CEOs live and breathe their company mission and industry, and many of them assume that everyone can preach the brand’s message just as well as they do. By definition, startups move fast, so it’s easy for teams to end up on different pages – and that’s disastrous for PR pros.
A crisp, targeted message ensures that all content you build is advancing your key value props. With pre-approval of key messaging by your stakeholders, you’ll be poised for streamlined content delivery and rapid media response. We can’t over-emphasize this: Nailing down your messaging is the foundation of successful PR.
You may already have brand- and/or solution-level messaging and positioning, but your PR messaging is going to be a little different. While solution messaging speaks very specifically to a buyer’s individual pain points, your PR messaging tells the story in the context of its broader impact in today’s world. For example, a logistics technology company’s solution messaging may talk about the ways their product helps predict freight delivery times more accurately. But their PR messaging could talk about how during COVID, their solution has helped ease supply chain irregularities and issues for their clients.
We’ve done the work of building a PR messaging template that we think strikes the right note between content that’s specific enough to be helpful, but doesn’t require months and months of revisions to get right. (You can download it here.) Whether you use our template or not, be sure to develop tight messaging that defines the market’s challenges, how you solve them, and any ties to macro trends that appear frequently in your industry’s news media. Help your journalists out by giving them quantifiable “reasons to believe” - proof points, quotes, stats, and details to defend your value props. Lastly, curate some strong quotes from your company’s leadership, subject matter experts, and clients so you have them ready to go the moment the media asks.
Get comfortable with your messaging and revisit it quarterly to ensure it's up to date, still aligns with company goals, and remains persuasive even with new competitors in mind.
The PR Strategy Planning Meeting
1. Arm yourself with the basics
Gather messaging, market data, customer stats, industry stats, metrics, etc.
Gather sales/investor decks and insights from sales objection handling
Gather product roadmap plus key moments, launches, campaigns
Provide any vertical targets that the company may be focusing on this year
Identify content creators within the company (including the blog, social media, partner marketing content)
Identify the key spokesperson(s) within company and subject matter experts
2. Get everyone on the same page
Identify your PR planning tiger team – we recommend including the CEO, Head of Sales, and Head of Marketing. If you’re going to see significant product releases, announcements, or the technology itself is particularly cutting-edge, include a technology leader who is great at explaining in layman's terms. Send a pre-read to everyone involved outlining the goals of the meeting, and have them come prepared to discuss:
3 key industry trends they believe are relevant to the company
2-3 challenges that your prospects are experiencing that your company solves
Predictions about where the industry is headed and how your company fits into that
Their take on your company’s main value proposition (if you don’t have existing, approved messaging)
3. Use the information to build your PR messaging
Different (but certainly similar) to your brand messaging, your PR messaging paints a picture of your position within the evolving industry. It’s higher-level than your brand messaging, and includes your value props, target audience, and reasons to believe. Use our template if you need a jump start. 4. Keep it going
Once you have sign-off on your messaging document and PR strategy, continue meeting on a quarterly basis with your tiger team. Having a standing meeting on the calendar will ensure that your busy execs are keeping you in the loop with the industry and how they see your company fitting into it.
Ready to learn more? Download our 5 Tactics for Building PR Buzz Ebook!