How Strategic PR Efforts Boosted One IT Company's Feature News Coverage by 125%

By Morgan Norris

Summary:

See how an IT company with an emerging product in an undefined space used a number of different PR tactics to improve a key performance indicator – feature article coverage – by more than 125%, and achieve record web traffic and target media engagements.

Challenge:

The company wanted to create awareness of a new product in a quickly evolving, noisy, and undefined IT/networking space with aggressive competitors.

Goal:

The goal of the product launch was to create product awareness, garner media coverage, and begin to build relationships with key editors and analysts in the industry.

This was the most successful product launch in the client’s company history. As a result of this launch and ongoing outreach, the company now has a strategic and measured PR program, it’s visibility and coverage have increased, and it is gaining on its competitors.

Campaign:

TREW Marketing sought to create a PR program for this IT company that would quickly address their known challenges – their product was emerging in an undefined market, the market is fragmented and crowded with many tools providers, and their primary competitor was aggressive in its messaging. To achieve success and address these challenges, TREW created a tiered media list of publications and editors, drafted targeted high-quality content, reached out to prioritized media, executed a major product launch, and now continues to build on the newly-established relationships and company awareness.

Step 1: Develop a Targeted and Tiered Outreach List

TREW sought to develop a strategic media list for the IT company. Developing the list involved extensive research including tracking competitor coverage, searching for new publications, categorizing journalist beats, and identifying the data and articles that had been the most influential for the IT industry. This research resulted in a list of more than 25 media contacts who write for an audience relevant to the IT company’s existing product offerings and soon-to-be-launched ground-breaking new product.

To prioritize efforts with journalists, TREW ranked journalists as high, medium and low priority, and established interaction goals with each group of journalists. TREW, with the help of the IT company, then executed both proactive and reactive outreach based on occurring events such as new articles, blog posts, and company and industry news, and introduced the IT company to the journalist when the company and its expertise could be helpful.

Step 2: Plan and Create Quality Content

For the major product launch, TREW created several pieces of targeted content, starting with the news release. Based on TREW research and several launch messaging meetings, the release focused on the product’s unique benefits for the market and application-leading specifications that factually ensured the product would stand out prominently over aggressive competitors who had a larger voice in the market, yet a technically inferior product. In addition, TREW created a one-page flyer that highlighted specific pain points of potential customers and used diagrams and explanations to show how the new product saved time, cost, and set customers up for future success.

Alongside the news release and one-page overview, TREW helped develop the slide content, flow, and messaging that positioned the company and introduced the product. In addition TREW created article abstracts that company experts could write for publications. The IT company presented the slides in run-throughs of the presentation, each time making changes and adjustments so that their messages were clearly and accurately conveyed.

Step 3: Reach out to the Media

A few weeks before the launch of the product, TREW began to contact journalists it had begun developing relationships with since Step 1. TREW introduced the product and invited journalists to meet with the company leadership and technology experts to learn more about the product and how it would meet the needs of the journalists’ audiences.

Since the PR launch process began with researching the best contacts and building relationships, as outlined in Step 1, TREW already had a start on raising the company’s visibility with key journalists which helped ensure they would more easily accept the invitation to hear about the new product at the time of announcement.

Step 4: Launch the Product

The week of the launch, the news release was distributed via wire and the IT company met with journalists across the country. They presented slides, answered questions, pitched article abstracts or offered assistance with other articles where applicable, and TREW continued to watch the targeted publications for places the new product could be included.

Step 5: Sustain the Media Relations Program

With a successful launch underway, TREW continues to build relationships with key media for the IT company. By consistently staying in touch with top media and making valuable offers of expert spokespeople, new content, and company news, overall engagements (i.e., journalist responses) are growing. As TREW and the IT company look to build on this success into 2012, a key focus is on additional compelling content and ideas to strengthen relationships with editors and grow the IT company’s image as a leader in the markets they serve.

Results:


With the PR program development and strategic product launch, the IT company secured 125% more coverage than prior launches. Throughout the launch, the company received:

  • Six times more feature article coverage than their top competitor in the launch month
  • Strong feature article headlines and product messaging
  • Industry analyst quotes in multiple top-tier publications
  • Feature coverage in four of the targeted publications
  • Article headlines that included key messages promoted through the presentations, news release, and additional information materials
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