From Zero to Hero: The Epic Journey of B2B SaaS PR Maturity

Like a B2B SaaS company scales by pulling those magical growth levers, public relations programs embark on a thrilling journey to maturity as comms teams expand their efforts, sophistication and results. But PR maturity doesn’t happen overnight! It’s an adventure through three key stages: laying down a rock-solid foundation, nailing consistency and finally reaching the summit of true PR maturity to build brand awareness, credibility and inbound interest.

Building a Foundation: The PR Starter Pack

In the foundational stage, a SaaS company must assemble the core elements of an impactful PR program – think of it as your PR starter pack! This includes designating and training a bench of spokespeople, clearly defining your ideal customer profile and competitive landscape, articulating your company’s mission and unique value proposition, and ensuring your PR messaging is integrated across channels like a well-oiled machine. 

In this stage, companies should start building a treasure trove of thought leadership content and dropping news about product innovation and leadership hires. With this groundwork in place, your company is ready to level up its PR game!

Creating and Maintaining Consistency: The PR Marathon

Next up is the challenging task of achieving consistency – the PR marathon, if you will. SaaS brands at the consistency stage secure steady, on-message media coverage and owned and shared content that’s so good it’ll make your competitors green with envy. 

At this stage, brands start earning external thought leadership through podcasts and trade publications and begin building relationships with tech and business media through bold subject matter commentary. Inclusion in analyst reports, high-quality backlinks, and measurable website traffic from PR efforts are all key indicators that you’re crushing it at this stage. And, consistent programs have detailed reporting that proves to company leadership (including the board) just how awesome your PR efforts are.

Reaching PR Maturity: The Ultimate Boss Level

Finally, with persistent effort and refinement over time, a SaaS company can reach the coveted stage of PR maturity – the ultimate boss level! Hallmarks of this stage include:

  • Consistent media coverage across trade, podcasts, business and tech media for company moments and thought leadership.
  • A noticeable uptick in branded search terms and organic traffic that’ll have your SEO team high-fiving.
  • Inbound interest from media, investors and events that’ll make you feel like the belle of the ball.
  • Customer participation in the PR program – because nothing says “we’re awesome,” like happy customers singing your praises.
  • Company subject matter experts are recognized as influential voices in the space – the ultimate stamp of approval.
  • A regular cadence of proprietary data and insights that’ll make your brand the go-to source for industry knowledge.

By understanding this maturity model, B2B SaaS companies can benchmark their current PR efforts, identify areas for optimization, and strategically level up their PR program over time. While reaching full PR maturity takes some serious elbow grease and time, it pays off in spades by building a robust and recognized brand that’ll make your competitors say, “Dang, I wish I thought of that!”

Widening Your SME Bench For a Modern Corporate Narrative

Cultivating trust with a prospect is arguably the most important — and difficult — aspect of conversion. Our recent survey of over 100 marketing leaders revealed building trust as the top priority for 2024. But how can SaaS companies genuinely earn that trust? The answer lies in humanizing your brand through an authentic corporate narrative that moves beyond product talk tracks and CEO speeches.

The rising voices of subject matter experts like CHROs, DE&I leaders and ESG specialists are key to adding depth and resonance to your story. These SMEs provide an inside look at your company’s culture, values and real-world impact that today’s purpose-driven buyers crave. Incorporating their perspectives is a powerful way to reveal your brand’s humanity.

Example: Laurel McKenzie of CoachHub discussing how organizations can keep employees engaged: “A Behavioral Scientist’s Antidote to Resenteeism

Why does humanizing your narrative matter? For one, millennials now make up the bulk of B2B decision-makers. These buyers prioritize aligning with companies that reflect their values around purpose, DEI, sustainability and more. Older buyers are increasingly adopting this mindset as well. When all else is equal between you and competitors, that authentic connection can be the deciding factor.

So what defines an authentic, human-centric corporate narrative in 2024? It should embody traits like:

  • Authenticity – Genuine, unpolished stories revealing your personality and core values.
  • Transparency – An open book on company practices, partnerships and even shortcomings.
  • Conscientious – Clearly incorporating social and environmental impact and sharing proof points on prioritizing and elevating diversity within your organization.
  • Community-Focused – Positioning your company as an active local/global citizen.
  • Risk-Aware – Effective policies and clear communication on data use and protection.
  • Adaptability – The flexibility to respond in real time to current events.
  • Consistency – A unified narrative across all channels and human interactions.
  • Conversational – Using accessible language that speaks to people, not businesses.

