All posts by Pratik Dholakiya

Newsjacking: The Secret PR Ingredient to Build SaaS Brand Awareness in 2023

25,000 companies and 14 billion customers – that’s the state of SaaS today. It’s a crowded market, growing further with a promising outlook. SaaS revenue will touch US$330 billion by 2027.

It’s a whole different ball game to build your authority and amplify your voice in this business environment. Since your product has no physical presence, it’s challenging to have audiences visualize your offerings with trust.

That’s where digital PR helps. Done right, it gives you media coverage, brand awareness, and inbound traffic. If you’re not entirely familiar with digital PR, we’ve extensively covered the concept in another blog post; you can read it here. Newsjacking is one of the ways by which you can gain more out of less, even on a little to zero marketing budget.

So, how can you generate traction and undertake SaaS branding for your business with newsjacking? Let’s find out.

First Up, What Is Newsjacking?

Newsjacking is an interesting concept that requires timely creative ideas to be quickly and simply executed. You pick a news topic or relevant trending story that’s just breaking, incorporate it into your SaaS marketing strategy, and piggyback on its popularity with engaging content — essentially hijacking the breaking news.

Breaking news generally attracts much traffic from around the web, anywhere in the world. When done well, newsjacking can tap into this exposure and put your brand on the map, increasing your brand awareness.

What’s Newsjacking Got to Do With Brand Awareness?

As it turns out, a lot.

Creates Audience Engagement

Specifically, when you newsjack the pop culture space that already garners high engagement. Audiences love to jump in on trends, share their views or repost interesting content – the perfect opportunity to win brand traffic.

With light-heartedness and relatability, newsjacking has the potential to drive positive conversations about your brand.

Improves Brand Recall

Journalism thrives on current events, which allows your business to stand front and center. The result? Large-scale exposure to audiences beyond boundaries, depending on the trend you pick. 

Newsjacking lets you create a lasting impression and improve your brand recall.

Improves Brand Recall

Journalism thrives on current events, which allows your business to stand front and center. The result? Large-scale exposure to audiences beyond boundaries, depending on the trend you pick. 

Newsjacking lets you create a lasting impression and improve your brand recall.

Tap Into Newsjacking for SaaS Marketing

Before we move into the method, it’s essential to understand the three key components of a good newsjacking campaign for success.

Now that you’ve ticked off the three elements, let’s dive into how you can make the most of newsjacking.

1. Stay Updated

You have to stay in the know of current happenings. Start with constantly monitoring the news. News websites are the obvious choice but don’t miss out on social media. Twitter is a hub of trending topics, given its distinct conversational format. The platform is so powerful that mainstream news websites pick up some trends off Twitter. Reddit is another platform you can use to track hot topics.

On the web, you can monitor Google Trends and set Alerts for topics of your interest. You can see a keyword’s popularity for any location and period. If there’s a sudden high uptick, it’s perhaps the right time for newsjacking.

Image Source

Sometimes, you can prepare in advance for scheduled events. For instance, you can devise a long-form, opinion-led article for International Internet Day (celebrated yearly on 29th October) a few months or weeks prior.

2. Familiarize Yourself With the Trend

You want to build a solid brand reputation. Therefore, demonstrating your expertise and understanding of sentiments is essential.

Whichever field of interest you choose, you need to educate yourself and get familiar with popular topics. Doing this will prepare you to anticipate audience reactions to sensitive discussions. It’ll also give you the confidence boost for sharing thought leadership opinions in the industry and having customers look up to you.

3. Think Out of the Box

Generic content isn’t going to get any attention. At the same time, remember that timing is vital. So, you must come up with unusual, out-of-the-box ideas at the drop of a hat. Speed and creativity are your two best friends when newsjacking.

First, pick the content format with which you want to communicate your message. Once you’ve decided on the format, work on the idea. Keep the content search-friendly by using relevant keywords and trending hashtags. The more searchable your content, the higher the chances of it being shared.

4. Avoid Controversy (Or Weave Through It Tastefully)

Most experts will caution you to stay clear of politics, religion, and natural disasters. Brands like Gillette and Sears faced the heat with poor campaigns that didn’t consider audience sentiments.

But others found ways to weave content sensitized to these trends.

