by Kathy Mattson Zoeller, published in Bacon’s mediamap.com
Your business success and credibility rely on the support of many different communities. Yet simultaneously communicating with multiple audiences can be a complex challenge, given their distinct – even competing – timelines, preferences and information needs.
Effective public relations can help drive your business goals and can establish and maintain your credibility. Without an integrated public relations plan, your company risks any number of negative consequences ranging from anonymity to unfavorable impressions among your most influential targets.
Accurately Capture Your Company’s Essence
The most important task your corporate communications director or public relations counsel can do for your company involves strategic positioning—a process that creatively distills the essence of your business into key statements. These statements then become the guideposts you and your communications director or counsel use to help establish and maintain credibility across all of your audiences, including customers, employees, shareholders and the business, trade and online media. If you position your company and its products clearly and consistently to all of your audiences, you will begin to build credibility with them. You will also gain their trust and attention when you interact with them again and again.
Harness The Media To Establish and Build Credibility
Most of us are enormously influenced by the media and what it has to report on any given subject. There is no greater benefit to your company than a positive mention in a printed article, a newscast or online publication. Relentless media coverage of your company and its products, especially if the coverage is predominantly favorable, maintains credibility.
Following are some ways in which you can grab and keep the media’s attention, earn third-party endorsements and start to build credibility.
- Take the time to build awareness – give key media targets enough information to build interest of new products and services. Think ahead and start to build attention prior to product launches. Build some mystery around what you are about to unveil. Create excitement for your product, especially if it offers advantages and benefits over the current field of offerings. Taking the time to build awareness will spark interest about you and your marketplace from key media targets.
- Focus on what differentiates you – prepare corporate messages that refer to exactly what your company is and how its products stand apart from others in the field. If you prepare accurate and clear communications materials such as corporate fact sheets and summaries, conference presentations, FAQs, press releases and Webcast/conference call outlines that exhibit appealing news angles and offer facts and figures as to how your products are different than the competition, you will be more likely to secure coverage from target publications.
- Anticipate the media’s needs – accurate, quality information provided in a timely fashion is fundamental to maintaining credibility. By anticipating the needs of a busy editor or reporter, you become a valued resource and help ensure consistent press from your target publications. If the media is currently focused on a new product in your industry that may spark competition, stay on top of the latest trends and address how your company’s products and services will better meet the needs of the marketplace.
Secure Endorsements From Authoritative Sources
Quotes from authoritative sources, such as customers, strategic partners and industry analysts carry weight with all of your audiences. Offer these sources to the media for input into their news coverage and build these quotes in case studies and byline articles that you produce for marketing purposes. Making customers or strategic partners available for media interviews on your behalf builds greater credibility and enhances positive word of mouth about your company and products.
Build Rapport with Industry Analysts and The Financial Community
Industry and capital market analysts— increasingly important third-party influencers —can help you fuel momentum for your public relations outreach program. Once you have established yourself as a credible source of information about the issues facing your marketplace, analysts will want to hear from you. Take the time to schedule company briefings either by phone or in person at least twice a year— more often in a fast-changing market space. Additionally, financial community presentations and speeches that portray your firm’s vision, financial and operational capabilities will also build credibility and may help you secure strategic partner introductions.
Seek Exceptional Advice
Just as only a highly trained electrical engineer can design the intricate circuitry for tomorrow’s technology, only a communications expert can effectively navigate this delicate process to craft messages, develop a strategy and help you establish credibility with sensitivity and dexterity. Make sure that you have a strong, media-savvy player on your marketing team who can demonstrate thorough understanding of each of your target audiences and what it will take to build credibility with your publics.
Working effectively with the media takes tremendous energy and persistence. So consider hiring or contracting with a corporate communications specialist with deep experience in corporate communications and business and financial public relations. Look for a solid, straight-shooter who has proven expertise in pitching stories to high-profile reporters at national business and financial publications, select broadcast mediums, as well as vertical trade publications.
Start now to properly position your company and build your credibility for the future.
A 16-year veteran of financial services, healthcare and high-tech corporate communications, Kathy Mattson Zoeller is President of Mattson Communications, Inc., (www.mattsonpr.com) a business-to-business corporate communications and financial PR firm. Mattson Communications is known for its strategic assessment of a client’s PR needs and for executing communication programs that generate superior results. She can be reached at 312-988-9352 or firstname.lastname@example.org