As an IT service provider, building and communicating your brand effectively should be a top priority every day. It’s not a one-and-done effort. Branding is an integrated and ongoing part of doing business that every IT service provider needs to own.
Many IT service providers and MSPs use press releases to promote their brand and communicate the latest and greatest happenings and viewpoints at their organization. This is a great communication practice that certainly helps drive SEO and, more importantly, builds the company’s brand and credibility.
The challenge, though, is that many channel partners aren’t sure what’s actually press-release worthy, so they simply don’t engage or do so infrequently. Others over-communicate, taking a blanketed approach and promoting anything and everything with a press release.
No matter where you fall on that spectrum, here are some pointers to help you course correct in 2016:
1. Ensure your website is worthy
Your press release will drive eyeballs to your website. Does it look professional? Are you clearly communicating how you help businesses use technology to reach their goals? Is there a clear call to action? Are your customer testimonials, industry accolades, and social media sites easy to reference? You don’t want to lose the momentum you gained from a press release simply because people found your website confusing or unprofessional.
2. Determine what is and isn’t press-release worthy
Ask this easy qualifying question: Will the “news” matter to people outside of your company? If the answer is “Yes,” ask why and be sure to clearly communicate that when you write the press release. If the answer is “No,” ask why. If you can adjust the message and make it relevant, great! If you can’t, maybe it’s best as an internal announcement or a blog post instead.
Here’s a quick example of what I mean. You’ve just earned a new, advanced networking or security certification. The certification alone checks an important box for your company no doubt, but the news is you are able to “Help SMBs Save Time and Money in 2016” or “Keep SMBs Secure from CryptoWall.” The point is you need to make the news valuable to your reader and the industry you serve.
3. Don’t rely solely on press releases
With so many communications vehicles to choose from (blogs, social media, direct mail, email, etc.), a press release and pay-for-play newswire should be reserved for your “bigger, better, and broader” news announcements, and you should limit it to one or two press releases per month (some exceptions will apply).
So, what’s newsworthy? A new service. A new specialization. A company milestone. A strategic win or award. Again, always keep in mind what the news means for the reader — the customer, the partner, the prospect, influencers, and press.
But you shouldn’t ignore the other communications tools out there. Use blogs, social media, etc. to connect with both current and potential customers on other topics as well.
Another option to consider
Press releases are also a great way to communicate and reinforce a company’s point of view on a popular or particular topic. You can use press releases to share your business value and thought leadership, as well as celebrate end-of-year successes and New Year goals.
For example, if you’re speaking on a panel or headlining an industry event, promote your point of view and the call to action for customers: “XYZ CEO Outlines Top Cybersecurity Threats Impacting SMBs.” Remember, it’s less about the event and more about the takeaways you think people need to know about, whether they attended the event or not.
There is always more to discuss around the topic of PR. If you have a question, please ask. In the meantime, have a Happy New Year!
About the Author: As president and founder of WhiteFox Marketing & Communications, Marie Rourke is recognized throughout the IT channel for her straightforward, business-minded approach to channel marketing, PR, and communications. With more than 15 years of experience in the IT channel, she is a friendly face at industry events and a respected advisor and colleague to many of the channel’s most innovative companies and business partners. Marie launched WhiteFox in 2005 with the vision of bringing channel relationships, marketing, PR and communications to the forefront of companies’ business growth strategies and tactics.