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When it Comes to PR: Less Product, More POV, Please

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 by Meg O'Leary | No Comments

We often talk on this blog about how PR isn’t what it once was. And frankly that very notion was the foundation of InkHouse. Just a couple of weeks ago, Beth talked about how your product launch isn’t your company’s watershed moment. We are direct and unequivocal in this feedback to our clients and prospects. Don’t get me wrong—we understand that promoting your offerings is critical and selling product is why you hire an agency like ours in the first place. But we’ll never tell you we are going to garner tons of ongoing coverage for your product. With some exceptions in the consumer tech space, the days of tech product PR are basically over. Sure, we can work with you to deliver a great release and some strong initial placements when the product first debuts —but the articles and listings of new tech products that existed even just a year or two back are, for the most part, gone. So what now?

When it comes to PR, it is time to think less about product and more about your point of view (POV). Showing how and what you think is what will motivate your audiences to pay attention to you. Your POV should be as tight as your messaging—and once you create it, own it and infuse everything you do in PR with it.

To formulate a POV, you must have three critical elements:

  1. Unique perspective: What views do you hold that reflect a new way of thinking in your industry? What’s your perspective on where the world in which your company lives is going? You need to identify the open sky in your industry and create a point of view that will give reason for your company’s existence—and at the same time, rise above the din of the 24×7 news cycle and social media chatter. I often tell clients that your POV should have some sizzle in it—not controversy for the sake of it, but something that makes people sit up and take notice (maybe even bristle a little). A little discomfort can go a long way in getting your audiences to pay attention to you.
  2. Authority: To take hold, your POV needs to be anchored in authority. What expertise do you possess that positions you to be a real voice in your industry? This authority could be rooted in your usual company or executive proof points based on experience or milestones (e.g. you are the inventor of this, or the leader in that). Other times, you can help create or augment your authority through your own research or study of some kind—where you have looked at a particular sector or issue in depth and understand the dynamics of it better than others. For example, Captivate, an InkHouse client and leader in digital out-of-home advertising, employs a web-based panel to track advertisement performance for its customers. That same panel is now used to create the company’s Office Pulse campaign, which positions them as the advertising company that understands the white collar worker better than anyone else. Their surveys about  attitudes, buying habits and spending trends have appeared across hundreds of outlets over the past year, ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the “TODAY Show” to MediaPost and beyond.
  3. A strong tie to your objective: Creating a POV with some sizzle (supported by a provocative data or research) can often get you press—but you need to ensure that your POV is moving the needle for your business. Is it getting the right people to pay attention to your company for the right reasons? Your POV should motivate your key audiences to take a deeper look at your company’s offerings because they like the way you think—and trust that your product offerings are based on that thinking. One of our clients, Zmags, a pioneer in mobile merchandising, knows the tablet shopper better than any other provider (see CNBC and Internet Retailer for sample stories) and can tell a retailer the best strategies for engaging those shoppers. Showing the retail industry that Zmags understand this new age shopper is luring prospects to the company.

Once you establish a POV you believe in, stick to it! Issue announcements, tie it to customer case studies, blog about it, create industry roundtables, pitch it as a panel, develop infographics and videos that convey it…then be patient. Chances are your company perspective won’t become well known until after you are sick of talking about it.

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