Topaz Partners Spotlights Five Tips to Greater Visibility in a Down Economy

Creative PR and social media strategies necessary during tough times, says tech PR firm

Woburn, MA, March 15, 2009 --( In the current economic climate it’s more important than ever for companies to remain visible with customers, prospects and media, according to Topaz Partners, a leader in technology PR and social media relations. In its recent e-newsletter, Topaz offered these five tips to cost-effectively increase visibility through creative approaches to public relations and social media relations:

Online communications -- re-energize your company’s brand with social media: In today’s media landscape, it’s no longer enough to issue a news release and pitch the story it tells. The news cycle has been permanently disrupted – and extended – by social media. Blogs, social networks, podcasts and other forms of social media can be a great source of promotion if the efforts align with business objectives to create meaningful, measurable results. Strategic planning and focused execution are the cornerstones of all effective social media programs. Topaz recommends a Social Media Audit as an essential first step in any effort to re-energize your brand with social media. (For more thoughts on social media, call or tweet Tim Allik (@tallik), leader of the Topaz Social Media Practice, or check out our blog, Tech PR gems.)

Data-driven PR – create a great story with facts: Using existing client data or information drawn from surveys can help clients create news, looking beyond product announcements and editorial calendar opportunities. Data-driven PR insights can be built into announcements, a media pitch, a podcast and/or web copy. Topics can include opinions and perspectives on current conditions affecting consumers, businesses and marketers such as tax cuts and refunds, the recession, and various regulations. Surveys and other forms of data-driven PR can lead to top-of-mind awareness with the most difficult-to-reach media who are less interested in product announcements and traditional PR pitches. Data-driven PR is also an effective way to create story arcs that bridge thought-leadership and issues-driven PR.

Issues-driven PR – building a thought-leadership platform: Another PR strategy that reaches beyond traditional approaches is issues-driven media relations. Selecting issues that map to business objectives, and building content around those issues, stretches the news cycle by creating broader thought leadership story arcs, rather than single-episode PR. The first step is to consider what you want customers to believe about the company – the value provided to users – and how this aligns with the topics and trends that are top-of-mind in the marketplace and the world. Then, these positions can be built into a compelling story using thought-leadership tools such as white papers, webinars, podcasts, analyst tours, speaking engagements and issues-driven media outreach.

Customer stories -- powerful case studies are your friend: Case studies and customer references are more than an invaluable tool to accelerate the sales cycle – they help get news coverage. Customer-driven PR remains an integral part of a strategic PR effort – but it continues to be one of the most difficult to manage, given the sensitivity that often exists between companies and their customer contacts. With this in mind, Topaz has developed creative approaches to customer PR, finding ways to draw out and involve clients in PR activities that look beyond traditional customer news releases and published case studies. This is not only a plus for clients – it also helps clients’ customers gain positive recognition.

Media relations -- strong relationships with media contacts never tire: The most valuable PR-related talents have little to do with technology. The most important, in fact, is having solid relationships with media contacts and being able to pick up the phone and have a conversation about what assignment a reporter is working on or his/her interests. E-mail and social networks are valuable resources for PR professionals, but a conversation with a reporter can still be more effective than other methods of outreach, including e-mail and IM.

“Despite these difficult economic times it is important to move ahead with a PR program that incorporates these elements not only to stay the course, but to lead to success as well,” said Paula Slotkin, Topaz founder and principal partner. “For our part we’re finding ways to give a voice to technology companies using new approaches to PR that acknowledge today’s continuous news cycle.”

“During this down economy, Topaz Partners is even more focused on coming up with creative ideas for clients,” said Tony Sapienza, Topaz founder and principal partner. ”As we examine what can be achieved, the Topaz team is focusing its attention on the new characteristics of PR – and the new value we can deliver in these tough times.”

Topaz Partners
Kammie Lombardi