Eight signs you're ready to outsource (or in-source) PR
Most leaders wouldn't question PR's importance in company scale, yet figuring out when and how you should build out your overall communications function can be challenging. Here are eight tells you're ready to invest in PR:
1. You're getting ready for a financial event.
Whether you're going for your series A or sprinting to acquisition or IPO, you need to consider your PR strategy. Sure, financial events present an easy news win, but they also anchor your broader brand story. Financial events reach beyond traditional media, and into the minds of prospects shopping for a credible vendor or services partner.
2. You're laser-focused on your company's strategic roadmap.
Even if you're a tech unicorn, you'll probably spend some time trying to figure out what you're going to be when you grow up. When you commit to your objectives, you should commit to your long-term communications strategy, too. A company with a strong strategic plan IS a unicorn to any in-house or outsource communications pro; the state of a company's strategic plan can mean the difference between brand starvation, and brand salvation.
3. You're building your company's 'biggest' product launch yet.
Ok, this one is a gimme. Much like financial events, product launches are a news win in the brand game (generally speaking). Whether or not you've got product marketing on-staff, having an in-house or outsourced comms pro ready to publicize your launch is essential. Unlike paid promotions, earned media gives you access to entirely new lead pools in the influencer marketplace.
4. You disagree with the way your industry's themes are talked about in news forums.
Many leaders underestimate the power of thought leadership... or are confused about how to become a thought leader in the first place. If you're a leader at a tech company (CEO, CTO, CIO, head of engineering, product, etc.), you're in an enviable position. You're leading a business that is offering something transformative in its market. It doesn't matter what your product or service is, or whether it's consumer or business-based. Believe me, you have a story and you can be a part of your industry's narrative. A seasoned pro can help you identify your unique stories and the tools you can use to tell them.
5. You're spending money on advertising and not seeing a ton of return.
Some argue that PR is hard to measure. I disagree. Strategic PR can plug into your company's revenue engine. Beyond traditional PR measurements like share of voice, reach and sentiment, there are many other digital measures that can help assign attribution and lead influence within the sales funnel. Whether in-house or outsourced, the key to success is ensuring that your comms support has access to the marketing and revenue leaders who manage the sales funnel.
6. You've got GREAT data.
In the storytelling world, data is gold. Data-driven tech storylines get great coverage, and for good reason. Data is more than opinion - it's truth. And for your prospects, data provides them with relatability. When you're close to your company's work valuable data points may not be as obvious to you. Engaging a seasoned communications strategist will help you figure out those meaningful data sets, identify the hook and where they fit in industry storylines.
7. You need more than just a firm who can write and post standard press releases.
Many argue that press releases are dead. On the contrary, I believe that boring press releases are death. Most start-ups outsource the press releases they want to write to a freelancer or agency. That's a great start, but unless you and your firm are focused on your long game, you won't see much value come out of those press releases or your one-and-done agency/freelancer. Press releases benefit from a larger communications strategy. Period. Your comms agency or in-house pro will know the stories that your media targets want to hear, and how your press releases can plug in to those narratives.
8. You're growing.
As soon as your company hits the growth pedal, you need communications support. Now that you're scaling you're earning more customers, hiring more employees, expanding into new geographies and verticals and courting more investors. At this stage, adopting a communications strategy that supports every one of these audiences is important and having a dedicated communications function (in-house or outsourced) to manage it, is key.
If you're ready invest in PR and communications but still aren't sure where to start, consider a free, no-strings consultation with a strategic firm like Flare. Talking through your company's growth path and industry challenges with an experienced pro will undoubtedly uncover perspective, generate fresh ideas and help you figure out what level of support is right for your business.