Ready to Hire a PR Agency? Here’s How to Sell It to Your CEO

Image result for BLAST Media logoAs the marketing leader at a growing SaaS business, you have influence over your marketing budget — but dollars are tight and significant allocations still likely need the buy-in from the CEO or founder. When it comes to marketing spend, you may have made the case for additional team members and are able to get approval for direct ROI-driving initiatives like paid media or trade shows. Today, however, you are ready to add more top-of-the-funnel tools to the marketing toolbox, including the hiring of an experienced PR agency to support your next phase of growth.

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PR is generally thought of brand-awareness building and is sometimes difficult to sell up the food chain if you don’t come prepared with why the PR spend is needed and how the company as a whole will benefit from the investment. When setting up this conversation with the CEO, keep these selling points in mind:

PR Can Influence Investors Leading into Your Next Funding Round

Investors rely on a number of different methods to find prospective portfolio companies, including reading industry media outlets. Are they currently reading about your company and leadership team? PR provides both an avenue to increase the credibility of your leadership team and to create product validity. How?

  • Investors must believe in the leadership team, not only the product. Does your executive team have a strong presence? Are they seen as experts in the industry and viewed as strong leaders? Securing media coverage, like executive profiles, bylined articles and executive quotes, positions your leadership team in a positive light, providing credibility as experts.
  • Potential investors want to see evidence of growth and momentum. While you might have a steady cadence of press releases issued over a paid wire service, any company or individual can pay for this same distribution and pick up — so this strategy alone neither tells a story nor adds credibility. More than issuing a press release, pitching the media in advance of an announcement to tell the larger “why” is what yields stories in media read by investors. Whether the story surrounds a new product, customer or partner, gaining traction in respected media helps put your company and technology on the map.

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A Pr Agency Offers a Team of Experienced Subject Matter Experts and Industry Expertise for Less Budget Than One Tactical Hire Internally

When looking to expand your internal marketing team, you are typically hiring a person with a single tactical specialty (content, digital ads, social media, etc.). What you don’t typically get with the tactical level of expertise is industry experience. So, while John may be a whiz at Adwords, he is likely starting from ground zero in your  industry (be it healthcare technology, cloud security, etc.) and can offer no knowledge of your specific market, customers or competitors.

A specialized PR agency, however, brings you the value of both tactical PR expertise, as well as industry experience. As a B2B SaaS PR agency, for example, we bring a wealth of knowledge to SaaS clients and offer additional value:

  • The ability to provide strategic counsel on things such as messaging and marketing investments, based on experience working with other scale-up SaaS clients with similar challenges.
  • Sharpening your competitive edge. Years of related experience combined with competitive research and ongoing industry monitoring identifies market opportunities, providing real-time analysis of advantages and threats.
  • A complementary network. A specialized agency has a network of potential customers, partners, talent and vendors that play in the same sandbox and can make beneficial introductions.

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Your Content Receives Greater Distribution and Value with a PR Agency

Most marketing departments today are creating so much content that they don’t have the resources to promote each piece. With so many resources (time and money) being poured into creating content, doesn’t it seem like a logical strategy to invest more to actually promote it beyond your owned channels? A PR agency can re-purpose and promote both new and existing content in several ways:

  • Blog posts – Compelling blog posts your team has written that tackle an industry topic or provide education to prospects can be pitched to the media in the form of a bylined article, attributed to an assigned spokesperson.
  • eBooks – Key learnings and sections of an eBook can be re-worked and pitched as thought-leadership content, driving readers to download the full eBook on your website to learn more.
  • Webinars – Whether the webinar is hosted by an internal spokesperson or involves other industry thought leaders, content (verbal and written in presentation slides) can be pulled and pitched to the press as a roundtable discussion, a guest post with key takeaways, or a bylined article.
  • Industry reports and whitepapers – These long-form pieces contain too much information for the media to digest, so look to a PR agency to break the content up into sections. Individual pieces like key takeaways, a data chart, perspective/commentary or specific data points that speak to niche verticals can all be pulled out and used to pitch the press, with the call to action to download the full asset on your website to learn more.

There are certainly other value drivers of PR — including the ability to increase industry influence and share of voice — but PR will never reach its full potential and business value if it is treated as a standalone tactic. Your CEO needs to see PR as a strategy to support sales and marketing goals, leveraging secured media coverage as assets that can help move prospects down the funnel and influence potential stakeholders. Ultimately, a funnel has a top and a bottom, and an investment needs to be made at every stage to reach full impact.

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