10 Strategies to Grow Using Public Relations

Executing a marketing plan can often prove to be vexing exercise, especially for installing security contractors with limited resources. Read on to learn fundamental tactics that can ensure a successful PR campaign.

The competitive landscape for security dealers and integrators has transformed rapidly. The entry of telecom and cable providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Cox and Verizon — plus retail brands such as Lowe’s — challenges security dealers to differentiate their offering to attract new customers and fend off these new competitive pressures to retain existing customers. At the same time, new home automation and energy management products and offerings further clutter an already confusing market for consumers.

There exists no shortage of marketing and advertising strategy resources for security dealers to consider, but I’ve always been surprised that more content isn’t available to help security dealers and integrators better understand how to leverage public relations (PR) as part of broader sales and lead-generation efforts. Installing security contractors are increasingly eyeing public relations and social media outreach as a cost-effective and powerful tool to attract new customers, retain existing ones, and showcase positive customer stories in a way that generates new leads and revenues.

Primer on Developing Your Brand

As is the case with many initiatives, the most difficult step is often the first one. Some dealers and integrators aren’t sure how to develop relationships with media, why some press releases generate Website traffic and others don’t, or whether social media efforts are worth the time and investment.

Based on more than 17 years of public relations experience — much of that in the security and home automation space — I assembled a playbook with 10 key strategies for dealers and integrators to leverage PR and social media to grow their business, build their brand, and remain competitive.

While the online version of this story includes a registration link to download the entire playbook for free, following are 10 excerpts from the document to get you started.

1. Planning, research and timing are critical. For home security and home automation dealers seeking to execute an effective PR program, planning, research and timing are essential. Before interacting with press, spending money to place a press release on the wire, or engaging in social media conversations there should be a period of planning and preparation.

Take adequate time to understand the local (and if relevant, national) editorial community and how they have been covering your space. Once planning and research have been conducted, think about the best timing. Don’t pitch into a vacuum and expect media coverage. Think about a potential news hook (or two) coming up in the near future, and then use that as an opportunity to preview the reporter on this news. It could range from a unique customer story or new technology feature, to a seasonal time element or a key executive hire.

2. Consider media training. Most of the founders and executives at security dealers I encountered and worked with were highly personable, engaging and conveyed energy and passion for their business and customers. Second, these individuals, through years in the industry, brought strong expertise and a command of not only their business, but also broader industry trends.

That said, most local security dealers — with a few exceptions, of course — had limited to no experience interacting with the press. This isn’t a bad thing, mostly the product of focusing day-to-day on growing their business and interacting with customers. Professional media training is beneficial, even if it is a one-time session to provide dealers with the strategies and feedback they’ll need to prepare.

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