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Squeezing Fresh Tech Media Opportunities
The Dovetail Tech Publicity Checklist
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 Dovetail Public Relations

by Mark Coker
Dovetail Public Relations

Mark CokerIntroduction

This article provides technology marketers a simple checklist for identifying fresh story making opportunities. Use it as a reality check to determine if your PR team and your PR agency is pursuing all available opportunities.

We'll explore the following checklist of ideas:

  • Analyst Relations
  • Application Stories and Customer Case Studies
  • Awards PR
  • Columnist Campaigns
  • Contributed Articles
  • Editorial Calendaring
  • Editorial Onsite Visits
  • Expert Sourcing
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Lists
  • Press Releases
  • Press Tours
  • Product Reviews
  • Speaking Engagements at Industry Conferences
  • Trade Shows and Booth Meetings

Analyst Relations

The PR team should actively seek to build relationships with industry analysts who cover your product areas.  Reporters and your customers seek out analysts for their opinion on important industry announcements, trends and vendor suitability. Well-briefed and enthusiastic analysts are indispensable advocates for your company.

Many analysts also publish newsletters and reports, which are often well-read within corporate computing sites.  The downside to analyst relations is that their services are often retained by your competitors. Remember that when you communicate with the analyst community, you're also communicating with your competitors.

Application Stories and Customer Case Studies

Your customers are your secret weapon in PR. We usually refer to an application story as a story that the media writes about your customer, and a case study as a story that the PR team writes about your customer. The terms are interchangeable. Either way, the PR team will work to locate customers with interesting or unique applications of your products. Once the PR team locates the user, the PR team will interview them and make a determination as to whether or not the story is compelling and the customer is articulate. The PR team will also work with the subject to secure approval for their participation. Once the interview is complete, the PR team can write up a case study. Case studies can make powerful marketing collateral on your web site and act as jump points for staff-written editorial coverage in the trades. The only downside to case studies is that they tend to be time consuming to produce. An alternative to writing a full-blown case study is to encourage the media to cover the story on their own. This is usually accomplished by the PR team pitching the story directly to an appropriate reporter, often as an exclusive, so that the reporters can write their own story. Application stories make wonderful reprints, and carry greater credibility that a company-written case study. The only disadvantage of an application story is that your PR team cannot exercise final control over what the writer writes, whereas with a case study, you exercise total control.  The following trade publications do application stories:

CRM Magazine
Government Computer News
Network Magazine
Network World

One alternative to a full blown case study is to create a series of brief user application profiles, each a paragraph or two long, for use in press materials. Yet another way to use your customers is to provide them to reporters as commentators and interview sources as part of your ongoing editorial calendaring campaign. No matter how we use customers, it's important that the PR team maintain an up-to-date list of customers who are willing to speak with the press. 

  Next page > Editorial Calendaring > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Mark Coker is founder and president of Dovetail Public Relations, a Silicon Valley media and analyst relations firm.  Dovetail works with clients to create long term, ongoing PR programs that increase awareness and create positive perceptions in the marketplace. 

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