The Internet is full of tidbits and goodies. One example, a short statement on a new member’s website recently grabbed our attention and wouldn’t let go.
If that’s true, what’s the right way to get good attention if you’re a cleantech company? Several Voxus PR experts shared insights to guide our way.
First, what exactly is Voxus?
Paul Forecki: Voxus is a technology-focused PR and marketing firm offering a full range of integrated public relations, social media and creative services. Based in Tacoma and Seattle, we serve clients across the U.S. and around the world.
Voxus specifically works with emerging growth companies and their particular requirements. Our senior professionals offer years of experience in effectively establishing and communicating – across a broad range of industries – the uniqueness of a given organization, product or service. And our approach helps ensure that those messages reach the right audience in the most cost-effective manner possible.
How would you describe the current media landscape (nationally and locally) for clean technology companies – research, development and adoption?
Reid Wegley: I would say the landscape is wide open for clean technology companies, as is evidenced by the amount of media coverage Voxus PR created on behalf of WISErg Corporation in 2014 and 2015. The press, like consumers and businesses, are very open to solutions that solve a major problem and have a sound business plan.
What’s the first thing cleantech companies should do/know before engaging the media?
Reid Wegley: The same rules that apply to technology companies attempting to capture earned media apply to cleantech companies. Before launching your wares to the media, double-check to make sure your company is actually ready for a press launch as too many companies launch without this vision and often waste their precious resources along the way, receiving very little or nothing in return.
Here’s a good guide to follow when launching any type of startup effort.
What’s the biggest mistake you see happening in corporate storytelling?
Reid Wegley: I think you can reference the guide mentioned in the previous question to find this answer, as journalists are happy to share the mistakes they find in corporate storytelling. What we often run into with all companies, not just startups, is messaging that does not accurately describe what a company does, or struggles to accurately describe how a product works, and its value in the market. The value proposition is typically off-target in those cases and potential customers walk away confused, rather than motivated to buy.
How can cleantech companies turn that into an opportunity?
Reid Wegley: Be smarter with your messaging. Seek outside counsel as a barometer of your company and product descriptions, and make sure the value proposition makes sense. Remember, you are telling a story about your company. The unreliable narrator is great for fiction stories, but absolutely detrimental to a company communication strategy.
What marketing and PR opportunities would you recommend as low-hanging fruit?
Kevin Pedraja: It depends on the stage of development for the company. Companies with early customers can do a lot (from both a marketing and PR perspective) with customer success stories. They can be used as marketing collateral and as a means to secure media coverage, especially if they address ROI. Companies that are pre-customer can build awareness by creating and sharing content that shows they understand the business problems potential customers face. That’s a good way to demonstrate thought leadership and lay the groundwork for the solutions the company will bring to market.
How can cleantech companies turn media coverage into business growth and sales conversion?
Kevin Pedraja: First, it’s important to understand that all coverage isn’t equally valuable in driving sales. Companies should focus their media outreach efforts on those outlets that have the greatest reach among prospective customers. In other words, fish where the fish are. Then repurpose earned coverage as a marketing tool by sending it directly to prospective customers and promoting it on social channels. The final step is to track which articles (or social posts) drive clicks to your website or incoming sales calls. That will create a closed loop process that allows companies to constantly refine their media outreach program and to maximize its business impact.
Social media campaigns can drive results, but often require a lot of time and budget. What’s the best way to start engaging your audience?
Rachel Tougher: Meet your audience where they are. Your company and your company’s audience should have a lot in common in terms of interests. To get your engagement off to a running start, find your audience where they are, on channels like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn Groups, and Reddit even (depending on your audience) and start conversations with folks.
Create a list of topic areas you’re interested in and your target audience is interested in, and make a list of where these topics are discussed.
Share valuable information in one-on-one conversations, comments and engagements (likes/favorites/shares) to start relationships and creating advocates. Keeping record of these conversations would then create a good bank of content ideas you can share more widely when you’re ready to launch a full social program.
What kind of results can an effective social media campaign generate?
Justin Hall: The results depend on the goals, but in general they tracks to awareness and/or actual lead-gen. Awareness can be more difficult to measure, it’s the rising-tide effect, but elements of engagement can be key indicators of success. Are people liking content, commenting on content, sharing content, etc.
On the lead-gen side, you’re talking about driving traffic to a web property, measuring click through rate, measuring onsite time, form fills on gated content, download rates, video views, bounce rates, etc. Sometimes you need to dig deeper into the analytics to see if the actual traffic you’re generating is the traffic you want. Social platforms have gotten really good at delivering results, but are the the right results.