Before now, software as a service (SaaS) brands weren’t considered as “sexy” as the likes of wearable tech brands, neobanks, virtual reality tools and sharing economy services…but this is all changing rapidly due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Right now, amidst the pandemic, digital transformation is at the heart of every business strategy, especially among bigger traditional players who have had to accelerate their digitisation under pressure from the rapid rise of a new way of operating for businesses across all sectors. And as a result, the SaaS ecosystem has been given a real injection of life and opportunity, able to provide the solution to the challenges many businesses are facing as they race to keep up, or else miss out.
Here at The PHA Group, we know that timing is everything – and that now is the time for SaaS brands to make their mark. We have worked with a wide variety of SaaS start-ups but never has there been a better time for a software company to raise its profile in the media.
With this in mind, here we give our top five tips for how SaaS companies can nail their PR.
Hijack the news agenda
For an effective PR strategy, it’s vital to have a system in place to monitor and jump on the fast-paced news agenda. For SaaS brands, think about how you can connect cloud technology to the ongoing pandemic. For cybersecurity companies, the millions of people working from home presents cybersecurity challenges for employers and you can become the go-to expert to help them with this transition. Or for telecoms companies, how can you stand out from the competition by being involved in the ongoing discussion around remote workforces? Forget about focusing on your product alone, and think more broadly about all aspects of your business and where you have expertise that can be strategically used to insert your brand into new stories as they play out in the media.
For conference call company PowWowNow, who we have worked with for seven years, during the pandemic we have continued to position them as experts on how employers can instil a smarter working culture among their workforces, as well as giving them a share of voice in the discussion around the future of the office, and how employers can future-proof themselves through tech.
Know your product’s USP
The tech industry is unbelievably crowded, no less in the SaaS sector (and other ‘aaS’ services, such as Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, Unified Communications as a Service…). It is particularly important to ensure you identify your company’s USP and adapt your approach accordingly, to be able to distinguish why it is different from all the other competitors out there. This is a vital step for promoting SaaS services which are particularly complex and difficult for general customers to understand and differentiate between.
Proof of customer adoption and success stories
It is one thing to be able to explain your product in theory, but it’s far more compelling to be able to tell stories which demonstrate significant and effective customer adoption. Finding proof that your service has impacted a customer’s bottom line is invaluable PR collateral. As a SaaS brand, you want to prove you have overseen a smooth transition from a customer’s dated approach to their adoption of cloud technology, to dispel the rumours that companies have to be early adopters in order to see the benefits. Case studies make for credible and engaging content – your spokesperson being able to describe real examples of your brand’s impact enlivens and brings integrity to otherwise somewhat intangible claims. Think about how you can use real-life success stories to appeal to those who aren’t especially educated about cloud technology – especially if you’re able to attribute success to a company’s strategy amidst the ongoing pandemic. Again, timing is everything when it comes to a story.
Creating the news agenda by harnessing data and insights
Harnessing your own data and unique insights can help position your brand at the forefront of the news agenda. In the case of the coronavirus pandemic, the media is so saturated with this story that often a new angle is required to achieve cut-through. Use trends and results from commissioned surveys – or your own anonymized data – to create headlines yourself. Your data will have a multitude of stories for the trade, technology and consumer press – think about what interesting trends you can reveal and what headlines you could uncover with survey statistics.
Part of our work with 6point6, a technology consultancy specialising in digital transformation, emerging technology and cybersecurity, involved commissioning a big survey with a third party research company which gave us a plethora of unique data about the (lack of) adoption of AI among businesses, which we used to secure coverage on the likes of Sky News and UKTN. The client also used the data for a whitepaper report to support their content marketing strategy.
Explore different verticals
SaaS brands often operate across different industries, which from a PR perspective creates an opportunity to explore different verticals for different activities and open up conversations with a diverse range of press. Increasing your reach will maximise the opportunity for coverage. Look beyond the obvious press targets and think about the various types of customers you are helping every day – and of course the industries you want to break into and win new customers in, where coverage will be seen by key decision-makers and position you as a credible potential partner.
What to take away
For SaaS companies wanting to stand out, now is the time to invest in a PR strategy. Never has digital transformation been at front of mind for so many businesses, with knowledge often lacking, meaning there is a big opportunity for SaaS companies to become a trusted partner.
Remember to reflect on the USP you want to highlight, find proof of real-life success stories and think about the many verticals in which your expertise lies. Think more widely about how your service impacts on customers and the reach of your expertise, in order to hijack the news agenda at this crucial time and create new and engaging angles with your brand front and centre.
Are you interested in hearing about how we might be able to help you promote your offering? Speak to a member of our award-winning technology team today.