There has been a significant uptick in companies reaching out to US PR firms about public relations and media relations services for entering the US market. This is true of several industries and practice groups, notably cleantech PR, healthcare PR and B2B tech PR. For this reason, I’ve had a lot of conversations lately with CEOs, VPs, and Marcomm leaders on how to craft messaging that reaches their target audiences, often via media.
I’ve found that many of my answers tend to be generally the same at first, which I get to by asking a series of questions. Is your company revenue producing? Will you have a US office? Do you have US employees and management? What partnerships do you have? The list goes on.
As these discussions persist, I thought it would be helpful to share some very general, but informative PR and communications tips for companies entering the US market.
- Be patient, get your messaging right. It can be tempting to put out your first communication in the US. Maybe you’re breaking ground on a project, raised your Series C, or hired the right CEO, and you want to shout it from the rooftops. I get it. But slow down! The first distributed press release or prominent article is immediately going to become one of the first things that a US searcher on Google will find when they’re researching your brand. SEO/ORM impacts can last, so it’s important to take steps to get your message for the short-term and foreseeable future right.
- Use a news hook to debut. Entering the US market is interesting but not always newsworthy. Newsworthy means a commercial partnership, technological innovation, significant capital raise, prominent executive hire, or something similar. A good PR firm can always get you in front of the right journalists. By giving them something significant to work with, the journalist will be more intrigued and likely to write a comprehensive story that’s informative for their audiences.
- Give the right journalist(s) the story and work with them. To this point and like anything else in media relations, targeting the right journalist matters. Sure, you may be able to get a four-paragraph feature written by a Silicon Valley pub or a business contributor somewhere, but targeting the right journalist often means getting the better story. This becomes more true concerning technology, sustainability, and healthcare/biotech – as these industries possess journalists with significant, trusted audiences of decision-makers in their respective industries.
- Leverage your past…For companies who are already in the commercial phase with products, services and projects in the market, one of the best ways to share your objectives and opportunities in the US is to point to your past. Has your Company achieved a technological breakthrough, published impressive data or secured market share milestones abroad, and now you seek opportunity in North America? If so, use your history as an example and proof point of your work elsewhere, and what it will mean to the US market and your target audience(s).
- …but look to your future. If the US is fertile business ground for you, make the case with journalists and in your corporate communications like press releases and email newsletter programs. Explain your Company’s differentiators and why you will earn market share and demonstrate to your customers, partners and investors why you will succeed and benefit them. Remember, the words you use early on in your corporate communications and media interviews are going to be critical, so plan wisely and be both transparent and insightful.
- Be a resource. No journalist likes getting on the phone with a spokesperson who just tries to sell them on their company and explain why the article should be about them. A good PR firm must educate their client on why a journalist gets on the phone with a spokesperson, and the answer is simple – to be a resource. The best way to do this is by providing insights, pointing out trends, explaining complex subject matter, and just doing a good job of informing the reporter in a non-promotional way. It is these spokespersons who become long term reporter sources and end up earning the most favorable/impactful ink.
PR Tips for Entering the US Market
Entering the US market is exciting for most companies, and our team at FischTank PR is thrilled to support by leveraging our media relations and corporate communications experience and capabilities. We’ve had wonderful opportunities to facilitate market entry for brands that have become long-term clients, creating an abundance of knowledge on the process. Got questions about entering the US market? Just email us at [email protected]