December 15, 2022

PR Campaign for SaaS [And why PR works for SaaS]

Running PR campaigns for software companies is invaluable for promoting or maintaining a company’s position in the marketplace. A steady stream of well-timed information ensures your brand is visible and relevant in the eyes of your desired audience. PR for SaaS can prove challenging for a startup that must be frugal in its spending. This article will tell you everything about running PR campaigns for software companies so you understand what aspects are essential and how to build an effective SaaS strategy. Examples are also shared.

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What is PR, and why is it essential for software-as-a-service companies?

Public relations builds and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders. Brands can build relationships with customers, investors, suppliers, and local communities. Public relations involves building relationships with industry-specific publications, media outlets, and journalists.

Some PR campaigns for SaaS firms have managed to make waves and win over the industry (I’ll show some later). Startups and scaleups now recognize the benefits of PR for SaaS and see where it can fit into their marketing strategy. Your domain's credibility and online presence can be enhanced with great PR backlinks, leading to successful fundraising. PR can help businesses in hyper-growth industries, such as blockchain, fintech, and high-tech, where being seen as credible is a must. Below, I give some reasons on how PR can benefit your Software as a Service organization.

Visibility

Running PR campaigns can help you stand out in a saturated market. Having a solid PR strategy can help you become a thought leader.

People need to know about you, or your excellent product will be left unnoticed and unused.

Credibility

What makes PR unique is that it isn’t you telling your customers, investors, and shareholders how special you are; it is someone else, probably a journalist or media publication. The strength of your news, opinions, and/or expertise will determine whether you are included in the news story. This contrasts with advertising, where one just needs to pay for coverage.

Hearing a software product have something unique and valuable from an independent news source has more impact than directly hearing it from a brand’s owned media, such as from the website or social media. This is especially important for software-as-a-service products, which are often complex and hard to articulate.

Cutting through the jargon

When you present information to reporters, you should convey your value proposition in as jargon-free a way as possible, even when talking to knowledgeable audiences. No complexity will make you stand out when speaking to your audience. Concise messaging is the perfect starting point for building your brand's reputation for clarity and transparency. A well-thought-out PR strategy can help you with your messaging and communication.

Sharing your story

Once you have a clear value proposition, you can build a brand story, which helps to shape a narrative and to create shared meaning. A brand story helps to distinguish you from competitors and creates authenticity. From here, it becomes easier to connect with an audience.

Improving the sales process

Often, SaaS businesses have long and complicated sales cycles. Running PR campaigns for software companies can assist you in speeding up this process by helping to answer questions and by having optimized promotional material to say how you can solve their problem. Your sales team can use these assets to address prospects' questions and concerns, resulting in a shorter sales cycle.

What are the benefits of running PR campaigns for SaaS companies?

So you successfully raised funds and have a great product. But how to tell people? Running targeted public relations campaigns allows you to build an effective strategy to generate awareness and attract ideal customers. It also works to harness your reputation for future customers.

Social proofing

The concept of social proof refers to a psychological and social phenomenon where people take on behaviors based on the behavior of others. The brand wins when enough people follow and engage with the product or brand. Social proofing can demonstrate the popularity and trust of your brand as you are put on a pedestal before your target audience.

Getting your foot through the door means your company can finally benefit from your product or service.

Increase brand awareness

This one is simple. PR will increase brand visibility and media coverage, and visibility equals trust amongst your audience. There are several ways to do this. Gaining exposure in a major publication is one. Your brand's reputation will be improved by high-quality online PR content.

The best way to gain exposure is through innovative articles and press releases that grab people’s attention. As a result, you will soon establish yourself as an authority in your field.

Create brand loyalty

If your product is new to the market, gaining brand awareness will help to build sales and, if done right, loyalty. Creating compelling and useful content can attract customers to read about you who otherwise may not have done. Over time, this relationship can be built upon and nurtured, translating into brand loyalty.

Increasing your relevance

This newly found brand awareness could lead to media mentions and high-quality leads to your website. Your SEO efforts could improve as a result. Eventually, your posts could rank higher, and Google could send more traffic to your website. Your marketing and sales materials could also benefit from media mentions. As a result, you will gain credibility and sales. This could reduce your customer acquisition costs.

