Are you doing PR?

Of course you are. Everything you and say and everything you do is public relations. Everything. Okay, just about everything.

So, if you think that by saying nothing you’re being cautious, or discreet, then consider this: what you’re most likely to be saying is that you have nothing to say. Can you afford to do that, when the companies that are threatening to eat your lunch are out there saying how great they are?

Technology companies are among the worst groups for saying nothing. They say that their work is commercially confidential, or that they’re unable to speak about their work because it’s shrouded in mystery and secrecy.  That’s sometimes true. But also true is that tech companies often don’t look for opportunities to say something of value to their customers. Confidential business quickly excuses a lack of imagination and justifies an absence of lateral thinking.

You really can’t afford to be seen to have nothing to say. Especially when it's easy to say things.

Does saying nothing matter?

Saying nothing is risky. While you might be steaming away selling to the firms that know you well, nobody new will hear about you. Nor will anybody new come into your pipeline.

In the meantime, the customers that you’re not dealing with on a day-to-day basis think you’re going ‘off the boil’ and losing your edge while an ever-growing body of potential customers will think you’re failing or have gone bust.

Start telling your story. Don’t just show you have a pulse, be the heart that pumps the blood in your industry.

How?

Start planning: Don’t just shout at anyone.

First be sure you know yourself, your brand values and messages.

Identify the sectors you’re most likely to succeed in and look for targets. What are their hot buttons?

Which targets matter most: clinics working with diabetics or M2M companies in Sweden, for example? (You might need to do a strategic marketing exercise to decide that, but you might already have a good feel for it.)

What are the needs of these targets and what can you offer as solutions to those needs?

Start talking. Comment on the issues affecting those target sectors. Claim them as yours and become the authority.

Tell all your audiences,  proactively, what you’re doing.

Use all relevant channels: the press, any other media that’s relevant and social networks, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter. Pick the ones that are most likely to reach your targets, whether it be a trade publication for the water industry, twitter, or both.

Make sure all your communications are consistent with ‘who’ you are. Don’t undermine your brand.

Build relationships with the magazines and publications most relevant to your sectors.

Build campaigns: create stories around sectors and themes (for example, water industry in UK; remote monitoring and control systems).

Get stuff out and into your communications channels. Then monitor the effect. Use that intelligence to improve how you do things next time.