Perception plays a critical role in marketing for a technical field, such as managed IT service providers (MSPS), where clients look for providers with expertise. Unfortunately, 99.9% of MSPs do not have a media strategy. Doing business without a media strategy is like sitting back waiting for a phone call from people who have never heard about you. The aim of a media strategy is to increase brand awareness, communicate brand ideas to potential clients, and create thought leadership by spreading the ideas of your IT experts.
Media PR Strategy for MSPs
Identify Media Outlets That Cover Your Industry
Building a media strategy involves more than just doing a few interviews or making a few press releases. You have to build relationships that last. Start by finding media outlets that cover your industry or business community. The aim is to use paid and earned media to promote your business.
Paid media is where you pay media houses to feature you or your content in their programs. Paid media can be in the form of press releases and scheduling interviews. It creates brand awareness, generates leads, and helps convert the leads into customers.
Earned media is used to boost leads and conversions for your brand. It is hard to obtain but is one of the best PR tactics for building brand authority and reputation. You can boost your earned media by increasing the number of mentions in the local media and industry news and ranking high on search engines.
Partnering with media houses is great for SEO since most media outlets have high domain authority. Domain authority relates to the SEO rankings of a website and how it scores in search results. The rankings go from 1 to 100, where 100 is the highest figure. Domain authority is an important metric to use while looking for potential media partners. Always target those with high rankings.
The agreement may include the media outlet making a certain number of brand mentions in their publications and programs. Brand mention is an important metric that enables you to measure the level of awareness about your brand. Brand mentions can occur in traditional news coverage, business or personal blogs, opinion and reviews, and on social media. Some mentions can link back to your site for more information about a particular topic.
Collaborate in Creating Content
Collaborate with the media outlet to create a pitch program. A pitch program is an email that you send to subscribers every week with content about what is happening in the industry and how it impacts them. You can also write a newsletter highlighting all the latest developments in your business and industry trends.
Arrange with media outlets so that they cite you as an authority on major issues affecting the industry. They can provide backlinks to your site when they write stories affecting your industry. You will need to have strong communication and research skills to find opportunities that you can leverage to increase brand exposure. For instance, you may provide the media house with expert information, data points, and statistics that they will use to craft their story.
Ideally, you should create content on your website, blog, and YouTube channel that media houses can link to when mentioning your brand. The media houses will create general news content and link to your site for more details, visuals and infographics, interesting perspectives, and statistics. You can also guest blog in leading industry blogs and backlink to your site.
Backlinks from leading media outlets add to your reputation as an authority in the IT sector. Backlinks from high domain authorities will make it easier for visitors to click-through and visit your site. This leads to increased traffic and may even cause a rise in SEO rankings.
Make your press releases relevant to clients and potential customers. Ask yourself: how does the newest development in my business affect customer service? Come up with a creative title that is punchy and provides a product proposition from the onset. Start the first paragraph with a description of the new product and how it will improve customer service. Include subheadings and bullet points that highlight the benefits of the new product.
You should add an expert voice by including statistics and important data points. Further, obtain quotes and endorsements from experts within your company as well as IT experts and editors of major technology publications. Quotes and statistics provide insight and make your products sound authentic. However, make sure the content is engaging and communicates complex IT concepts in a way that ordinary readers can understand.
Arranging interviews is an excellent way of establishing yourself as an authority. For instance, if there is a major security breach affecting the telecommunications sector, organize an interview with your media partners and talk about how it will affect the industry. Also mention the measures businesses can take to mitigate infiltration and loss of business. Potential clients will learn about your business by hearing you talk about major news or developments in the industry.
Even as you seek to boost brand mentions, you should be wary of sentiments. Sentiment means the opinion, viewpoints, or attitude people have towards your brand. It often occurs in the form of comments on posts mentioning your brand and can be positive, neutral, or negative. You should always track sentiments because negative reviews can cause substantial damage to your brand. Check if the negative comments are justified and find ways of addressing them.
Assessing the PR Campaign
If your media campaign is working, you should notice a substantial increase in the amount of traffic coming to your site. Use tools such as Google Analytics and other proprietary software to track traffic and determine the referral sources that generate the most traffic. This information should help you refine your PR strategy.
Another metric you can use to measure the success of your PR campaign is social shares. This refers to the number of times articles and videos mentioning your brand are shared. Check the type of content with the most shares to understand what your audience loves most and create more of the same content.
Ulistic provides marketing services to Managed IT service providers. We have helped hundreds of MSPs in the USA, Canada, and Australia since 2010. Reach out to Ulistic to help with all your MSP marketing needs and book a complimentary discussion.
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Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
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