Take the popular newsjacking example of Calm. The app sponsored the Key Race Alert on CNN during the 2020 U.S. presidential voting and aired a 30-second peaceful ad of rain falling on leaves. At a time of widespread stress, Calm’s “calming” and humorous newsjack brought relief and app downloads!

Image Source

5. Pick Appropriate Platforms

Not all channels will work for your campaign. While blogs and thought-leadership articles are good, social media triumphs at momentum and engagement.

Pick the social media platform that’s relevant to your content.

  • Twitter: To uncover trending topics or keep tabs on trending topics, and gauge real-time sentiment
  • TikTok: For quick trendjacking of UGC, best-suited to GenZ audiences
  • LinkedIn: Have niche conversations with specific industries and share timely personal experiences
  • YouTube: Takes the upper hand to rank better in search because its native to Google

6. Pitch to News Outlets

Only creating a content piece and posting it on your owned media may not get enough traction. You can amplify your reach by sharing the piece with news outlets.

But you don’t have to wait until the news breaks to curate a list of journalists. Keep this ready and include all the publications relevant to your brand. Craft a crisp and concise pitch email and send it to multiple outlets. 

If multiple outlets agree to pick up your story, but one publisher wants exclusive content, it could be a problem. You can either agree or disagree. If you agree, ask the publication to perhaps interview your CMO or CEO for an exclusive bit. 

If you disagree and want more coverage instead, be transparent when you share the story first. Inform them that you’ll be sending it to multiple outlets. And you’ll be happy to set up interviews if needed.  

To check if any publication picks up your piece, track the email opens and view those websites.

7. Monitor Performance 

To monitor your campaign’s performance, audience reaction is the first indicator. If they like your content, you’ll receive love and engagement.

Even if your campaign doesn’t live up to expectations, take it in your stride, figure out what didn’t work, and improve it the next time.

8. Partner With an Expert

If all of the above seems overwhelming, ask for help. We know running a business isn’t easy and needs firing on all cylinders simultaneously. SaaS PR experts, like Growfusely, can handle all your PR efforts and drive your campaign for success.

SaaS Brands’ Newsjacking in the Real World

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some newsjacking examples of brands that used it to solidify their SaaS branding.

Telegram

Telegram is a messaging app well-loved by more than 1.2 million people for its humorous and light-hearted Twitter account.

The Newsjack:

The brand’s competitor, WhatsApp, faced heat for its recent privacy updates. Telegram jumped in at the right moment with a funny tweet. It didn’t stop there. When audiences came across the tweet, they found it so relatable that they commented on and retweeted it. Telegram kept the momentum going with its witty replies.

Their content was so on point that some people signed up on the app only because of Telegram’s responses.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the first leading social media management platforms.

The Newsjack:

Although Hootsuite did this in 2014, it’s a prime example of how to do newsjacking right. The brand created a video based on Game of Thrones’ opening sequence. It showed each social media platform as a “house” and Hootsuite as “Westeros,” or the continent all houses shared.

Besides YouTube, the brand drove traffic from Twitter, Facebook, and multiple news outlets. And it still crops up in digital PR conversations today!

Subscript

Subscript is a subscription intelligence platform for B2B SaaS brands to unlock deeper insights.

The Newsjack:

If you think newsjacking is only for external customers, Subscript’s employer branding activity will make you think differently. The brand used Elon Musk’s viral email on remote work for Tesla employees and put a unique spin on it.

The post garnered much love on social media among the brand’s internal customers (employees) and potential leads.

Wrapping Up

When done right, newsjacking is a popular and effective digital PR technique to build brand awareness and reputation. If you stay up-to-date, be sensitive and respectful, deploy speed but not haste, and track your performance, you’re setting your brand up for success.

Use newsjacking to encourage engagement, drive conversations around your brand and attract prospects in a low-cost yet measurable way. Reach out to Growfusely to develop a holistic SaaS PR and newsjacking strategy.

The featured image is taken from Freepik

Why You Should Create a Robust Digital PR Strategy for Your SaaS

If you are a SaaS business reading this, here is a question.

What is your brand reputation like?

Yay, or meh? 

If ‘Yay’, you can always do better, and if ‘Meh’, it’s just a matter of time before you start doing better.

How? Two words: digital PR.

Keep reading to gather these three key takeaways:

  • Digital PR helps you edge past competition.
  • A robust PR strategy helps improve your brand image significantly.
  • As an example, the video conferencing giant — Zoom — has a robust PR plan in place.

