|Spread the Word - One Customer at a Time|
There's no better validation and endorsement of the merits of a product or service than a customer who can speak first-hand to business challenges and how they addressed them with the help of your company. Such a one-to-one view has tremendous impact and relevance.
Technology and business writers receive thousands of pitches daily from companies touting their products, features and benefits. To make your story stand out, describe how your products and services are being used in a real-world business environment. Each customer has a different story: a problem that was solved, costs that were lowered or eliminated, a task that was made easier. If you can offer that third-party validation, you have made the writer's job easier and have offered a compelling story that will be more likely to go to print.
|Ready, Set, Go: The Race is On|
In the competitive world of landing coverage, it is always a race to have your story stand above the rest. So now ask yourself: If a writer on deadline were to contact you today with a request to speak with a customer tomorrow, would you be able to provide a name and contact information?
The editorial community is continuously seeking validation of its own ideas and those presented by your company and other companies. If the content relates to trends, issues or events in the marketplace, editors seek access to confirming sources in the marketplace itself. For this reason, you may be asked to provide customer contacts whose experience or expertise is relevant to a particular editorial project. It is a reasonable expectation that your company's industry position gives it a broad visibility into multiple market sectors and the ability to provide shortcuts to information gathering. Being a source for the media is a great thing and can have far-reaching benefits.
Developing meaningful relationships with both media and customers also means bridging relationships between your customers and the press. While many customers seem media shy or have corporate policies that regulate their endorsements, most appreciate the opportunity to be publicly recognized for their achievements.
In the normal course of business, you can be continuously on the alert for possible customer references, testimonials and case histories that benefit marketing, sales and public relations processes. Your public relations representatives can facilitate the marketing-related dialogue between the media and your customers, as well as track those customers most applicable to media relations.