10 secrets to cut PR costs and maintain your reputation
Written by Paul Maher
Don’t kick off your year out of pocket. Instead of chasing pennies, chase reputation by thinking smarter about how you position yourself in your market. From insurtech to adtech, DevOps infrastructure to cybersecurity tools and more, no matter where your technology sits or who it helps, make 2024 the year you hyper focus your PR and marketing budget and strategy. Not sure where to make changes? Here are our top 10 tips:
1. Replace your big legacy agency
The most obvious PR cut is to replace your large, unfocused, legacy PR agency. Changing business environments require fresh approaches. Start by reassessing the value your current PR provides to check the results reflect what you need today.
• Should you be less proactive on earnings or personnel changes at this time?
•Would it pay to focus on niche audiences?
• Why invest swollen fees when you can cut your cloth to match the times?
Now is the time to make a Positive change.
2. Combine PR, social and lead gen tactics
The tech industry believes more is more, constantly innovating and bundling powerful features. Spreadsheets became dashboards, word processors merged with dropboxes and customer databases are now CRM systems. PR delivers brand credibility in good times and bad, if blended with other marketing tactics. Combining earned media outreach with lead generation and social amplification boosts sales campaigns.
Integrate with Positive.
3. Have your PR agency train your team
Legacy PR agencies encourage client dependency. Positive accepts our clients know their own tech best. We believe dynamic in-house teams can cost-effectively perform traditional PR activities without incurring fees, including:
• Does your agency present pure sponsorship deals as speaking engagements?
• Are all your media training sessions documented and reused?
• Can your in-house team draft campaign messaging before the agency checks it for press-worthiness?
Thought so. Ask Positive how.
4. Use AI for basic planning
AI is not worthless. For preliminary PR plan drafting, AI is perfect. Need a speaker events calendar? Outbound sales campaign script? Researching customer issues in a new customer segment?
But bots can’t run live press interviews, write humorous pitches or lead a freewheeling brainstorm. Experienced PR teams bring tacit knowledge of what didn’t work last time. Their detailed best-practices means they course-correct. Positive offers the best of both – real savings where AI makes sense and unreal human creativity.
5. Use AI for early content prep
Some claim AI will replace content marketing en masse. Believers point to recent Big Tech layoffs in content moderation. They conveniently forget Big Tech uses user-generated content. These were never content-creation roles. B2C brands can adopt a ‘spray and pray’ approach to create ‘fast-food content’ which regularly damages their brand health. B2B tech buyers are technocrats. They still expect content with a human touch, sharp answers and detailed explanations, not AI hallucinations.
AI cannot replace well-executed and human quality-controlled B2B content. Think Positive.
6. Create a war chest of content
Today’s PR best practices, from rapid-response trendjacking at one extreme, to disciplined crisis management at the other, can all be planned in advance. Spot an industry-changing initiative on the horizon? Plan your response. Want to take a controversial stance on regional or international legislation? Plan your response.
This horizon-scanning approach waves goodbye to last-minute ‘planning sessions’ which rack up big fees for legacy tech agencies. Forget heavyweights pondering a plethora of different approaches.
Positive does the same job in less time, delivering more long-term value faster.
7. Target fewer, higher-value, media outlets
Some titles are bigger than others. They’re just more important to your customers, partners, employees and even those who govern. So why target every title all year long? Positive believes the opposite of a strategy is ‘doing it all’. The smart move is thoughtful engagement only with the media who really matter. This may mean focusing product news on technical titles and analysts. It may involve a campaign to broadcast outlets designed to reach the eyes and ears of Government.
Positive’s focused campaigns dramatically reduce fees for improved business value.
8. Reduce your overall PR goals
Reducing targets can seem negative. But think about it. More certainty of hitting targets is way better than overestimating your media appeal and failing. Overestimating how attractive your message is sets your PR team up for failure.
Focusing on fewer media targets, even for a quarter or two, perhaps upgrading to only top tier coverage can be just the shot in the arm your brand needs. Retargeting your PR team on quality over quantity can reduce fees and boost morale when it succeeds.
Positive will prove that to you.
9. Recycle PR content everyday
Experienced marketing folks know PR is underleveraged. But in a downturn, squeezing the max from PR pays off. Employees and sales teams may occasionally celebrate earned coverage – few really use it to drive sales systematically. Ask yourself
• Are your partners reposting all coverage?
• Are employees sharing to their network?
• Who informs your customers?
Avoid gambling that your earned media is only consumed on the day it’s published. Our clients love recycling content to squeeze more from precious PR resources in sales pitches, websites and email campaigns.
Positive adds more value.
10. Stop the retainer – go project by project
The ultimate cost saver. All PR Consultants love guaranteed retained income streams. But in times of austerity retainers may be untenable. There are economies of scale from engaging external PR only when needed, perhaps for a fast-turnaround, program with specific highimpact goals and a clear endpoint.
Bringing on a new agency, even alongside a retained agency brings new perspectives and a new vibrancy. Projects also allow both you to decide if an existing relationship should develop further or reach a natural conclusion. A third of our work is commissioned projects.
Try us before you retain Positive.