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SaaS PR: A definitive guide to public relations for SaaS startups

by | Jun 23, 2022 | Analysis, Public Relations

The ultimate accolade for any marketing strategy is genericization. When brand names become verbs, companies witness the impact good PR can bring. Becoming ingrained within society takes many factors, and public relations is one of them.

We assume Bill Gates must shudder at hearing the words “just google it.” It means Google has become synonymous with searching online, and Microsoft has a long way to go. That level of success is hard to achieve but not impossible.

Even though SaaS PR doesn’t need this level of effectiveness, it can still have a massive impact. Effective PR can turn your brand from a “Who’s that?” to a recognizable name, inspiring potential candidates and potential investors.

SaaS PR: A definitive guide to public relations for SaaS startups

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Successful SaaS PR requires a thorough understanding of your target audience. Building relationships and gaining customer loyalty are both valuable attributes of effective marketing.

For SaaS startups, premium or self-serve media monitoring will inform your brand of media mentions and coverage. The goal is to reach as many people as possible and ensure an automated lead funnel with your traffic.

In 2021, there were approximately 15,000 software as a service (SaaS) companies in the United States.

With an effective SaaS PR strategy, you can distinguish yourself from your competition. This exposure will ensure your brand attracts new customers while engaging your existing ones.

This blog will look at the difference a solid PR strategy can make to your SaaS startup. We’ll also look at the unique ways it can build your media communications and online engagement.

Why SaaS startups need effective PR marketing

When PR marketing is done right, the benefits to your brand are endless. PR isn’t simply telling people how great your company is. It’s establishing your authority and credibility within your industry.

Your priority as a SaaS startup is to build a perfect product. But what good is a perfect product without people being aware of it? Great PR puts a face to the name and gets your brand that much-needed recognition.

Via media channels, such as traditional news outlets, the Google reviews app store, and blogs, your brand’s reach will expand. These practices will help target new and existing customers, clients, and peers. It will cultivate a positive public perception.

An effective SaaS PR strategy can build credibility and generate awareness organically. Not only can it develop leads and sales, but it can also social proof your public relations for future customers.

SaaS PR: A definitive guide to public relations for SaaS startups

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PR defines how a company communicates with its audience. They find the perfect strategy to get your unique message out to the world by building trust with your audience and tailoring a collaborative approach to communication.

A solid PR strategy acts as a critical trust signal to customers and search engines. It can lower your website’s bounce rate as well as increase conversion. As a SaaS startup, you need to invest in the tools available to you.

Let’s look at what a solid PR strategy can do for your brand:

Increase your brand awareness

Imagine if you’re a company that sells NZ domain names. Good PR will improve the visibility of your brand and get your intended message across. The more visible the company is, the more people will trust it.

As your SaaS startup is new, it will have inherited a very limited reach. Brand awareness aims to increase media coverage through an array of tactics. One of these tactics includes the use of major publications.

Publishing high-quality PR content online improves your brand’s reputation. Innovative articles and an attention-grabbing press release are credible sources of exposure. This leads to establishing your brand as an authority in your area of expertise.

This PR tactic can reach thousands of new readers per day. As the article can be featured in trusted and popular publications, its scope of readership is vast. This type of story piggybacking leads to wider brand awareness.

Increasing your brand awareness increases audience familiarity. This nurtures their trust and ensures a bond is made. Meaning they’re more likely to buy from you.

Social proof

By gaining media coverage in a reputed publication, your SaaS startup can prosper from its success. Through association, you can enhance your company’s credibility. This will put you on your target audience’s radar as social proofing ensures you’re in front of a similar audience.

Social proofing your brand helps speed up your buyer’s journey. “How do you rate an app?” is one of the key questions you need to know the answer to and be able to implement it as part of your PR strategy.

Testimonials from apps boost conversion rates as customers read authentic reviews.

SaaS PR: A definitive guide to public relations for SaaS startups

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Social proofing works by reassuring people that their decision is the right one. Although we’re told not to follow the crowd, when it comes to new services, the majority wins.

On-site reviews and social media all influence visitor behavior. When used correctly, social proofing highlights the popularity of a brand and its customer confidence.

How to make a successful SaaS PR strategy

A SaaS startup must take a different approach to traditional marketing. Due to lack of funding, an effective PR strategy relies on capturing engagement and media monitoring tools. Your goal is to stand out from the crowd and appeal to your core audience.

Let’s take a look at some tried-and-tested SaaS PR strategies that you can use.

Use newsjacking

Newsjacking is the process of creating content around breaking news stories and breaking trends. This is an effective technique as it ties your brand to a viral hashtag and forces a connection. Simply put, you can use the event’s traffic to your brand’s advantage.

Newsjacking can be either proactive or reactive to the breaking trends. As viral moments pass in the blink of an eye, it’s important to piggyback on the story quickly.

For newsjacking to be effective, you need to leverage the recent event as soon as possible.

Brands choose to newsjack rather than create original concepts because it guarantees attention. It allows them to be a part of a bigger conversation by tactical positioning. That’s why it’s viewed as an essential technique for SaaS PR.

Audiences thrive on current events. Let’s look at the example of a news story concerning cloud-based vs. on-premise storage.