Becoming a thought leader

Public relations allows you to voice your opinions. This way, you can influence customers and the general public. You could discuss something connected to the industry. Making your company part of relevant news in the community is a great way to get press coverage. The press might be interested in your business if you can relate it to something timely and relevant. In any industry or community, the more you are in the press, the more you'll be perceived as a thought leader.

Build relationships

You can build relationships through an effective PR strategy. There are several ways you can do this. You might be asked for more insight after one of the stories you worked with did well or gained traction in the community. A more extensive network of contacts in the press may enable you to create more growth opportunities. Creating media connections is an integral part of what public relations does. You can also build your presence within the local community where you are based.

By co-creating content and participating in the bigger spectrum of stories pertinent to your industry, you build relationships with key partners that might not be potential customers but will endorse you and help you reach new leads.

Press features can help establish a greater presence both geographically and psychologically. Wouldn’t it be nice if you get known for the product you sell? In the same way that when you think of search engines you think of Google, when you think of cloud-based accounting software, you think of Freshbooks. PR helps you reach a wider audience. Great reputations are powerful. Don't underestimate them.

Sharing your narrative

What is your unique selling proposition? No matter what it is, public relations can help you tell your company's story. This gives your company a time, a place, and relevance. A backstory gives you more authenticity and shines a light on who you are as a firm, why you operate, and your purpose. Be sure to make the most of this.

How to build effective PR campaigns in the software as a service space

There is no need to reinvent the wheel to get noticed. Journalists are looking for predictable things like unique data, credibility, and original content, which can be built over time. To be able to pitch to reporters about news relating to your software company, you need to invest in tried-and-tested PR strategies. Do the groundwork before reaching out to journalists to make your first interaction with them count.

Step 1 Build a product customers want

Now, this might seem obvious, but there is no point in marketing a product that doesn't meet customer expectations; it is a waste of time and money. Your product is at the center of everything. Before you do any promotion, invest in your product. Ask customers to review your product, refine your product, and soft launch your product. A poor product will let down the world's best PR plan.

Step 2 Develop an integrated PR strategy

Once you have an intuitive product, work out how it differs from your competitors and how to explain it. If you can explain your product in less than ten words, you'll be able to talk to customers, investors, and journalists.

Who are your customers, and what media do they consume? Media coverage should be aimed at achieving your strategic goals. What is your PR team doing to tell the right story in the right places (industry publications, tier 1 media)? Are you going to be able to attract your prospective customers' attention with the PR strategy you developed? To measure your PR activity, what PR metrics will you use? You can spend as much money on a PR campaign as you like, but if you don't know what results you want, you’ll never know when you’ve achieved success. Have a clear understanding of what your desired results look like. Also, know when to pull out of something that isn’t working. A PR campaign will only succeed if you outline a clear, measurable, realistic strategy.

Everyone wants to get mentions on top-tier sites like Forbes, but the chances of attaining this are limited! It is important to start small and build up from there. You should be aware of industry blogs and influencers, as they can be just as - if not more - effective than large publications. In addition to creating goodwill for your brand, influencer partnerships can add that much-needed human element to your B2B marketing.

Step 3 Create unique data and insights customers and journalists want

Getting the attention of journalists takes a lot of work. The speed at which you get this attention rests on finding something you have that your competitors don't. As a new Software as a Service company, you will have proprietary data insights. You own a goldmine of data, and journalists just love data. Especially the insights you discovered while developing your product. It can be used to predict industry trends or reveal valuable insights about your target market. Stories based on data sell better. By adding additional data to those initial statistics, reporters can write follow-up stories more easily. In your pitch, you can take advantage of your startup's analytics.

