PR In IT: How To Survive And Where To Go?
I know at least 5 browsers, about 20 hosting sites, 23 more or less useful CRM systems, 6 adequate ERPs, 12 normal project management systems, 5 bug trackers, hundreds of uniform mobile applications, 4 large BPM systems, and so on.
- Before each of the development companies, the task is to appear to the future user first and it is advisable not to disappoint him, because it will be more expensive, harder and longer to dissuade to buy something else. This is the first task.
- The second task is to have such an image on the market that the best candidates are ready to go, that newcomers dream of you, and preferably evangelicals fight for you.
- The third task is to be a company that employees are proud of. If you really think that a press release can help with all this, I have bad news for you. Google/Bing/Yandex.Direct? Well, if there are 4 bags of money … Participation in the exhibition? Ok, your notebooks will make out exactly. So what is modern PR in IT? Does he even exist? Experience says yes.
So, what works best? The synergistic effect works best, that is, a set of measures and actions that you will be repeating day after day, without idle time. They will bring you the greatest result. What to choose from?
His Majesty Content
I will soon write this word not just with a capital letter, but with a solid caps, because the content decides. But these are not exactly the articles and mentions you thought about. Content is the textual, visual and audio environment of your company, which carries the emotional message and rational meaning of your products.
- The company’s corporate blog, blogs on sites are the real content of the
company,because in them you don’t need to follow any requirements, frameworks andstandards of the media. In fact, you write the way you want,and convey to the grown site or your audience the most important, interesting, relevant to your goals. Therefore, you should not write press releases, short news, philosophical thoughts of your leader, competitors plums, etc. Write about successful cases and packs, about new releases, train your audience with knowledge related to your company, arrange a total educational program in your field. This will bring, if not staggering success, then at least respect and stable interest of the public. As a bonus – indexing in search engines, reposts, references and much more.
- Your site is content too. A lot of it or a little, beautiful or not – a matter of taste and resources of the company, but the content of the site should be useful, informative, accurate and relevant. Preferably, maximum information without registration, SMS and a dozen pop-up windows. Do not forget to update and process information – believe me, the fact that SEO suffers from this does not work. On the contrary, unique, updated, human-readable content is all that search engines love.
- Articles in the media – a difficult thing, and either it is
expensive,or requires a greatexpertise. Decide for yourself what you find easier to achieve. In any case, you need to learn how to work with the media and journalists, look for informational occasions, hold meetings, respond to inquiries, give comments. Yes, For besare unlikely to write about the next hosting, but you can integrate into the industry media on telecom or IT. And this is the audience of CTO and CIO. Before you pay for the article, be sure to request a media kit and look for reviews – sometimes there is a complete zilch behind the beautiful name of the publication.
- Posts in social networks are also content, and they should be primarily visible (just not as Reebok – with all the noise and the type of sales growth it is a complete slag), and then informative. Users flip through the tape with friends, travels, news, cats, dogs and clips, and among this millet and vanity fair they should clearly consider the thought that here it is, the best project management system, because they post smart humor, remember, sir. Take the example of soda.
- A Telegram channel is an exceptionally beautiful thing, although you will not get direct leads from it. But its audience is quite easy to grow (mention in all Internet activities), it is easy to interact with readers, and the content does not require much effort. Just write constantly, moderately often, on your topic, sometimes communicate with the audience. You can grow into a decent industry horn, especially if you use commercial placements, cross posts and other ways to build an audience. Important advice: pursue the quality of readers and not their number – it is unlikely that you will be heard by schoolchildren who come from a popular comic channel with comics (although you remember that much depends on the field of activity).
Well, of course, your videos on video hosting and audio podcasts should be strong and thoughtful content, up to the timbre of voice and intonation coloring.
Who should write? Ideally, the internal edition of the staff. They know your product a hundred times better than girls from philology on the copyright exchange. If there is no opportunity and desire to find an editorial, involve professional authors in terms of product: IT is a field where technical literacy and expertise are more important than literary delights.
Yandex.Direct, Google AdWords, advertising in the social. networks and on the platforms, at least in essence, and advertising, but perfectly serve the benefit of public relations. Through them you can promote and products, and corporate blog, and events, and even search for staff. I will not quote a dozen articles from Habr and a hundred from other sites, just carefully compose ads (and this is content again), choose words, analyze the results and correct what works poorly or does not work at all.
In any case, this is the fastest way to tell the audience about yourself, about a new product or release, to offer discounts, to stimulate active sales. A more optimal combination of speed and efficiency has not yet been invented.
Events from the newspeak are events, meetings, conferences, meetings, hackathons, press conferences, regattas, flights, lunches, discos, whatever! Be sure to organize your own and participate in someone else’s – so you will develop a network of contacts, see your users and potential customers live, be able to find new employees, broadcast your knowledge and show your expertise.
Take care of razdatka, souvenirs, employees at the booth, visuals, business cards and especially short presentation speeches in advance. Even if your employee just goes to listen to some kind of seminar or goes to a mitap, hakaton, etc., give him bright corporate clothes (polo, t-shirt, shirt, even a tie or bow tie – according to the situation). So you will kill two birds with one stone: on the one hand, the participants will know who to send the polls to, on the other hand, the employee, as it were, already demonstrates loyalty and not every “agent” will suit him.
I saw different events, organized different ones too, there were frank failures and cool finds, but on the whole, the condition is simple – any event and any participation should not be shameful. If you honestly like what you have prepared, as a rule, it will normally go down. Just do not lie to yourself.
