It's the chicken and egg scenario so many new businesses face. They need sales to get off the ground, but they don't have the funds for big advertising and marketing campaigns. They know they need credibility and a great reputation to make sales, but they have none because they are just starting out.
Not a great place to be! This is where public relations comes in. It's one of the most affordable and effective ways of quickly building momentum that can lead to sales.
Tech start-up DiffuzeHR needed to establish themselves as a leader in cloud-based HR systems within the SME sector in Australia. They wanted to quickly get new clients and grow the business.
While HR and SME are very niche sectors, they faced the issue of being an unknown with no track record. They weren't looking for investors; they were looking for sales.
DiffuzeHR realised that if they invested in positioning the brand and its key spokespeople as the 'go-to-source' for comment on HR systematisation this would build their profile quickly.
Publicity positioned DiffuzeHR as a 'thought leader' brand in HR technology for SMEs as well as cleverly creating conversations which lead to positive credibility and reputation.
There was no point in building profile in sectors that weren't going to buy their product, so they focused on an increased share of voice across the target industries and markets relevant to the organisation's objectives - for example, workplace, HR, SMEs, start-ups, and IT.
The media strategy focused on editorial content and profiling opportunities in key print, online media, and TV.
Having something to say
How do you build a thought leader? Say something interesting. There is no need to be controversial, but key spokespeople have to be prepared to share their opinions and expertise.
Part of the PR strategy for DiffuzeHR involved offering the CEO and founder's opinions on key issues in the SME industry, HR, technology, and workplace compliance.
Tailored media angles based on changes in the industry, trends in HR and technology and DiffuzeHR's business story to demonstrate the company's authority, were pitched to targeted business, HR and industry publications.
DiffuzeHR's profile and reputation steadily increased as the media coverage started flowing in. New business opportunities surfaced from interviews and profiles in top tier publications such as The Weekend Australian Professional, Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post Australia, Sky News Your Career, CareerOne, Short Press, and Daily Life.
Putting pen to paper
Based on key trends in the workplace, HR and SME industries, a number of expert articles were ghost written for key DiffuzeHR spokespeople. These articles were pitched to and then published in various media outlets, including Sydney Morning Herald My Small Business, Dynamic Business, Kochie's Business Builders and Australian Anthill Online.
As a result, DiffuzeHR were positioned as experts within their field and received numerous ongoing article contribution commitments and agreements with leading influencers in media.
As the focus of DiffuzeHR included various different industries, targeted media angles and articles were written and pitched to various industry related publications.
Leveraging on DiffuzeHR's areas of expertise, media stories were created for key publications in hospitality, technology, retail, financial services, accounting, start-ups, small business, women's media, leadership, workplace, franchising, and manufacturing media.
The result was widespread coverage in leading industry-specific publications, including Hospitality Magazine, Financial Observer, Accountants Daily, Mortgage Professional Australia, Business Franchise Magazine, Inside Retail, and Financial Planning Magazine.
In just six months, over 40 pieces of media coverage, by-lined articles and interviews in key media outlets were secured in Australian media. Not only did the PR greatly increase the visibility and reputation of DiffuzeHR, it also resulted in new sales opportunities.
About the author
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field. www.unknowntoexpert.com
Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business. www.cpcommunications.com.au