be an established, credible brand seeking to sell a product or technology their brand isn’t traditionally associated with. This could be a result of mergers and acquisitions that have unlocked new product portfolios and capabilities. In other cases, behemoth brands are being challenged by nimble, upstarts perceived to have more cutting-edge solutions. Hundreds of challenger brands have turned to Bluetext for PR services to help provide air cover for the sales team – so that they aren’t spending half the meeting establishing credibility and can just sell based on merits.
Finally, disruptor technologies can create sufficient confusion to paralyze the buying process. Thought leadership can educate target markets to prevent this from occurring. Case in point: ChatGPT, which is spinning the heads of marketers and communications professionals across all industries. If you provide automation technologies to the public sector, agency decision-makers may wonder if a costly solution will be rendered obsolete by ChatGPT in 12-18 months and decide to wait it out. More likely, ChatGPT can be used to augment a solution, but buyers will never know that without effective earned and paid content campaigns.
Thought leadership programs are an effective way for B2G marketers to:
- Start associating your brand with trends and technologies that you will be offering in the near future without creating headaches for the sales team by sending traffic to a source with no product
- Educate the market on pain points that your solution will address, so that when you do launch the value proposition has been established
- Build up a Subject Matter Expert (SME) program with experts who can become sources on these technologies for journalists or generate interest from conference organizers
Data-Driven PR Can Make Or Break The Transformation Case
B2G brands often sit on access to PR-valuable data that is untapped for various reasons. Are state and local government leaders tapping AI to deliver citizen services? Will federal healthcare leaders increase their spending on data analytics in the upcoming fiscal year? There are external entities that track some of this data, and there is always the option to drop $25,000 on a research firm to create a survey vehicle. But most firms have built valuable mechanisms to reach customers and prospects via email and other channels, and there are seamless, non-intrusive approaches to acquiring market data that can be used to anchor PR initiatives (media pitches, bylines, social media posts, etc.).
The value of the data is to gain a stronger foothold on where your customers and prospects are as it relates to digital transformation. Leveraging that data for media pitches, byline articles and social media strengthens the business case that there is a need and appetite for your technologies.
Get Creative Telling Customer Stories
From a PR and marketing perspective, it isn’t the word of the B2G brand that will have the greatest impact on an agency prospect – it is the voice of the customer. Because agencies moving forward with digital transformation want to see that what they want to do has been done before. That digital transformation is possible, that ROI is quantifiable and that investments are justifiable.
The problem? It can be extremely difficult to secure approval to publicize government customer stories through press releases, media coverage, website case stories or via social media. This is a common frustration our clients and prospects often mention right off the bat. Traditional methods of securing agency approval rarely work, which is why Bluetext deploys creative approaches to tell a customer story through award programs, events and other mechanisms.
If you would like to learn more about how to effectively create a B2G PR program that taps into public sector digital transformation, reach out to Bluetext at https://bluetext.com/contact-us/.
Executive visibility is a critical component of any effective communication strategy. Through well-thought-out and strategically developed programs, organizations can increase employee engagement and retention, establish trust and credibility, and ultimately foster growth and success by making leaders visible to stakeholders, customers, and employees.
To optimize the ROI of your executive visibility program, it is necessary to do more than simply make executives more visible. Organizations need to approach these efforts with a focus on best practices and concentrate on key strategies in order to fully utilize this potent instrument.
We’ll review some of the most effective methods and approaches to help you maximize your executive visibility program’s return on investment.
Specify your goals
Defining your goals is the first stage in any effective communication strategy. What do you want more executive exposure to accomplish? Is it to increase credibility and faith among stakeholders? Increase retention and interest among employees? For prosperity and growth? Developing a robust executive visibility strategy will help create a clear road map to success by defining your goals.
Choose Your Primary Audience
The next stage is to determine your key audiences after you have defined your objectives. What customers, partners, clients, and staff do you want to reach with your executive visibility initiatives? You can customize your messaging and communication channels to reach and engage your key audiences by having a solid knowledge of who they are and where you can engage them.
Leverage Multiple Channels
In order to increase executive visibility, it’s crucial to use a variety of contact channels. This can include conventional media like email and newsletters, as well as contemporary ones like social media, webinars, and live events. Working with your communications team, you can ensure that your message is engaging and compelling to your target audiences by using a range of mediums to reach them where they are.
Focus on Authenticity and Openness
Authenticity and transparency are two essential components of effective executive visibility programs. Your executives can establish confidence and credibility with your key audiences by communicating in a genuine and honest manner. Sharing one’s own experiences, triumphs and failures, and even vulnerabilities can create stronger connections and boost stakeholder involvement and loyalty – all by being open and sincere.
Involve Your Team
Finally, it’s important to involve employees in your efforts to increase executive visibility. You can cultivate a culture of openness and transparency by encouraging team members to share their own experiences and viewpoints. This helps expand your sphere of influence, and as additional team members join in serving as brand ambassadors for your company, this can also aid in establishing credibility and trust with outside stakeholders.
Reap the Benefits with Bluetext
Increasing the prominence of executives within your company generates a competitive advantage and positions your business as innovative and customer-focused. It helps improve the executive’s communications and leadership skills, both directly and indirectly, while developing trust and rapport with customers and business partners and can be a mechanism for thinking through industry problems and solutions and testing new ideas.
At Bluetext, we see you and hear what you have to say, and we help make sure that your stakeholders do as well, whether they are your customers, employees, prospects, or investors. Every leader is unique, as are their voices, platforms, and messages. Because of this, we tailor our executive visibility strategy to be specific to you and your brand to cultivate and highlight the inner strengths of your executive(s) and company in ways that will provide the greatest opportunity to achieve a significant return on investment for your executive visibility program.