Step 4 Increasing your brand's awareness

An effective PR campaign can raise brand awareness and gain media coverage to attract potential investors or customers. If your business is new, your reach may be limited. By contrast, a major publication reaches lots of readers daily. Your brand will be more visible with good PR, and your message will be more effective. People are more likely to trust a visible company. An array of tactics can increase brand awareness and media coverage. Your brand's reputation can be improved if high-quality PR content is published online. Credible exposure can be gained by publishing innovative articles and releasing attention-grabbing press releases. In doing so, you establish your brand as an authority in the field you specialize in. Due to their placement in widespread and trusted publications, the articles attract a large readership. Brand awareness is increased through this type of piggybacking. The more familiar your audience is with your brand, the more likely they will buy from you. As a result, you're more likely to sell to them.

You should also get in touch with industry experts and influencers. A SaaS PR tactic involves collaborating with industry experts and social media influencers. Credibility is given to your brand by industry authorities. Audiences trust them for information. Your startup can attract a large audience by engaging with credible influencers. Since most social media users interact with influencer content, it's an ideal opportunity to grow.

Step 5 Rework familiar stories into new angles

It takes effort to create something unique, and often, you don’t need to. There are ways for brands to get media attention through reworking old stories. Look for PR campaigns that have performed well in the past. Rewriting an original story with a new twist can tailor a new message.

Step 6 Respond to media inquiries

You can quickly gain media coverage for your brand by responding to journalist requests. Reporters request information, comments, quotes, or expert answers on a particular topic or subject. Requests from journalists are also known as PR requests or source requests. Journalists use online tools like HARO (or Help A Reporter Out) to send requests. Journalists can connect with relevant expert sources through HARO. Besides helping journalists meet deadlines, it also enables brands to tell their stories. When you sign up for HARO, you receive daily emails containing lists of journalists and their needs.

You can use JustReachOut to find relevant journalist requests quickly and efficiently. In JustReachOut, all you have to do is type your topic, and JRO will find media queries that are closely related to your topic. The button next to each opportunity allows you to respond immediately. To identify relevant press opportunities for your business, the software monitors a variety of journalist request platforms, including ProfNet, SourceBottle, ResponseSource, Reddit, and Quora. Responding to a media request helps journalists find what they need.
Whether or not your quote is used for a particular story, this is the beginning of your media relations. Reporters will approach you for future stories now that they know you are an expert in the field they regularly cover.

Step 7 Reach out to journalists proactively

Now, this is the hard part. Assuming the previous steps have been successful, it's time to start reaching out to journalists; journalists are flooded with pitches, so they must have a reason to respond. Provide reporters with valuable and exciting content.

When compiling a contacts list, find reporters who cover the same area you operate in. Use appealing subject lines in your email to increase open rates. Your pitch should include reasons why a reporter should consider it. Links to articles should be included if you are mentioning them. Talking about something personal will be more interesting than just asking for product placement.

Other PR tactics that work for SaaS

Newsjacking

Incorporate your story into a discussion about a current event. The goal is to keep your story aligned with what's in vogue. Newsjacking is an effective way to make your media pitch more relevant and eye-catching through content marketing. In addition, it is a good tool for marketing SaaS products. Tieing your cloud technology business press release to something in the technology marketplace that goes viral on social media platforms like Twitter, for example, is an intelligent way to get exposure. Rather than focusing on the past, they want to tell current stories. You can boost your chances of getting a press mention by aligning your story with breaking news. By taking advantage of the event's traffic, your brand will benefit.

Breaking trends can be exploited by newsjacking either proactive or reactively. Piggybacking on viral moments is crucial as viral moments pass by so quickly. To be effective, newsjacking must be done as soon as possible after a recent event. Brands choose to newsjack rather than create original concepts because it guarantees attention. Using tactical positioning, they can be part of a larger conversation. Keeping up with current events is essential for audiences. Get a press mention and engage more users with this easy hack.

Podcasts

Podcasts are innovative, cost-effective, and modern marketing tools. These have become integral to our media consumption, and we should take advantage of their popularity. An example of a podcast would discuss using your cloud-based publishing software to create a digital brochure. The target audience will be those interested in learning more about the topic. SaaS brands can offer free content. You can engage podcast listeners who are ready to listen by applying the principles of PR.

