PR is one of those industries that many people think they understand, due in large part to inaccurate, over-the-top Hollywood portrayals. But the reality of PR is actually quite far removed from the common perception. (PR needs some better PR!)
In the telecom space, several public relations myths are flying around that are unfortunately only holding the industry back. Let’s explore a few of those myths, and get a better understanding of PR reality.
PR Myth #1: B2B telecom companies don’t need PR OR only big, public telcos need PR.
This myth is a good starting point because it’s a commonly held belief that is holding back many smaller industry players. Given the crowded marketplace, there’s less and less room for telcos who rely solely on word of mouth to attract prospects and boost brand perception. Those companies are only going to be pushed aside over time (if they haven’t been already). PR is vital for all telecom organizations, regardless of size or audience – and it should be consistent, not set aside until a negative article or report is published about your company, or a communications crisis occurs.
PR Myth #2: Likewise, PR is too expensive for a small to medium-sized telecom company.
Sometimes, people assume that PR is reserved only for massive marketing budgets. Sure, the Tier 1 carriers can afford to spend seven digits on PR every year, but what about the smaller fiber, data center and cloud providers, the burgeoning industry consultants, and the lesser known equipment vendors? We would argue that all of the above should be dedicating at least a small portion of their dollars toward PR – and that every telco can find a PR/marketing plan and price point that works for it.
Here at JSA, we have monthly retainer pricing packages ranging from less than $6,000 to more than $10,000 – and they can all include PR work, from press release writing and promotion to media and analyst relations to social media strategy and more. We work with many SMBs and startups, as well as companies of various sizes that have never sent out a press release or posted a blog or tweet. In fact, we’ve built PR/marketing plans for telecom SMBs from the ground up.
PR Myth #3: Press releases should only be released once or twice a year – for huge company news such as M&A.
Many B2B telecom executives think of PR only as a vehicle for communicating their organizations’ biggest news. So if they acquired another company, for example, they’d call on a PR team to deliver that news on a one-off basis – but that would be the end of their PR efforts for another year or so.
While you don’t want to distribute press releases just for the sake of doing so, it’s important to develop and maintain a consistent cadence of announcements. We issue press releases about major hires, new market targets (perhaps the company’s branching out into a new geographical region, for example), new partnerships, big client and award wins, and more.
PR Myth #4: For B2B telecom companies, all communications should be very buttoned up.
It might be B2B, but at the end of the day, you’re talking to people, not cold, stark businesses. And after all, your company simply won’t stand out if it looks and sounds the same as 12 others. Brands should have a strong, usually quite professional voice that’s consistent across all communications – but it doesn’t have to be boring, cold, or aloof. A key part of your PR/marketing strategy should be to develop a relatable, personable, and helpful company voice that cuts through the noise.
PR Myth #5: PR is great for brand recognition for telecom companies, but it can’t help with sales/leads.
It’s true that PR in and of itself is not widely considered a lead generation tool. Instead, it’s traditionally thought of as more of an “outbound” marketing approach meant to boost brand equity, effectively communicate and build relationships with targeted audiences, and generally create a buzz. But that’s not to say that PR doesn’t help with lead generation efforts. In fact, we often use the term “one-two punch,” which is a strategic combination of inbound and outbound communications designed to increase and nurture lead generation. PR is a critical piece of this approach. If you only use more traditional “lead generation” methods, they simply won’t be as effective if the audience knows nothing (or nothing good) about your company. Plus, who’s to say that a press release or social media post alone won’t inspire a prospect to reach out to the company that sent it? We see it happen!
PR can be an effective tool for building brand awareness and increasing audience and customer engagement. Don’t let common PR myths keep you on the sidelines. Contact [email protected] today!