Contact us to learn more about our public relations & earned media services.
Press releases have long been the quintessential staple of a Public Relations and Communications business strategy. They announce company wins, news, executive moves, and critical shareholder updates.
While they’ve always been necessary, the frequency with which companies distribute press releases varies depending on company preferences and what critical stakeholders deem “newsworthy”.
Can a More Robust Press Release Strategy Drive Website Traffic?
However, this is an antiquated approach that needs to be re-examined. With a more robust press strategy, businesses can continually target the right distribution list, improve search engine optimization (SEO) and leverage these content pieces for social channels, all of which lead to increased traffic on their website. As a top public relations agency, Bluetext PR specialists have broken down the key elements of press release strategies that drive results.
The Right Distribution List
When pushing press releases out on your preferred wire service, identifying which distribution list to publish on is critical. It enables businesses to get their news published in outlets that have perhaps been difficult to break into, ones that are prominent in the organization’s industry, and news sites that reach the businesses’ targeted demographics.
As newsrooms have gotten smaller, major outlets have also increasingly relied on releases that are published on wire services to continue churning out content.
With the right distribution list, the organization putting out the news reaches existing and new audiences. If executed properly, these releases will have links that readers can click on and drive them back to the company’s website.
Those hyperlinks also play an important role in improving a company’s SEO position. Not only do they prompt readers to learn more about the company’s products and services, but they naturally increase the page rank. The higher the page rank, the higher the site will be ranked by search engines. The higher the site is ranked, the more frequently it will appear in audiences’ searches.
Leveraging Content on Social Channels
Press releases are also important content to leverage for a company’s social channels. There are three main ways to maximize the visibility of these announcements:
- Share on the company’s channels;
- Have employees share the news from the business’ profile with their own network;
- Targeted ad spending to get the posts in front of specific audiences that are deemed crucial customers.
While creating a consistent cadence of press releases should be the goal, businesses need to be careful not to flood the market with a constant barrage of saturated news updates. Instead, map out a strategy that aligns with business initiatives throughout the year. Once that plan has been finalized, organizations can then identify the distribution lists, backlinks that will boost SEO, and corresponding social strategies that will drive the most amount of traffic back to their website.
Al Davis, the former coach and owner of the Oakland Raiders, famously coined the phrase “Just win, Baby!”. And while that’s the goal for any PR agency building out an award nomination for clients, it’s easier said than done. How do agencies make their nomination stand out from the thousands of others that the judges receive? What do clients gain from winning these honors? For such a common staple in PR campaigns, award nominations are often not leveraged for maximum impact.
How to Build a Winning Nomination
Bluetext develops and executes award programs for clients across a broad range of industries and verticals. We hold considerable expertise with B2B Tech and B2G Tech Award Programs, and based on our experience, here are some keys to success when it comes to winning award submissions:
First, avoid cluttered technology jargon and be clear in your nominations.
Award nominations that struggle to present a compelling case are often guilty of being too product-oriented. Assume the judges do not know anything about your solution. It’s crucial to articulate the benefits in as clear of a manner as possible rather than just stuffing entry sections with generic content to hit word count targets.
Second, before submitting your final nomination, ask yourself – does this nomination address what the judges are looking for in a submission?
It’s always important to build a nomination that fits what the judges are looking for. Do you homework on the criteria and past winners. The website of the organization hosting the awards often has a list of criteria on what to answer when nominating clients’ solutions. In fact, some of them even hold webinars on what defines a winning submission. Adhering to those guidelines offers the best chance of winning.
Third, when drafting award nominations, it’s important to tell a story about how the solution is addressing a significant industry problem.
Build a case for the product you are nominating by answering the following questions – What’s the industry problem? What separates a client’s technology from industry competitors? Why does this particular piece of technology drive superior results? Winning nominations offer such an intriguing story about their clients’ products that the judges can’t help but recognize the importance of this solution.
Finally, always be honest with clients.
Just because a client wants to move forward with an award doesn’t mean it is a smart use of time and financial investment. If you have concerns, make your case or push to strengthen the nomination. Review past year’s award winners to demonstrate what it really takes to bring home the hardware.
Benefits of Winning Awards
Bluetext also believes there are four key benefits of winning these awards:
1. Enhances Brand Reputation
Winning awards provides positive momentum for a company’s solutions by offering third-party validation of a client’s technology or executive team leadership. Wins serve as testaments to the hard work the company has been putting into its solution. These accreditations boost both internal and external stakeholders’ confidence in the product and the company’s direction.
2. SEO Boost
Award wins are easy opportunities to leverage in press releases and social media. Often, the organization behind the awards will also celebrate the winners with press releases of their own. Wins are therefore easy ways to bring your company to the top of search engines’ results page.
3. Unlocks Important Networking Opportunities
Typically, awards come with a presentation or ceremony that presents opportunities to mingle with businesses and executives in the same industry. Furthermore, the increased brand awareness that comes with winning awards may open the doors to new business opportunities and potential partnerships.
4. Air Cover For Sales Teams
For many tech companies, especially those competing with more recognized names – sales teams often spend a chunk of their new business meetings establishing brand credibility. Showcasing highly regarded award wins can assist in overcoming the credibility hump.
The Last Piece of the Puzzle
Finally, before drafting the award, be sure it aligns with the client’s overall PR goals and strategy. Oftentimes these awards have a cost associated with them. With that in mind, it is important to align with clients on what nominations make the most sense for their overall PR strategy to get the most out of this investment.