Attending or hosting webinars

You can benefit from the interactive element of a webinar. These are still relevant in the SaaS industry, offering a great platform to position you as a credible authority. Make sure you share valuable industry insights, your webinar is helpful, and people can refer back to it, and you follow up with those who attended. This helps build relationships further down the line.

Industry reports and case studies

Creating reports or case studies can be an effective SaaS mechanism for SaaS. Original and relevant content helps you stick out in a crowd and gain the attention of journalists and customers if it's worthwhile. Even better still, Google will consider your original publication a credible source, boosting your SERPs. Naturally, you can also benefit from press coverage and backlinks to your site.

Launch eBooks

eBooks are informative, shareable, and visually pleasing. To get the most from them, you need to design a landing page for that eBook and promote it on your website. Include call-to-actions that link to the eBook in your blog posts. Social media should then be used to spread the word.

Send out press releases

This is a must in PR. You should be mindful of the frequency at which you share and the content you share. It is not a wise idea to share trivial information that may weaken the overall impact of your message. Press releases should be helpful, relevant, and exciting. Sending press releases isn't worth it if you're not boosting sales using them. There is an array of news items you can talk about. We have already mentioned some: Webinars, podcasts, new product releases, or improvements.

Successful examples of PR for SaaS

Adobe

Adobe introduced the Software as a Service (SaaS) model in 2012 as a replacement for one-time purchase products (aka the Creative Suite). Using Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription service, designers can access all the software tools without worrying about future updates and pay a flat fee for everything (or just the platforms they need).

However, this transition took time to happen. Many customers needed convincing that this was the right move, so Adobe's evolution was carefully paced and comprehensive, effectively reshaping its core business model. Over the years, however, it has become a leader in the subscription economy. In April 2012, the Adobe Creative Cloud SaaS platform was released. The company offered its cloud services alongside its traditional software for purchase during its first subscription release, an option it retired in January 2017. Before becoming the single option for users, the subscription-based service was available in different iterations of testing for five years. As part of its transition, the company ensured no surprises. As early as November 2011, it informed its stakeholders of its intentions. As soon as Adobe announced in May 2013 that it would no longer be developing its Creative Suite product line (although it would continue to support it), users were primed for its retirement.

As part of Adobe's repositioning to software as a service, it acquired Omniture, a marketing analytics company. It needed to launch a clever content marketing campaign to target marketing leaders. Ideally, Omniture owned CMO.com, which Adobe rebranded as "CMO by Adobe" and turned into a leading content marketing hub through curated, original content.

IBM

IBM is one of the oldest traditional software companies to re-invent itself to provide service as a service. IBM signed a strategic collaboration agreement with Amazon to deliver its software portfolio in the AWS cloud. The agreement offers rapid and easy access to IBM products built on Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS (ROSA). Automation, data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and sustainability are all key components of IBM's Software as a Service offering.

The major tech corporation partnered with Wired magazine to create fun, informative social media video content. With over 5.3 million views, the video explains quantum computing to a child, a teenager, an undergraduate student, a graduate student, and a professional. It was considered a significant success in terms of brand exposure and practicing strong thought leadership.

Motivo

Motivo, a US real estate company, analyzed more than 300,000 tweets containing 30 common words such as college, church, beer, and sports. Motivo could identify which US states talked about these topics most frequently. The comparisons revealed which areas of the country talked more about money than family or which focused more on sports than girlfriends. The data-driven campaign was featured in a range of publications, including mashable.

Conclusion

Innovation within the tech industry moves exponentially, and there’s more industry jargon than any other niche. Therefore, as a SaaS business owner, you must know what it means to do SaaS public relations. Running a PR campaign for a Software-as-a-Service company differs from running PR for other businesses. Software is complex, and it can be hard to explain the value proposition and benefits to the customer as a lot of the hard work is behind the scenes.

Do you need to get the type of media exposure you should be getting? Do you need PR but need to know where to start looking? Contact us if you are concerned that your competitors are coming on leaps and bounds while you lag. Public relations and the SaaS market are our specialties. Check out how we can help your public relations campaign get off to a great start.

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PR Consultant Amsterdam
(+31) 202 440 065
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