The practice of PR has changed over the years with the advent of content publishing, blogging, and social media. With that in mind, many of the practices that make up tech public relations are still very important to the corporation. One of these practices is feature campaigns.
There are many forms of features and various themes that a tech PR agency or practitioner can place in publications, and many strategies to try to secure their placement.
Trend Story. A trend story is a useful look at what’s up ahead or on the horizon in the industry. These types of stories are an excellent tool around the end of the year as a precursor to the upcoming new year.
Best Practices. A best practice story takes a look at a particular issue and explains how a company would go about providing a solution to fixing this problem. Items included in the story might be a step-by-step guide or a “top-ten” list to implementation, pitfalls to avoid, and other tidbits of intelligence shared by an experienced technician.
Industry Analysis. A good example is new technology with widespread ramifications. For example, Ello is here and making strides in the social media world. We’re seeing lots of features about the utility of Ello and what this means for Facebook.
Business Strategy Insight. An example of a business insight might be to explain how mobility enhances corporate productivity or an angle outlining the security and privacy challenges of implementing mobile technology.
Case Studies. A case study analysis about a user often does not include a byline or biography, but it is one of the best ways to relate to other potential buyers with similar challenges explained by a fellow user. And this exposure translates into good PR for the product outlined as the solution.
To get the feature process started, it might begin with an executive who has an idea for a story that they would like to see published. Or, you can look at existing material to start for writing a feature; for example, a blog post, a presentation, a white paper, a speech, or webinar content. The goal of a feature may vary but it typically is to inform, educate, or entertain. It might also be written to persuade, but just make sure the story is written in an objective format with no sales-type language
To connect with an editor about placing a story, you have several options.
1. Find out the magazine’s editorial calendar and look to offer a story that fits into an appropriate edition with a similar theme.
2. Reach out to an editor before the story is written and try to gauge interest and secure a soft commitment up front. This can usually begin with an email followed up with a story abstract.
3. After the story is written, offer it to magazines.
4. Reach out to an editor and see if he or she would be interested in writing the story themselves.
The PR payoff for publishing features is the visibility of the executive’s byline: name, title, and company of the person authoring the story. The story also often includes a biography, which includes a link back to the company, an email address, and an author’s photo. You can also insert links within the body of the story that link back (a good SEO strategy) to a previous article or blog post on the company’s website, as long as the content link definitely ties-in to the story need and is not an obvious attempt to sell or advertise. Some companies include a link for a clickthrough to receive more information—the visitor then lands at a lead generator form to receive more content such as a white paper or e-book. And of course, once published, it’s time to give the story legs in company marketing channels and social media.
In the end, features are an excellent tool of tech PR for a company to stay active in the industry, and to position the executive as a thought leader and the company as a market leader.