Product announcements are no doubt an exciting time for a company, its stakeholders, partners and PR team. We recently completed a project for Swan Island Networks and its announcement of TIES for Microsoft CityNext – a partnership built to help local and regional governments “tie” together a wide spectrum of existing information, from both public and private systems, to address public safety, emergency response, city infrastructure and transportation alerts.
Contracted to implement a media and social strategy for the announcement, RH Strategic sought to drive visibility and brand recognition for Swan Island Networks and TIES for Microsoft CityNext to influence prospective purchasers at the city, county and state levels in industries including transportation, law enforcement, emergency response, cloud technology and education. The benefit for Swan Island Networks and Microsoft was mutual – gaining the perception of innovators in the private and public sector space.
With a two-week timeline, we quickly proposed a media and social strategy to the clients that included a set of tactics designed to share the news broadly across multiple industries:
- Distribute a press release with influential press/bloggers one or two days prior to announcement – offer exclusive interviews or images to encourage coverage on announcement day.
- Leverage key spokespeople from all entities to lend credibility and expertise to the news.
- Develop lists of potentially interested reporters and bloggers based on research of their coverage areas.
- Develop a pitch to introduce the news and expert spokespeople and offer a guest post, byline or exclusive commentary for future new cycles.
- Share the news directly with key industry organizations and influencers through Twitter.
- Post links to the press release and all coverage results on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to help amplify the announcement.
- Retweet and share content from the partner’s social channels.
- Promote corporate blog posts across all social channels.
- Push out social content regularly leading up to and following the announcement to retain interest from followers about future developments and point-of-view.
Equipped with rich content from both Swan Island Networks and Microsoft, Swan Island Networks CEO Charles Jennings (a tech industry star and an avid writer and contributor to the local Oregon newspaper) would write a guest blog for the Microsoft in Government blog for the launch. His messages were amplified through social content from Microsoft in the days leading up to, and following, the announcement. We began our pitching effort on February 12 and managed opportunities through April.
We secured coverage in trade outlets across multiple vertical industries, totaling five unique articles featuring quotes from Jennings, a Swan Island Networks customer and the Microsoft partner. Notable outlets covering the news include Network World, Government Technology, LAW and ORDER and TechTarget SearchCloudApplications. 9-1-1 Magazine requested a guest post from Jennings which featured his point of view on how public-private collaboration can improve emergency communications in local government. The results were published in outlets targeting each of Swan Island Network’s key audiences and had a potential reach of approximately 8.3 million, according to monthly page viewership data.
The success of this project points to the value of leveraging partnerships, particularly with well-known brands, in making announcements.
Are you getting the most visibility out of your partnerships? Leave a comment below, or tweet us at @RHStrategic with the hashtag #RHetoricBlog. We’d love to hear from fellow PR professionals and journalists alike.
RH Strategic is the PR firm for a hyper-connected world, delivering integrated media, social & digital strategies for technology, healthcare, and public sector markets.