July 31, 2014 | Article | by Katie Hanusik | Public Relations
Five Ingredients for a Successful B2G PR Program
I’ve been asked many times what it takes to be successful with a business to government PR program. And it’s true — government media relations require a slightly different approach.
So, without further ado, here are my top five ingredients for B2G PR success.
Most successful public sector tech companies have a dedicated local resource that serves as spokesperson and the face of the public sector group. This person is often the VP of public sector (but it doesn’t have to be) and can easily talk about how the company’s technology maps very directly to key federal initiatives. These people speak at local conferences, win awards, and are very present in the market.
Most technology companies need to modify their messaging (at least somewhat) to appeal to the government market – and this requires more work than simply replacing the word “business” with the word “organization” in a company’s marketing materials. To be successful with PR, a company also needs to articulate how their company helps government comply with specific mandates or is aligned with government programs.
As part of the messaging process, we also like to understand what customers, if any, we can mention publicly. Customer references are the life-blood of a PR program, but they are incredibly hard to secure in the government vertical. In the absence of a reference, it’s nice to know who we can name (even if we can’t offer them up as a source). As a back up plan, consider if there are channel partners or integrators that we could offer to the media to provide outside validation for your solution.
One of our goals with any public sector program is to demonstrate momentum. Even without customer announcements, it can be useful to announce new channel or technology partner relationships, contract wins, and government certifications (such as FedRAMP, Common Criteria or Army Certificate of Networthiness announcements). These types of announcements might not be big drivers of media coverage, but they are very useful for sales teams seeking to demonstrate traction in the government market.
A desire for content isn’t unique to public sector PR, but some content is more valuable than others in this vertical.
- Surveys: We work with a lot of survey data as part of our public sector toolkit. In general, the media is very receptive to this type of data, especially if we have at least 100 qualified respondents. The defense sector is particularly interested in defense-only data, to the extent that it is available.
- Federal blog content: The government media isn’t always interested in product news, so blogs are prime vehicles through which to share why the federal audience, in particular, should care about new products. FedTech publishes a list every year of Must-Read Federal Technology blogs, which also includes well-written vendor blogs.
- Visuals: We’ve gotten direct requests for visual elements (art or photographs) to go with published authored articles and survey data. The public sector publications have limited art budgets and appreciate custom visuals to accompany stories.