Whether you're a fledgling startup agency about to announce your grand opening, or a growing firm with some big news to share, one thing is certain: You need a way to get the word out -- and fast.
But there's more to a big announcement than firing off a press release and hoping it somehow reaches the intended audience. Sure, it’s easy to look at other successful campaigns and feel that they somehow just came together with a few clicks of a mouse and the help of a social media whiz, but don’t be fooled.
Successful PR campaigns require work -- and lots of it. If you’re hoping to spread the word effectively, then you’ll need to put in the hours pre-launch to ensure everything runs smoothly.
No matter what your budget, or how much time you have before your launch, there are a few things you’ll want to do before your big reveal to help make your PR launch a success.
How to Prepare your Agency for a PR Launch
Create Perfectly Seeded Contributed Content
More than crafting a bunch of articles and firing them off in every direction, content seeding involves taking a more strategic approach to content distribution -- one that always produces better results. With content seeding, your goal is to spread content to various websites and social media platforms where it will be read, and more importantly, shared.
Your secret to success with this approach pivots on two main things: Creating top-notch content, and tapping relevant influencers who are willing to use their own networks and connections to share what you've created with a broader audience.
While many companies share content from their own branded account, getting key influencers to share your content can add more authenticity to your message. Research has shown that recommendations carry far more weight than corporate ads or sponsored content.
Even having just one influential person share your content can result in a significant jump in shares. Research from BuzzSumo found that having one influencer share a post resulted in an average of 31.8% more social shares. Having three influential people sharing their content doubled their number of social shares.
One of the best ways to find influencers who are willing to share your content is by looking for opportunities to submit contributed content. If you can land authorship accounts, or submit guest posts on well-known publications (such as well as industry-specific publications and blogs) you’ll be able to extend your reach even farther.
Remember: content doesn’t have to be written. Supplement your articles with infographics, videos, and even photos of your agency to generate interest. And while you’re at it, start building relationships with other contributing writers and help promote their content. As you grow your network, your credibility grows, which leads to more opportunities to get exposure for your agency.
Create Compelling and Unique Case Studies
Case studies are boring -- we get it. But there’s no reason you have to stick with the overdone one-paragraph blurbs. Give the monologs a rest and go straight for the Emmy by creating an intriguing and must-share video based on a real-life success story, like this one from HubSpot.
With your client’s permission, craft a fun and lighthearted take on how your product or service made life better for someone. Keep it short and sweet -- five minutes or less is usually adequate. When done right, case studies can be valuable content you can use to generate interest in your agency's services. They’ll also help to lend credibility to your brand, which is essential -- especially if you’re a startup agency that’s still relatively unknown.
Make Your Team Famous
Encourage your people to become regular contributors to popular publications, podcasts, and even radio shows, and have them create content for your agency's blog. Getting exposure for your team is a great way to add some personality to your company, and a give face to your brand.
Rallying your team to participate in content creation is also an effective way to get your message across. Instead of one person talking to the camera, there’s a whole team backing your services -- which can't hurt your agency's credibility.
Need some inspiration? Check out this tongue-in-cheek video property management company Renters Warehouse created to introduce their team to the world.
Form Powerful Partnerships
To be truly impactful, strategic alliances need to go further than the typical approach of, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” Instead, your goal should be to create meaningful and long-term relationships.
Look for opportunities to create co-authored content, or hold co-hosted events. Your trusted ally could be your business partner, a team member, or even someone from your network that you can team up with for a united cause. This will also help you to expand the extent of your outreach, since they’ll be able to share their work with their followers as well.
Your partnership could also be with another business or professionals in a different field. You could even get some willing customers or prospective customers involved. Get creative and find new ways to showcase your product, or create a promotional video that features people using your product in a fun and unique way. Who knows? The right partnership could even end up forming the cornerstone of your launch campaign.
Launch Press Releases That Celebrate Wins
Ah, the good old fashioned press release. While often companies use press releases as a chance to announce mundane facts and events, don’t fall into this trap.
The press release isn’t the place to talk about your move to a new building, or your newly renovated break room. Instead, reserve the traditional press release for the really exciting stuff. This means making a big deal about exciting new products, fascinating breakthroughs, ways that your agency has made a difference, or causes that your company’s involved with. This is the kind of news people actually care about and will take the time to read.
Hold Regularly Scheduled Live Events Online
Your Facebook page is your secret weapon. Take advantage of Facebook Live to host a live event to address issues that your prospects care about, or answer questions about things they’re interested in. Not sure what to cover? Get inspiration from the top ten queries that most prospects ask you about your agency's services.
At Onboardly, we recently ran a Facebook Live to answer the often-asked question, “What are some ways I can get our service offering out to the public that helps us to stay on brand with no PR budget?” Facebook Live is a great tool to address questions, while helping spread the word about what you do.
Keep the Momentum Going Post-Launch
As you can see, there’s more to a PR launch than hitting publish and hoping for the best. Instead, it’s up to you to generate publicity for your campaign, and you’ll want to put in the hours behind the scenes to help build interest for your big day. You can do this by creating plenty of great content, and sharing it far and wide.
Finally, keep in mind that generating publicity isn’t a one and done event. It’s important to keep the momentum going after the launch as well. Post-launch, continue to create winning content and share amazing press releases and case studies. Look for opportunities to form partnerships, make yourself available for interviews, and spearhead co-hosted events. Keep looking for ways to drum up publicity for your agency -- and word will continue to spread.
Originally published Feb 3, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated August 26 2017