Now, let’s dive in.

What is the Significance of Digital PR in SaaS Marketing?

For SaaS, it’s all about reaching and converting leads to loyal clients.

Global SaaS service sales figures were at $156 billion in 2020. We expect them to breach the $300 billion mark by the end of 2026, according to data released by Statista. 

And while branding and marketing are essential for justifying the forecasted figures, PR is the glue that keeps everything together.

But there is a catch. With SaaS, it is an open sea of competition out there. This is where Digital PR comes in handy. 

Unlike what most people consider it to be — a digital PR plan — can have a direct business impact. If done right, here are the broader aspects that a SaaS company can target using the PR strategy:

  • Generating new leads; 
  • Knowing the competitive landscape;
  • Growing brand awareness;
  • Having a direct business impact;
  • Omnichannel engagement via intelligent repurposing;
  • Customer retention via trust-building;

And more.

But not every digital PR strategy works for SaaS. You do need a robust plan that can evolve, adapt, and respond — on time, every time.

Why is a robust PR plan important for SaaS companies?

SaaS is a different ball game altogether. Staying ahead of the competitors, having a strategy for every launch event, managing crises, etc. The requirements and the corresponding possibilities to succeed are endless.

Hence, if in SaaS, you need a seasoned, flexible strategy independent of other organizational blockers. 

In case you are into specifics, here are the why’s to consider:

Getting the Right Message Out

In a world where tech products and services are in plenty, the million-dollar question is: how exactly does your brand help? The right digital PR plan helps you be vocal about the primary user-specific goal of the company — including the USP. Once again, direct business impact.

Building Long-Lasting Relationships

SaaS firms prefer relying on tech partners to reach a larger user base. Plus, there are influencers and product ambassadors who associate themselves with its commercial and social aspects. 

A good digital PR strategy helps form these long-term relationships by sending out the right motivation through compelling dialogues. Once formed, entrust PR to streamline these relationships — taking the company to places in terms of visibility. 

Gauging the Competition

SaaS is often about insights and data. As a firm with a unique product, you might have deets about what your competition is up to — in terms of market share, exposure, new initiatives, and all that. 

Your robust digital PR strategy can help you edge past peers by using the insights and working closely with the product team to improve the SaaS. 

One such example would be Spotify’s “Unwrapped” program, allowing users to track their listening habits. An idea most competitors wouldn’t have thought of at the time. 

Enhancing the Exposure

For making giant strides in SaaS, your PR-led content must be unique, quasi-promotional, and relevant even to the non-SaaS verticals. 

Here is how it works: as a SaaS firm PR team, it would make sense to work with the market research team to focus on users who aren’t aware of the tech but need the SaaS to improve their organizational processes. A robust PR plan involves proactively locating that audience and pitching unique (non-invasive) content to them. The content should not overwhelm but assist. 

Handling Tech- and Human-Led Crisis

You cannot expect organizational proceedings to be all hunky dory at all times. A robust PR plan considers the tech issues, if any, and keeps sending out regular updates to appease the concerned user base. 

An actionable PR plan helps douse flames in case of product or even human-led problems. One example would be Zoom’s PR team handling the infamous Zoombombing issue.

Organically Improving Consumer Trust

Let’s dial back a bit to understand this point better. During the Zoombombing incident, Zoom CEO (Eric S.Yuan) — came out and apologized to everyone affected by the issue. Well, this is how the PR team builds trust. 

A robust PR strategy can increase the impact of thought leadership by using the social media handles of founders and CEOs to connect with the users. And nothing generates more trust than the head honchos having an open line of communication with the product users. 

Indirectly Enhancing Lead Generation Chances

Ever heard of the term “newsjacking”? Well, it’s a standard PR exercise to stay relevant to the trends. However, robust PR teams can go highly creative with this approach, helping the brand stand out and garner additional views. 

Remember the time when Hootsuite — an SMM platform — leveraged the popularity of Game of Thrones — to come up with a video marketing idea. The idea here is to be a part of the social media chatter, often by creating listening lists to understand trends and keywords better. 

You just saw that all of this requires going the extra mile, something only a robust PR strategy would do. 

Building Empathy

SaaS is most certainly about tech. Yet, there is a human angle to it, which a good PR team can project. Some of the most followed PR-led approaches include using leadership comms to comment on a thoughtful topic, exploring the non-profit aspects of the company’s presence, like a tree planting initiative or something similar, and highlighting the company culture by posting candid employee interactions on social media, and more. 