Example: Ivori Johnson of ChartHop quoted on the struggles DE&I leaders face in an enterprise: “DEI leaders are burning out from diversity fatigue: Here’s how to survive

Putting this into practice means creatively integrating SME voices and perspectives across your content and communications. CHRO thought leadership on work culture, DEI leader bylines on equitable hiring practices, ESG specialist commentary on your sustainability roadmap — all of these can bring more authenticity to your narrative.

The corporate narrative is evolving, with SMEs taking center stage to reveal the human side of your brand. By embracing transparency and elevating diverse voices, you can craft a narrative that breaks through and earns the trust of today’s discerning buyers.

Newsjacking: How To Stay Relevant Amongst Your Competitors

Avoiding the news is nearly impossible in today’s always-on world. However, for PR professionals, staying on top of the news is key to understanding what’s happening in the world and finding opportunities for SaaS clients to share their perspectives on timely topics via newsjacking. But, have you ever thought about using the same strategy with your competitors’ news? 

By monitoring your competitor’s social media, blog posts and other channels, you can proactively look for upcoming announcements, allowing you to offer your thought leaders’ reactions, secure coverage and further solidify your company as an industry leader. 

Here are three tips on how you can use competitor newsjacking to your advantage.

1. Consistent Competitor Monitoring.

You aren’t the only one making announcements, especially in the SaaS space. From product launches to acquisitions to new hires, the announcements for a SaaS company can be frequent. Don’t miss out on the news. Similar to how you monitor who mentions you or your company, you should do the same for competitors. 

Some easy ways to do this include:

  • Set up Google Alerts for your top competitors. 
  • Follow/monitor their active social media channels. 
  • Check to see if they have a newsroom or pressroom on their website. Consider bookmarking this page to keep an eye out for future announcements. 

By following the tactics above, you can stay on top of your SaaS competitors, allowing you to take swift action should an opportunity arise for you to provide your perspective and news jack their announcement.

2. Have a Plan.

While some companies have a regular announcement cadence, you will often not have advance warning of a competitor’s news release. Competitive newsjacking requires speed, so what should you do? 

Have a plan in place! Whether there is an announcement or not, work with your team ahead of time to understand who will lead the effort, what the responsibilities of all individuals involved are and gain buy-in from thought leaders you plan to leverage. 

Having a strategy is crucial because of 24-hour news cycles; you’ll want to get in front of reporters immediately to successfully news jack the story. Once the news drops, work with your team to quickly develop a statement or perspective that can be sent out to reporters covering the news.

3. Speak with your CEO.

Sometimes, your CEO will hear rumblings within the industry that help them know an announcement is coming from one of your competitors. However, more often than not, you won’t find out until the day the news is live. In either situation, connect with your CEO to secure their perspective on what it means for existing customers and the impact on the overall marketplace. If you can’t gain this information from the CEO in a timely manner, see if another thought leader within the C-suite can share their thoughts. Remember, for successful newsjacking, timing is everything.

While we often think of newsjacking for timely national news opportunities, the same strategy and mindset can be used to jack your competitors’ news, providing opportunities for your company and thought leaders to further showcase themselves as industry leaders. For advice on keeping up with reactive opportunities, check out “The Reactive PR Playbook for SaaS Brands.”

Getting “On the Air” With Podcasts

While some things come and go, it’s clear that podcasts aren’t going anywhere. With shows as niche as The Pen Addict podcast, “a weekly fix for all things stationery,” to NPR’s Up First, sharing “the news you need to start your day,” there is something for everyone. This year, 42% of Americans ages 12 and older have listened to a podcast in the past month.

Given its rise in popularity and niche nature, podcasts are an important element in a comprehensive SaaS PR plan. Podcasts allow thought leaders to let their expertise shine, honing in on key messages and diving deeper with listeners actively seeking the topic. 