A SaaS startup specializing in cloud-based technology can newsjack this story to gain traction. It’s an easy hack to boost your chances of receiving a press mention and user engagement.

An example of newsjacking includes Madame Tussauds Wax Museum removing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. When the pair announced they were “stepping away” from their royal duties, the museum removed them from their display.

Another example is Microsoft Team’s Together Mode. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many fans couldn’t attend sporting events due to social distancing. By partnering with the NBA, Microsoft Teams was able to promote its Together Mode feature.

SaaS PR: A definitive guide to public relations for SaaS startups

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Microsoft simulated the experience of a crowd with virtual attendees. The effect brought a sense of community for both the spectators and the players. And the multinational corporation was able to showcase its product originally and effectively.

Collect and share data-packed insights

As a SaaS startup, you’re immersed with endless streams of data, whether it’s data from product development, user statistics, or industry trends. You’re sitting on the data mother lode.

This level of data insight is a valuable commodity for SaaS PR. Journalists appreciate your expertise as your brand can use its data to predict industry trends. You can also leverage your brand as an industry leader by producing analytical reports.

Tools such as PySpark join together data frames to reveal invaluable insights. SaaS PR can then use this data to decipher their target market. When analytics are utilized in a pitch, it’s easier for journalists to build a narrative.

A narrative built on statistics and reliable trends performs better than those using hearsay. Audiences want trusted sources and statistics. If your PR has both, your content becomes shareable with the likelihood of follow-up stories.

SaaS PR can use both internal and external research to produce data-centric reports through four easy steps:

  • Analyze your newfound data to derive analytical data.
  • Identify key statistics and trends.
  • Generate relevant reports using your findings.
  • On your website, create a landing page for others to contact you using your data insights.

Connect with industry experts and influencers

Collaboration between industry experts and social media influencers is a tactic SaaS PR can’t afford to ignore. Industry authorities give credence to your brand. They’re a reliable source of information that audiences can trust.

Influencer marketing soared to $13.8 billion in 2021. Engaging with credible influencers means your startup can attract a large audience base. And as the majority of social media users interact with influencer content, it’s the ideal opportunity to expand.

SaaS PR: A definitive guide to public relations for SaaS startups

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If we look at a SaaS startup that produces regression testing services, collaboration with industry experts via events, webinars, and podcasts increases your reliability. Expert testimonials are a valuable commodity as they’re trusted sources.

Both industry experts and influencer marketing boost your marketing results. They ensure target audiences are aware of your services and the relationship you have between your brand and customer.

Familiar story angles

Let’s be honest, creating something unique takes a Herculean effort. You have to travel through levels of despair, melancholy, loneliness, contempt, and finally, acceptance. Thankfully, SaaS brands can get media attention via other avenues.

Unlike newsjacking, which only works with viral and current news stories, using stories that have performed well in the past is the strategic thinking skills of a SaaS PR pro.

By rewriting the narrative of an original story, brands can tailor their message to make it more relevant to them. It’s using its popularity to your benefit.

The health and beauty retailer Superdrug used a Buzzfeed article that had gone viral years prior in one of their campaigns. The original article focussed on users photoshopping their countries’ beauty standards onto the author’s portrait.

Superdrug developed this idea into “Perceptions of Perfection” years later. Their marketing content examined women’s body standards from all over the world to great acclaim.

As we can see, the core narrative remained the same in both pieces. But the retail giant had altered the focus and presentation to fit its diverse strategy.

Podcasts

Today, it seems like everyone, from Conan O’Brien to my nana, has a podcast. It’s projected that the number of podcast listeners in the United States will reach 164 million by 2024. We’re currently experiencing a listening awakening that doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

As podcasts have become a part of our media consumption, it makes sense to capitalize on their popularity. Podcasts are a cost-effective, innovative, and modern approach to effective SaaS PR.

SaaS PR: A definitive guide to public relations for SaaS startups

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Listeners can spend up to an hour engaging with an episode. Podcast hosts talk uninterrupted about topics they’re passionate about and topics they would like to explore.

Imagine a podcast that explores how to create a digital brochure. Its audience base will be those who want to find out more about the topic. So in effect, the podcast audience comes to the content.

Podcast marketing is still relatively new, meaning your brand has a competitive edge over others. If you’re the first to explore topics within your industry, you already know there will be an audience waiting for you.

When directing pitches or hosting, your SaaS brand can offer valuable content for free. Applying the principles of SaaS PR allows you to engage with podcast listeners who are ready to listen.

Final thoughts

For SaaS startups, effective PR will ensure the next stage of your business growth. Engagement can boost your brand’s reputation and maximize your return on investment better than good UI design.

No one understands your brand as much as you, and no one understands your audience better than you. Using your expert knowledge of your product can enhance your market visibility and give you a competitive edge.

When used correctly, SaaS PR can grow your brand and turn leads into customers.

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Emily Rollwitz
Emily Rollwitz is a Content Marketing Executive at Global App Testing, a remote and on-demand app testing company helping top app teams deliver high-quality ad-hoc software, anywhere in the world. She has 5 years of experience as a marketer, spearheading lead generation campaigns and events that propel top-notch brand performance. Handling marketing of various brands, Emily has also developed a great pulse in creating fresh and engaging content. She’s written for great websites like Airdroid and Shift4Shop. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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