The idea behind it is to make the company and the SaaS — more relatable than ever. Believe it or not, empathy is a great way to improve customer retention rates.

Attracting New Investors

Unless your company is revenue-led/bootstrapped, you might want to grab investors’ attention. But what if 100 more SaaS firms are trying to connect with that one investor? The robust PR plan helps you get noticed, primarily with intelligent content related to new upgrades/milestones, innovative newsjacking pieces, human-centric narratives, and more.

Targeting the Right People

Let’s come to the product now. You may have a great SaaS product with unique features. Yet, a content team (in sync with the product) can only do so much to push out the highlights. It comes down to the PR to identify the right people (brands) by following up on the interactions, social media chatter, and other outbound resources.

A robust digital PR does all the heavy lifting for a SaaS business. From ideating clever content pieces to ensuring that the firms ride the trends without letting go of the trust, every digital PR team in 2022 should be able to make direct business impacts. There was a time when PR was just about highlighting the brand presence. Today, it encompasses everything — from trust building to handling crises to generating leads.

Examples of Robust PR Strategies in Place

Now that we have mentioned how a robust PR strategy can help SaaS brands go above and beyond, here are some real-world examples. These companies have been using robust digital PR strategies for a while now and to great effect.

Salesforce

Salesforce — a leading CRM-focused SaaS brand — has been quite vocal about its achievements. Salesforce’s robust PR team highlighted the 73,000-employee addition narrative, especially during the period when IT lay-offs were going through the roof.

Source: Backlinko

Zoom

Yes, Zoom’s year-on-year revenue dipped 8%. Still, Zoom’s proactive PR team has been highlighting its 5x revenue growth from 2018 to 2020 — to show resilience. 

Source: Statista

Touted as one of the pandemic darlings, Zoom’s PR is also known for dousing the exploit-specific fire that arose during the covid-era. And that makes their PR team good at crisis management and attracting new partners.

Conclusion 

And that’s a wrap for this post. A robust PR strategy helps SaaS brands scale to newer heights.

As a company, if you do not have one in place, it might just be the time to look around and build one. And finally, effective digital PR of the modern era isn’t just about paid promotions. It’s about driving omnichannel engagement where the PR team works closely with the content, marketing, product, leadership, HR, and other associated teams.


The featured image is taken from Freepik

3 Examples of Digital PR Done Right from SaaS Companies

To grow in SaaS, you need to PRep right. And by PRep, we mean a sound digital PR plan.

But wait, isn’t a PR strategy hard to justify for bootstrapped SaaS firms — especially when the effects are more qualitative than quantitative? Therein lies the craft.

Why is SaaS PR Like an Insurmountable Peak?

Successful digital PR for SaaS involves many moving parts: 

  • Iterative brand image building
  • Building brand awareness
  • Wading through the competition
  • Achieving business profiling relevance
  • Hunting websites that give high-quality backlinks
  • Working closely with the product team
  • Locating tech journalists and building organic relationships
  • Carving a niche depending on the products and services on offer
  • Spending frugally on influencer marketing
  • Launching products that give back to society
  • Launching in-house offerings
  • Security first, always
  • Managing a crisis
  • Picking the type of media as you go
  • Getting technology partners on-board
  • Staying radically transparent with users
  • Planning the social media right
  • Helping build a dedicated user community
  • Doing all of the above, all while keeping the growth narrative product-led and not PR-led.

And most importantly, every digital plan should include measuring the success of the existing strategy with well-defined KPIs and objectives.

SaaS Firms That Are Doing Digital PR Right

The entire SaaS industry has grown by nearly 500% over the past seven years. And while we are sure that great, era-defining products are at the core, it wouldn’t have been possible without PR.

Here are the SaaS companies that have actually implemented the strategies mentioned above to come up with those near-perfect digital PR plans.

1. Zoom

What Does the Company Do?

A reputed video conferencing platform, powering communication in the form of meetings, webinars, online events, phone-based conversations, and chats.

The PR Primer

As per data from Statista, Zoom expanded 5x in just two years: 2018 to 2020. And it wasn’t just the products. Here is what they did in regard to their SaaS PR.