If you think your topic is too niche or there isn’t a podcast for that – think again. Below are several podcasts we’ve secured for our clients over the past few months:

  • Randy Mercer, Chief Product Officer at 1WorldSync, was a featured guest on the Can I Speak to Your Product Manager Podcast, where he shared his tips for generating compelling context utilizing specific use cases for generative AI.
  • Banking Transformed with Jim Marous spoke with SavvyMoney President and CEO JB Orecchia about the convergence of credit education and the state of fintech and banking collaborations. 
  • Amy Brown, co-founder and CEO of Authenticx, was featured on TechCrunch’s Found podcast to discuss mitigating AI biases in healthcare. 
  • The Recruiting Daily Podcast connected with ChartHop Head of People, Talent & DEIB, Ivori Johnson, on how performance reviews can help combat workplace bias.
  • Senior Vice President of Retail Media and Partnerships at Vibenomics, a Mood Media Company, spoke with FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-To-Nuts podcast to discuss the appeal of retail media networks.

If you’re interested in adding podcasts to your SaaS PR strategy, get ahold of Lindsey Groepperan accomplished podcaster herself – and see how BLASTmedia can get you on the air!

SaaS Media Connections with Alex Konrad, Forbes

We’re bringing back our media connections series, and we thought what better way to kick us off than with Alex Konrad, senior editor at Forbes. He’s worked at Forbes for 10 years, covering venture capital, cloud and startups. Additionally, he edits the Midas List, Midas List Europe, Cloud 100 list and 30 Under 30 for VC. You might have also caught him in a Hulu documentary 👀

While Alex covers what some consider a ‘sweet spot’ in SaaS, he can’t cover every startup story. We sat down with him to discuss his PR pet peeves, how he comes up with story ideas, and what topics he’s hot about right now.

How do you choose what you write about? What elements make a company interesting to you?

Alex: One important thing to remember is that a good company does not equal a good story. Sometimes the best stories are because companies are not great, and sometimes great companies don’t have a great story. It’s OK not to have a great story yet, but it can be difficult to force it if nothing is interesting or dramatic. 

As reporters, we’re looking for a compelling narrative that speaks to a bigger lesson, trend or warning. We must think about each company we look at and consider if it embodies something bigger. What is the exciting narrative? That might be a David vs. Goliath story, overcoming the odds as a founder or someone with a surprise second career or a quirky passion. 

A fun story I once wrote was about a midsize tech company at the time called Appian. It’s not the most exciting company in the world, although it did go public, but its CEO is an elite board game designer and has designed and commercialized multiple board games. Every year he goes to the world boardgaming championships. Going with the CEO of a public company to watch him compete and understand his leadership style from his board-game play was the kind of thing any reporter would want to do once. It’s a good example where the story might be more compelling than the business itself.

I noticed crypto and Web3 were common themes in your stories last year. Is that a personal interest, or is that a macro trend that performs well that led to stories written about that?

Alex: Journalists want to write about the hot-button topics of the day because they want to write useful information that people will plausibly read. There are topics that I’d love to spend more time on, but it’s hard to find my angle or justify why people would care about them. 

It is a business. We have a lot of autonomy at Forbes, and in some newsrooms, there is a lot of trust in a reporter, but it’s never a good feeling to spend a lot of time on a story that only a few people care about. At Forbes, we’re not judged by our pageviews, but still, if you create something, you want it to matter. 

With something like crypto, we at Forbes try to follow the money, especially me as the venture capital editor. If that industry has lost its mind about a topic, I need to have a point of view on it, explore it and look where the money is flowing. It’s not necessarily a great thing, but it’s meaningful, and if you’re a founder, or you work in the tech industry, or you want to learn about it, you need to know what that buzzy topic is on some level.

Are there any other tech trends or technologies that you’re personally interested in right now that you think will be a focus in 2023?

Alex: I am looking at AI, where we recently published a feature explaining the field. I wrote a cover story a couple of years ago on UiPath. I’ve written a lot about work software companies like Slack, Notion, Asana and Canva. The future of work is always exciting, and how generative AI could play a significant disruptive player in many of our workflows is compelling. I’ve enjoyed meeting companies that are trying to build on top of these tools. 

Climate is something my team is interested in. There is more appetite from investors to put money into climate startups again. There is a bit of a sense of urgency by some people in the industry that now is the time to work on solutions there, but at the same time, climate companies face a high bar for success: they’re capital intensive, and historically we haven’t had that massive breakout climate tech company. So we might be cautious about not overhyping or over-promising.

