As public relations professionals, we spend much of our time trying to secure coverage for our clients in traditional publications, but that can be difficult in a market where you can’t throw a stone without hitting a competitor. The journalists that cover your space will have heard the same story hundreds of times, making it completely uninteresting to them and their readers. So what can you do when the tried and true methods aren’t working? Turns out, with a little bit of elbow grease, quite a lot.
Find your strong suit
Like almost everyone, I look back at my transition from middle school to high school and can’t help but cringe. However, that awkward time taught me something very valuable: if you try to stand out artificially you’ll blend right in. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try to be different from the many companies that are offering products similar to yours, but it should be genuine. Is there something truly unique about your solution that you can highlight? Do your executives have strong opinions on industry trends? Is there something compelling about your company’s story? Is your solution particularly well-suited for a certain industry? Odds are the answer to at least one of those questions is yes, and, as long as it’s genuine, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t be afraid to try something new
But knowing what makes you different is only one piece of the puzzle. To truly stand out, you may need to take the road less travelled. This means talking with industry experts and building relationships outside of journalists. When I think of influencers, my thought goes straight to Instagram and YouTube celebrities that mostly work with B2C brands, but there are plenty of B2B influencers as well. When speaking with them you get the benefits of someone intimately familiar with the industry and its players. They’ll have insight into things that even the most seasoned industry veteran may not. But there’s no reason to stop there, connecting with podcasters, YouTubers, bloggers and industry organizations can help build important industry relationships and get your message to your ideal audience.
To find out what makes you standout and to build those industry relationships, you’ll need to stay on top of your research, not only to find the topics that people are talking about right now but also to anticipate what will come next. Combing through analyst reports, keeping an ear to the ground on new technological developments that might affect your industry and following coverage of journalists and influencers that cover your space will give you the insight you need to ensure your strategy is solid.
Participating in relevant Twitter Chats and joining Slack Channels to discuss trends and learn from industry experts are also fantastic ways to discover what your audience might find interesting. With both of these methods, it’s important to refrain from being promotional. Treating those communities with respect will give you more credibility and allow you to continue learning.
It takes time, research and persistence to crack the code on getting visibility in a crowded market, but when the hard work pays off it’s incredibly gratifying.