  • They were vocal and radically transparent about their achievements (clearly conveyed revenue generation numbers to data analysts and firms)
  • Kept staying in the news by pushing the growth narrative, increasing revenue from $45 million in 2018 to $225 million in 2020.
  • Handled the ‘Zoombombing’ crisis during the pandemic like pros, giving the company much negative publicity.
  • Eric Yuan (Founder) released official statements, took responsibility for the issue, and ensured that the Digital PR team aggressively circulated Zoom’s steps to ensure complete safety. The crisis was averted in a matter of weeks. 

What Can be Done Better?

Product upgrades and fixes need to be quick. For instance, the latest login server issue could have been kept hush-hush by making quick fixes. Instead, the news is now out at MyBroadband, with the PR team trying to douse the fire. 

Latest Insight Doing Digital Rounds

The PR team seems to have evaded the Web 3.0 debate for now, as today we see a positive Zoom post on Bloomberg, which says that despite the advent of VR headsets like Meta’s upcoming Quest, Zoom will continue to be useful.

2. Adobe

What Does the Company Do?

A company that started with licensed software offerings but has been moving towards the SaaS-first model from 2012 onwards. 

The PR Primer

The thing with Adobe is that they are very clear when it comes to carving out that niche and with relevant business profiling. Here is what their PR primer essentially looks like:

  • Working closely with the product team and spreading the word every time there is a positive change in the bottom line or a new product gets introduced.
  • Precisely planning the transition of standard customers to a thriving community by making them feel a part of the journey.
  • Focusing on the best possible UI and then creating a sense of supply to quell the user demand.
  • Smartest possible product acquisitions with Adobe adding the likes of Flash, Dreamweaver, and Macromedia to its portfolio over the past 15+ years. 
  • Great SEO game, led by a pitch-perfect backlinking strategy.
  • Focus on simplicity when the SaaS game keeps getting complicated.
  • Controlled ad spending with a focus on direct and programmatic approaches
Source: AlphaStreet

What Can be Done Better?

Adobe could try and get better at the paid media part of marketing, precisely some humane stories led by a more wholesome digital PR strategy. Yes, they have a great product suite, but some empathy is always good. 

Latest Insight Doing Digital Rounds

Remember giving back to society? Well, Adobe is doing just that as it has recently collaborated with AICTE to add to India’s digital literacy coverage. And the digital PR team is pushing out this pro-company narrative rather aggressively. 

3. Salesforce

What Does the Company Do?

An American SaaS leader focusing on cloud solutions and CRM products, powering marketing, sales, and service-intensive firms. 

The PR Primer

For a company as big as Salesforce, it is mostly always about showing strength, courtesy of iterative image building. Here are the things that Salesforce’s PR is particularly good at:

  • Focusing on driving organic growth by talking about employment generation at a time when layoffs were becoming industry standard. The company aggressively promoted its vision of hiring 73,000 employees, which has doubled since 2019. 
  • Hiring aggressively is a sign of strength, and with that, Salesforce even flaunted its market cap of $167.36 billion as of July 2022. 
  • Salesforce’s PR drives important narratives like the company being the existing market leader when the public cloud Software-as-a-Service tag is concerned. 
  • They have a dedicated page, more like a collection of news pieces and insights — allowing users to see what good the company is bringing to the world. The page includes customer success stories, earning reports, and almost everything that shouts radical transparency. 

What Can be Done Better?

As Salesforce is a humongous organization, every crisis is blown out of proportion. The digital PR team must have plans in place to get better at immediate crisis management. And that includes social media as well. 

Latest Insight Doing Digital Rounds

Salesforce has recently leapfrogged SAP to become the leading global vendor dealing in Enterprise applications. However, the PR coverage seems to be lukewarm for this massive bit of news. 

Wrap-Up

SaaS is growing, and there is no second-guessing the reasons: the tectonic shift towards IT,on-the-move software modules, and some dope PR game. As per stats, the United States still leads the world regarding the distribution of SaaS firms, having at least eight times more companies than any other country in the world. 

Yes, regardless of every story built around a brand, it is always the product that takes center stage. However, despite the best-in-class product, some SaaS companies continue to struggle due to a non-existent digital PR plan. So, if you plan on making it big in SaaS, take cues from the approaches of the companies we have put together. 

And while you are at it, scroll up and check the digital PR checklist we have put together for you. We really hope it serves you, PRfectly.

Featured Image by pikisuperstar on Freepik