I continue to write a lot about representation. We love looking at underrepresented founders doing great things or companies coming from unexpected places. Our 30 under 30 summits have spent the last few years in Detroit, and now it will be in Cleveland. We love at Forbes to try and break out of the bubble of Silicon Valley and New York.

Are there any other hot spots you’re seeing companies come out of that you’re interested in?

Alex: I think Seattle will become more relevant in the future, especially with this passion for AI. They have the Allen Institute and smart folks coming out of the big tech companies. 

I’ve spent a lot of time understanding the European market. I haven’t done all the homework, but all the signals point to Paris being a surprisingly great place for entrepreneurship. I’m open to looking at other areas that are outside the so-called west of Europe and the U.S. as well.

What is the best channel and time to pitch you?

Alex: Emailing me politely during work hours is the best chance of success. I don’t appreciate when people try to gain creativity points by reaching people in unusual methods like my personal social media accounts. I don’t like cold calls because my day is usually chaotic. If I’m getting a call from an unknown number, I’m only answering it because it might be a source on a story, and for it to be a non-super time-sensitive pitch or hail mary pitch is inefficient for me. 

I have a lot of empathy for PR professionals, but there are a lot more PR people than journalists. It’s hard for me to feel we owe a response on every pitch. I can spend a whole day just responding, and I still wouldn’t get to every pitch in my inbox. That said, I try to respond to exclusive offers because I know the person is waiting for my response before going to someone else. I will be very unlikely to respond to something that misrepresents anything. For example, we recently had an exclusive offer sent to my entire team. That’s not going to make us feel good that we all got the same email, so that will put them on the untrustworthy list. 

Otherwise, emailing me a general pitch and sending a follow-up email is reasonable, but I will not have time to respond if I haven’t responded to one follow-up. Unfortunately, sending three more messages doesn’t make anyone happier. 

I know that’s difficult because I know some clients want PR professionals to have a hard answer, but I would encourage my friends in PR to be that go-between for the journalists and the client and feel empowered to speak on behalf of the journalists and say, “It’s a pass from Alex, calling him isn’t going to improve the situation. We should graciously move on.” There have been times when I’ve been hounded to get a hard no, and it’s not helping anyone. The goal for a pitch should not be just to get a hard no.

What are other pitch pet peeves?

Alex: The relationships I value the most with PR professionals are the ones where they can guess how I think and act as a go-between between a client and me on an idea. They can anticipate when something won’t be a good fit or, at most, ask whether I think this will be a fit for someone else on my team. 

One other pet peeve is if I go out of my way to pass on something or explain why something isn’t going to be a fit, an unfortunate number of times the person feels like they’re in the middle of a live conversation with me and can bring up something else. Given asynchronous communication, that is not the case. Now you’ve sent me another email, and you expect another response. What it’s doing is training me not to respond because if I politely pass, you’re going to pitch another client, and it’ll take more time out of my day to help you. 

The last thing I’ll close on is conveying that the best relationships are back and forth. Some folks have brought me great stories in the past or tips, and then it does feel more like a back-and-forth. Other people feel like we’re old friends because they’ve pitched me for years unsuccessfully, and I’ve tried to be polite back, but we’ve never met. They’ve never actually helped my career, so the idea that we’re some partnership is misguided. I’ve helped them by passing or doing whatever to check a box, but no box on my end has ever been checked off. 

That’s something to remember: unless we’re writing a big exciting story, agreeing to meet is not a win for us. What comes out of the meeting can be a win. Just the act of going to a meeting puts us in the red. We’ve invested time in this that we could have used elsewhere, and we need to deliver on that eventually. Earlier in my career, I agreed to a million meetings. I didn’t do a good job of converting those meetings into conversation-starting stories, so now I am more thoughtful about why the meeting would be helpful.

Do you have a list of go-to sources that you reach out to? How did those people build that relationship with you?

Alex: Companies and people who punch above their weight or are willing to give us a perspective that isn’t the known public perspective are ones that I will remember, and I am more likely to trust them generally in the future.

Let’s say we’re looking at AI, and we’re talking to all these huge companies. A small startup says, “You may not want to write about my small AI startup today, but I used to work at Google, and I can tell you pretty confidently the behind-the-scenes of how Google is approaching this.” OK, so maybe you’re a source on Google’s AI perspective, and then as your company gets bigger, I’m more likely to think of you and know you’re legit and potentially cover you down the road. But you have to give me something to trust you when you want something. 

