Stay ahead of your competitors by utilising the most effective PR activities and trends.
With more and more SaaS startups emerging, it is a crowded sector and competition is high. Many vendors are building new SaaS products, whilst others are acquiring already established SaaS companies and it is expected that by 2020, 73% of companies will be running entirely on SaaS.
SaaS products offer an alternative way of accessing software and storing files and tend to be a lot more efficient than traditional methods, with files being saved in The Cloud rather than on individual computers. Users subscribe to the software (often on a monthly basis) and can cancel the subscription if they decide they no longer need it. This makes it more cost efficient than traditional software as there is no upfront cost or need to purchase additional software.
Many of you will agree that marketing a SaaS product is a lot more challenging and testing than that of a conventional product or service. Promoting a product that has no physical presence and is constantly changing is what makes building brand awareness in this sector so different from any other. Every brand claims to have the best product, the latest and most efficient growth hacks and the most actionable case studies, so how can you ensure you stand out amongst the crowd?
To successfully compete against competitors in the ever-growing digital world, the first step is to understand that PR outreach, content and SEO all work hand in hand. Digital PR will allow you to establish a successful brand presence online through intelligent content marketing strategies which will help you rank higher in Google by boosting your domain’s credibility.
Create and promote unique content
In such a crowded sector and market, appealing to a journalist and standing out in their inbox is challenging. Creating and promoting unique content is vital when looking to enhance market visibility and beat your competitors in securing coverage.
The key to creating great content and securing coverage is to write about topics that are going to benefit the publication’s readers. Spend time researching content that has performed well in the past on a similar topic and put your own spin on it. Creating and outreaching thought leadership style articles is also a great way to position you (and your brand) as experts in the field.
Spotify conducted a great campaign which revealed the listening habits of people from around the world. This a unique and engaging content piece that isn’t directly related to the brand but will create awareness around it – a great example of how content marketing is a beneficial PR activity.
Conducting demographic research to appeal to audiences who may not be aware of SaaS, but are likely to benefit from the products and services offered by the sector is another great way to build brand awareness. Think outside the box – target outlets that are not SaaS related. Outreach and pitch to HR blogs with an overview of your product and how it could benefit internal communications or IT publications who can tell their audience how your software will keep professionals ahead of the game.
Highlight the brand’s USP
Communicate to your audience and potential market what it is that sets your brand apart from its competitors – whether that is your reporting and analytical capabilities, security you offer, ease of use, cost or any other unique factor. As mentioned before, the SaaS sector is ever-changing and highly competitive, so establishing a strong persona for your brand is critical. It also offers you a competitive edge if a rival brand was to duplicate or improve upon your USP.
As well as focusing on the benefits of your product, good SaaS PR will address issues and offer guidance surrounding customer adoption and the impact it will have on their business. Microsoft wrote this great guide on how the education sector can use their chat-based workspace service for tasks such as project management, content creation and internal comms. As well as publishing this on their own domain, this would be a great piece to outreach to an education media list, securing more coverage and backlinks which will improve the domain rating of your website.
Get involved in the conversation
Newsjacking is a PR activity that requires you to think outside the box. It is a simple yet effective way to get your brand’s name around and create exposure, but when done creatively can have remarkable results. To effectively take advantage of newsjacking, it is key to understand how tech PR differs from other sectors and remain up-to-date with the most recent news trends.
The tech industry is fast-paced and requires marketers and PRs to promote a service rather than a physical product. These two factors are what makes SaaS PR so challenging.
It is a case of using breaking news to your advantage so your brand and SaaS application get noticed. Keep it simple, relevant and timely and this technique will prove to be very effective. This reactive approach can be achieved by setting up listening lists based on preferable keywords, using tools such as Google Alerts, Mention or Sprout Social.
A great example of this is when Hootsuite, a social media management platform, used popular TV show, Games of Thrones to create a timely and engaging video marketing piece. The video seamlessly links the SaaS brand and TV show with Hootsuite claiming they ‘help manage the quiet battles fought between social networks’. They perfectly aligned the release of the video with the season premiere and fans loved it.
Don’t underestimate your people
The technology market is huge, and we know the people behind Tesla, Microsoft and Amazon, but do you promote the brains behind your business? Your employees are the backbone of your success and your best asset, and channelling their opinions and ideas to the press is a great way to showcase the personality of your business. It doesn’t just have to be relevant to technology either, you can use their thoughts to showcase your commitment to social responsibility and trending topics, to get your company into outlets that aren’t just specific to business models. The more people that associate your brand with thoughts that they resonate and agree with, the better.
Although the world is becoming more and more digitised by the day, it is important not to forget about tried and trusted PR activities of the past. Traditional PR is a great way to distribute company news to relevant industry publications and trade outlets. Sending out a press release is also a great way to target a completely different audience. People who look to get information from blogs and social media etc. are a whole different market to those that will rely on a good, old fashioned newspaper as their go-to source.
To get started on your release, whether it’s to announce a new appointment, a service offering or a success story, the most critical factor is finding an angle that will convince a journalist to cover the release. After all, if you don’t find it newsworthy, how can you expect a journalist to?
Statistics and solid facts presented in an engaging way are always appealing to journalists and readers as they provide reasoning and understanding. Data also backs up the story or argument being communicated in the press release, making it appear more official.
Make sure you are getting the word out about your SaaS brand through all channels possible as this will lead to many more opportunities. Most importantly, in terms of digital PR, coverage can lead to great backlinks, enhancing the credibility of your domain.