An introduction to cleantech PR

For any cleantech business looking to boost its reputation, PR is one of the most powerful marketing tools available. Getting your PR right can get you the attention you deserve, position you as a market leader, and directly support your commercial goals.

Your PR includes all aspects of how you communicate with the media and by extension your target audiences. In this blog we provide you with some insights on how to plan and run a successful PR campaign.

Building an effective PR strategy

  • A written, detailed strategy is the key to a successful PR campaign, regardless of its budget.
  • Know your audience well to increase the effectiveness of your PR campaign.
  • Always be well informed about your industry and its current news.

The first step to successful PR is your PR strategy. No matter your budget, you need a detailed strategy to run an effective PR campaign – and it needs to be written down. Without a written plan, you’ll be wasting valuable resources. A strategy should start by identifying what you’re hoping to achieve from PR and who you’re trying to reach.

Similar to buyer personas in content marketing, you should know which audiences you’re trying to communicate with via PR. You should have a clear idea of what they’re interested in, where they read their news and which publications they prefer. Knowing your audience will give you the chance to tailor your messages accordingly, thus raising their effectiveness.

An important aspect – especially while building your PR strategy, but also in general – is responding to what’s happening in your industry. Meaning, to achieve this, you must be aware of what’s going on in your industry in the first place. An excellent way of keeping up with the news that matters most to you and your industry is to sign up for daily newsletters. That way, you will always be informed and up to date on the latest topics.

Additionally, there are several affordable tools out there that can help you run an effective PR campaign on a limited budget, such as Google Alerts and ResponseSource’s Journalist Enquiry Service.

Working with journalists

  • Successful PR is dependent on your good relationships with journalists.
  • Journalists receive lots of inquiries, so make sure your messages are relevant, interesting, and professional.
  • Establish new relationships by monitoring your press coverage and contacting journalists who’ve covered you.

Once you’ve established your PR strategy, you need to think about your next step. For your PR campaign to be successful, you need a regular stream of coverage to maintain momentum and recognition which is why building good relationships with journalists is a crucial step worth investing your time and energy in.

You can build relationships with Journalists by providing information that supports their writing, which come in the form of:

  • Sending press releases
  • Giving interviews and appearing on podcasts
  • Writing thought-leadership articles
  • Providing commentary and reaction quotes to industry news

Building relationships with journalists can be a little daunting. They are typically very busy, so only contact them with relevant news and ideas. Also, don’t be offended if they don’t reply, it’s good practice to follow up at least once. And if they don’t respond to press releases, you can keep them on your list and try again next time, unless they’ve asked to be taken off your distribution list.

Here are some tips for when you’re writing to Journalists:

  • Include a catchy subject line – Journalists generally receive lots and lots of emails, so a catchy and interesting subject line will prevent them from deleting your email without reading it first.
  • Pick the right style – Journalists don’t speak marketing language, so don’t use hyperboles or marketing jargons, but also don’t write as you would in an academic paper. Our advice: Write the way an educated and interested outsider would write about you.
  • Be consistent – once you’ve established contact, try to engage regularly, and begin a rapport with the journalist. However, don’t be pushy, just try not to neglect the relationship like you wouldn’t neglect your relationship with a friend.

Monitoring the coverage you receive can help you develop new relationships. If a journalist has covered you, it means they are already interested in you and half your work is done. Take the next step by getting in touch with them and asking if they’d want to have a chat to discuss your company in more detail. Even an informal discussion helps build a relationship, plus keeps you in the journalist’s mind.

And finally, here’s a tip: a way of keeping track of your contacts is to create a board on Asana detailing your relationships with journalists. That way, you know everyone you’ve already contacted and what exactly you’ve pitched to them.

Going mainstream

  • Mainstream media coverage needs solid PR foundations and prior recognition in your sector.
  • Be realistic! Mainstream media coverage might not always be possible.
  • Build a PR campaign around your commercial goals, sometimes mainstream coverage doesn’t need to be the main focus.

We’ve previously explained how and when you should look to progress to hitting the mainstream media. You need to ensure that solid PR foundations are in place and that you’ve built recognition with trade publications in your sector first. These outlets will help build trust with more high-profile targets. A mainstream journalist will likely only cover a company with a solid brand reputation, meaning they will look at the coverage you have already received.

It’s also crucial to be realistic. Mainstream media coverage isn’t going to be achievable for many cleantech companies. If you know that a regular stream of commercial developments keeping your name in the news will not be possible, then achieving mainstream media attention shouldn’t be your PR focus. However, receiving mainstream coverage isn’t the only way of achieving your vision for the world – it depends on what your commercial goals are. If your audience primarily consults trade media, it may be perfectly sufficient to focus on receiving coverage there.

The importance of PR storytelling

  • People care more about your “why” than your “what”.
  • PR storytelling should revolve around your vision.

Storytelling is a method of creating a narrative for your company about why you’re doing what you’re doing. People buy ‘why’ you do something more than ‘what’ you actually do. This tactic needs to be reflected in your PR output.

To effectively nail the art of PR storytelling, you need to craft your story around your vision. One of our clients where this is demonstrated perfectly is Danfoss Editron. The company’s entire business strategy is built around the ambitious yet inspiring goal of ending pollution by electrifying traditionally heavy-duty industries. All our PR activities for the company reinforce this vision and message. In press releases, we always set the scene by including facts about the emissions produced by a country, region or sector, and mention the anticipated carbon emission savings the project will make. Additionally, in press releases and articles we make sure to highlight the benefits of Danfoss Editron’s technology compared to its competitors, as well as the wider benefits electrification can offer, such as improving air quality.

Get in touch with us to discuss how we could run a highly-effective strategic PR campaign for your cleantech company that will directly support your commercial goals and make a tangible contribution to the growth of your business.

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