People think that meeting has built a relationship, but the journalists want something to come out of that relationship. My best go-to’s are people who are sources. They tip me on things. I’m writing a story about X. Do they know anyone with inside info about that topic? They’ll say yes or no, honestly. They won’t try to shoehorn a client in. There are a few people in my head, whether VCs, founders or PR professionals, who are good at understanding that flow, so I go to them first.

Are there other things that make a pitch stand out to you?

Alex: I’m looking to be surprised. I’m looking for something contrarian or that teaches me something that will get my attention. Any facts that speak to that compelling, personal story might be interesting to me, or any breadcrumbs that can allow me to think that this speaks to a bigger story. If a pitch was basically like: 

Hey, we’re a climate tech company, and we’re doing this alternative to carbon capture. It’s very early, but we worked at the leading carbon capture startup, and we got disillusioned that it’s not effective. 

Communicating that in some way might interest me because it’s a two-for-one. I can learn what you’re doing, but I’m also interested in why carbon capture is not working. They can punch above their weight. That’s something we look for.

So, a founder’s background is a defining factor?

Alex: It’s helpful if they’re compelling. If they’re not relevant, then you need to try something else. The more companies can be evaluated beyond just how much they’ve raised, who their backers are, and what scale they’re at is going to be important. The reality is few companies will pitch us, hey, you’ve never heard of us, and we have $100M in revenue — and if they do, they’re often 30-year-old private equity-owned companies that will not excite our readers either.

Can you give us an overview of your editorial process?

Alex: It’s very different based on the type of story. If it’s a quicker, exclusive story, I can call the shots on whether or not it makes sense, and then I get approval from my editors. Forbes trusts its reporters a lot to know their beats and understand what’s story-worthy.

Once you get into stories requiring travel or more time, there will be more dialogue between the reporter or several reporters and our editors. John Paczkowski leads our tech team. He used to run the tech and business reporting at BuzzFeed News, and before that, he was at Re/code with Kara Swisher and that whole crew. He’s very smart and plugged in, so as the story gets more ambitious, I’m more likely to be dialoguing with him. We also have a deputy editor under him, Katharine Schwab, who might be editing our stories and who works closely with John. Typically, I tell them I’m planning to write this online story, and I’ll need an edit. And if I’m saying I want to fly to Europe and meet every company in Paris, that would require a much larger conversation!

Do you have a monthly or quarterly story quota?

Alex: We do not have any hard quotas at Forbes. As a best practice, my team aspires to write at least once a week. We want to put points on the board and don’t want any pent-up pressure that we feel we haven’t published in a while. We also want to stay in the conversation with our sources and the topics we care about. 

Publishing a story is the best way to get more people on that topic to reach out to you. That is our goal. It can often not be the case. Leading into the holidays, I got married and went on my honeymoon, and I went two months without publishing a story; this week, I plan to publish three stories. So it can vary. 

Forbes likes to think of itself more on the once-a-week cadence, which is very different from the daily places or multiple times-a-day places. It’s also very different from the New Yorker, where you show up every three months, I assume, with a 30,000-word magnum opus. Our stories never get longer than 3,000 words, so it’s a bit different.

Where do you find the idea for most of your stories? 

Alex: Most of my stories are not pitch driven. Often the pitch-driven stories come from an existing relationship. For example, a VC I’ve met before with an underrepresented background has a new fund. As they talk about their announcement plan with their PR representatives, they say, “I know Alex at Forbes; let’s see if he’s interested.” It’s a warm intro-type situation where I’ll give real feedback. 

It may occasionally be the exclusive offer, or it may be that I come back a year or three months after a meeting and say, “I want to write about this company now.” That’s what happens with the bigger stories. For example, take the cover story I wrote on Flexport. I met with the CEO five years before that. I think I had a catch-up a year before the story that came from an inbound from their agency. A year later, that holiday season, the supply chain was top of mind, and I knew I could reach out to that agency and say the time is right to spend more time with him. They were very helpful in making that happen.

PR and Paywalls: Why Media Publications Gate Content

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Digital paywalls don’t have the best reputation. For many years, publications have offered their digital content to users free of charge, but this is no longer always the case. The change in accessibility comes with a price: only 16% of readers currently pay for a subscription, with others saying they won’t pay because they can find news elsewhere for free. 