Comments in the media
Journalists are people just like you and me. Well, that is, sometimes very lazy and inert, and they will not refuse to help in the work. And the best help to a journalist is a good, honest expert comment without advertising. Now there are services where you can leave a request and respond to it. In addition, there are personal acquaintances, social networks and so on. But in order to be contacted, you need to be aware of your expertise.
- That is why the PR should be as open as possible, carefully monitor your own words and maintain the company’s image. Alas (and I will say this to you – fortunately), if you are a PR manager, you should be as careful and correct as possible in your statements (not a bad habit, you will agree). But ideally, you should have a “talking head” – an internal expert, an evangelist, or better still, a general director. These are people who own the process, are able to comment, interview, quickly agree them. Well, or trust your employees enough to sign the material with your name.
Cool story. At the dawn of my career in another company, I wrote an excellent article about a server for a well-known magazine, sent it. Signed, conditionally, “engineer billing, AI Ivanov.” The article was returned for some formal reasons. Half a year has passed, we sent it, having signed our general.
Generally, once we were talking, I would note that the formation of an expert is a fairly cheap and effective method of PR in IT and telecom. The problem is that this is a very long process that can take from a year to five or more: first you need to designate an expert, then build a community around him, support his messages and speeches, then show that it is this expertise that is best, finally, support state of the expert. Very very! – A complex process in which you spend all the nerves and a couple of cases of whiskey afobazole.
I wrote my last press release 3 years ago. They are not in demand and relevant for every company: it may happen that you will simply waste time on them. For a press release, there should be a good informational guide that is interesting for everyone, not for you and your boss. Well, that is, your new release, fixing a major bug or integration with Dropbox is unlikely to interest anyone, but a study, a report about a cool exhibition, a book release, and so on. – completely.
Tip: Do not suck the motive out of your finger. Here, as with a boy who shouted “wolves, wolves”, and then no one believed him. If journalist Ivanov receives a dozen press releases of uninteresting content from Megacoptoinkom, the eleventh, interesting, with the coolest customized market research, it may not open. In general, again, think: is it good what you are doing and to whom it may be interesting.
Souvenirs and merch
A great waste of money, a very controversial story. Honestly, if I have a favorite Megaphone notebook, I would never leave Tele2 for it, because a souvenir is not a motive or a bribe, as for some reason many people from the world of marketing believe. No, guys, this is gratitude, a small reminder, a sign of attention, care, but not the purchase of loyalty.
Whether there should be a souvenir in the company is a big question (by the way, there was an awesome discussion on Habré), but if you decided to do some kind of merchandise and sublimation, then the rule is one, write down: let these things be high quality. I have a sweatshirt, leaving lumps of hair on the football (from the company of top-10), there were broken pens, umbrellas, spoiled sweets, broken flash drives, etc. And I have a stunning calendar for 2015, where on every page my name is thematically and designerly beaten. 2015 passed, and I hid the calendar and saved it – and, as you can see, in 2019 I write about it on Habré. It cost cheaper flash drives, but how much nicer. By the way, one of the pieces that I am impressed with is high-quality vinyl stickers with good humor. Glue on laptops.
Social work and charity
A very ungrateful story in terms of customer attitudes, leadership positions and opportunities. Many restrictions, etc. But it’s worth it: if you really help socially important projects, donate the necessary things to institutions, provide transportation, etc., you will receive many references and a good information guide, especially for the regional press.
I know several cases, including within federal companies, when social projects were a factor in the internal HR PR – the staff forgave a lot for the management, who paid for the construction of a sports school, bought office supplies by September 1 for orphanages, paid for targeted treatment of children. I myself was proud to work in such a company.
Being engaged in charity, do not mess with bloggers with
Product Integration and Collaboration
These methods usually work in giant corporations and make a lot of noise: the red iPhone (by the way, also the social initiative), the new trend of Microsoft loves Linux, the cosmetic collaborations of brands and bloggers, etc. In principle, speaking roughly, in the Russian realities – this is an attempt to buy a loyal audience of one of the parties (and even parasitize on it), so everyone reluctantly makes contact.
But if for you some kind of intra-sectoral collaboration is possible on an equal footing – go for it, this is an excellent mechanism for the exchange of a part of the audience. But this is the most-most difficult and expensive way.
Of course, above the most difficult, I lied. The most difficult, labor-intensive, but almost free (for those who cannot count real costs) the way is guerrilla marketing. This, of course, is not about custom reviews and cards, but about real plowing in the field of advancement: guerrilla media outlets (try to get around moderation on Habré, for example), interesting promotions on foreign conferences, super cool postings, “altruistic” subject blogs , SMM stuffing, viral videos and pictures (what is your egg on Instagram?). We need brains, strength, enthusiasm, bold, adequate and moderately adventurous leadership and a lot of time. Such methods are very reliable in results, but extremely long-term. Dare, examples for inspiration – weight.
These are not all methods, there are still many ways to compete, advertise, promote and capture the market. I list those that I tried in IT and am ready to answer for my subjective experience.
Of course, I’ll just be a bastard now if I make a little smile and say that everything can be achieved for free if you have a good product and be in demand and interesting business. Not really about who of us can say that. Promotion costs money, enormous strength, unreal and flexible (in some tricky) minds. For everything to be successful, you need to come together: an intelligent and courageous PR man, an acceptable development, a leader who believes in promotion (there are very few of them) and a minimum of wars within the company – in common. By the way, the cost of PR is inversely proportional to the intelligence of the PR man.