(This is the second of a two-part blog on how IT companies can survive sequestration. If you like this blog, please share it. Thanks!)
In a recent blog, I opened up a discussion about how federal IT contractors should remain committed to their marketing budgets – especially in times of sequestration/government spending cuts. Good awards are going to be more difficult to win. The best way to position yourself for these opportunities is to stand out within a crowded field of competitors.
Previously, I illustrated three ways that a high tech PR agency like ours can help. Here are five more:
Creating and marketing content, content and more content. Your communications team should be plugged into all forms of digital and traditional content marketing– from blogs to white papers to video and case studies to industry-press byliners. Your communications team must know how to generate quality content and cultivate well-established relationships with the media so it can be placed where your target audience goes. Still, there is more involved than content generation and placement. It is about making immediate and meaningful connections to the audience, too. Whatever the format, the content has to be very finely crafted, so the client comes across as a company that expresses a genuine understanding – a sincere sense of empathy – about the challenges that customers are facing.
Getting from point A to point B. Ultimately, IT contractors want the target audience (i.e., government IT managers) to click on their websites and pursue purchase options. But you’ll lose these potential customers quickly if your site doesn’t make sense and/or it’s too difficult to navigate. Again, this is where the communications support steps in, to examine what’s on your pages from a user perspective and offer strong suggestions about improving that experience, to ensure a “clean,” smooth ride from Point A (clicking on the home page) to Point B (the point of purchase).
Striking a balance. SEO services are critical. Haphazardly sprinkling in search-friendly terms into a piece of content without any rhyme or reason will read like gibberish. Your communications team should know how to deliver the best of both worlds: Content that ranks high on a search-results page and reads in a clear and engaging way.
Illustrating ROI. Given that you’ll have to spend to gain these services, you want to see what ROI you’re getting. This is where metrics comes into play. A quality communications team will meet with an organization’s stake holders to review all activities and ensure that they are supporting the growth of the business. Are you looking for lead generation, visibility or both? Whatever the goals are, the team must review metrics on an ongoing basis to ensure there is a clear understanding of what is working and what isn’t.
Reaching out to the media. Valuable PR services are about building real relationships with the media by providing them with resources that they can use for stories. The team must read the publications and understand what each writer covers so that the right information is sent to the right reporter. The team will understand that it isn’t about always about pushing products and/or services, but providing trend information and general industry insights, i.e., Thought Leadership.
So as you can see, there are many ingredients that go into the mix of an effective marketing communications program. All of them must integrate seamlessly to skillfully showcase your standing in the government marketplace, and lend a unique face and “voice” to the products and services you produce.
Without the extent of support that a true communications team can contribute, your voice will get drowned out by a sea of competitors. In these times of scaled-back federal IT budgets and the ensuing, intense competition for contracts, you can’t afford to let this happen. So don’t. Contact us if you’re interested in finding out more.
Evan Weisel is principal and co-founder of W2 Communications.