We've met with several PR agencies, now. Many of them have been chock-full of impressive experiences, successes and client relationships. Many of them have charmed us with their keen insights into Jyte diverse marketplace, their creative and fun ideas, or their aggressive sales-y spirit.
We've been given a few proposals, now, and we shouldn't be so surprised. After all, many of the agents we've talked to have obviously worked together in the past. They mention common projects (one in particular must have employed every agent in the metropolitan area, an HP printer campaign to aggregate news to your networked printer each morning). Some of them even tell the same stories over again on our second meeting.
The thing is: they're all the same! There are little "cute" ideas here, a sweeping expensive project there. But they're the same. So, for your edification and to save some money on a lengthy communications degree, here's the PR campaign for tech company 101. Note: some of this information is derived from my work with the PR agency in Washington, DC who represented my former-and-now-bankrupt employer and is not meant to unfairly disparage the hard work of the nice people I've been meeting with.
- Step one. Develop a competitive, a.k.a. positioning matrix. Show how all the companies in the industry are messaging. Show the opportunities and make fun of the most popular competitor's marketing strategies. 10 hours.
- Step two. Create a "backgrounder" on the company, made up of bios of the founder, fact sheets on the products (use bullet points to distill all the information found on web site), and history of the company. Hire a photographer with lots of cool-looking heavy-duty light equipment to take photos of the key players that make them look like Miss America headshots. Print them on glossy paper to give to tech journalists. 30 hours.
- Step three. Press list. Take your press list from the last tech client, add in a few names of the reporters who wrote articles you uncovered in step one (the ones who wrote bad things about the competition, especially), find the phone numbers of any reporters mentioned in meetings with the client, and presto! target press list. 10 hours.
- Step four. Editorial calendar. Use some cool database client your junior PR-agents-to-be wrote to spit out a list of all possible opportunities for your client to get in the regularly-scheduled articles of monthly and weekly magazines. Bonus points if you can come up with unusual angles (my favorite: pitch Jyte's ability to track news on ex-boyfriends to Cosmo and Elle. brilliant!)
- Step five. Engage monthly projects, consisting of "pitching" article ideas and sending out press releases targeting whoever our users have been determined to be. Might also include one of the following: newsletters, editing web site content, and banner advertisements. 10-30 hours per month.
- Step six. Go to step five. Repeat.
Our special projects might include a press tour, a speakers program, or (wink) a blog. Actually, I'm the only one who introduced the blog idea save one particularly techie guy. More later when we officially engage someone...