But is the perspective that digital news should be freely accessible realistic? If print coverage in a magazine were secured, wouldn’t the expectation be readers first purchase the issue? 

While there are hard stances on both ends of the spectrum, the truth is paywalls are a normal part of media relations that both PR reps and spokespeople in media coverage should understand and expect. 

Paywalls as a Media Trend 

A media paywall, meaning a barrier to access news without payment, can manifest in various ways. Some publications are entirely locked down without a monthly subscription, while other outlets run a freemium model, offering a set amount of viewable articles before requiring payment. 

Paywalls exist because quality journalism costs both time and money. If your go-to source for news doesn’t have a paywall, there’s a chance it will soon: the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism reports 48% of US outlets in 2019 had a paywall, which is ten percentage points higher than in 2017. From this sample, 94% of digital-born outlets still operate on a free model, while regional newspapers adopting subscription models for digital news at higher rates.

Ironically, if you want to learn more about paywalls, you’ll likely have to look behind them. Fortune reported in late 2019 (with a Paywall) how all Condé Nast publications were pivoting their model. But the COVID-19 pandemic, and other natural disasters, caused many media giants to drop their paywalls to provide necessary information to a larger audience, a topic which Adweek reported on (behind a paywall). 

Why Paywalls Make Sense for Media 

The channels from which we receive news have changed. While newspapers, broadcast and magazines were once the pinnacle, digital media has become the standard. This pivot has dramatically affected journalists. Pew Research Center reports newsrooms have shed half of their employees since 2008. This startling statistic proves how sustainability in media is a difficult and complex venture. 

Earlier this year, BLASTmedia spoke with Travis Bernard, Senior Director, Membership at TechCrunch to uncover how the publication incorporated paywalls via Extra Crunch. His perspective is of quality rather than quantity: instead of ramping up advertising, the publication doubled down on a smaller but more engaged audience. The subscription audience includes startup teams, entrepreneurs, founders, investors and others who want Extra Crunch’s content.  Whereas is focused on metrics like unique users and engagement, Extra Crunch offers the publisher new insights around, “layer of conversions, conversion rates, reads by subscribers, and engagement time for subscribers.” 

How Brands Benefit from Gated Coverage 

Media coverage secured on a publication with a paywall is just as important as coverage secured on one without. There are many reasons why media coverage is important, from boosting thought leadership to increasing a website’s Domain Authority, and paywalls don’t negate these. 

Subscribers to gated publications have shown they are committed to the outlet to the point of opening their wallets. Simultaneously, editors with a strong subscriber base can dedicate more time and resources to quality journalism and content. In turn, this means brands that secured coverage on these outlets know they are part of a higher-quality opportunity. 

While paywalls are changing the media landscape, it’s not the end of media relations or opportunities for quality coverage. Now is the time for PR pros to foster stronger relationships with editors to meet the higher expectations available for quality journalism. For guidance on amplifying media opportunities (both gated and not), check out our ebook: Maximizing your media coverage.

3 Ways Employees Can Extend the Life of Media Coverage

Earned media coverage is highly sought after, though it is not always easily obtained. In today’s world, the media cycle is constantly churning at an unbelievable rate, giving many articles relevance for only a short period of time. However, your employees have the potential to be some of your company’s biggest advocates, extending the life of your media coverage far beyond what you could do alone.

When a company is featured, quoted or has a contributed article run in the press, employees should feel a sense of pride and excitement. As you work to foster this excitement, there are a few ways you can encourage your employees to leverage the exposure quickly and effectively. Check out some tips on how you can get the most out of your earned media coverage with the help of your employees:

Encourage employees to share on social media

Companies often make the mistake of overlooking one of their most effective marketing assets: their employees. Encouraging employees to promote media coverage on their social media accounts can broaden the reach of the message and increase brand awareness. 

To do this, it is essential to make it easy for employees to find and share the content. Try including it in the weekly company newsletter, sharing it on the intranet or use existing communication channels like Slack or Microsoft Teams –– to make sure you are reaching all employees. This can also include an example post that makes it easy for employees to copy-and-paste.

Promote the use of coverage as sales collateral

Earned media coverage can also be used in sales conversations. When a member of your sales team is speaking with a potential customer, they can use the coverage as a way to show brand credibility through third-party validation. 

For potential new customers or warm leads, they have already shown interest in your company. When looking for a solution or product, many turn to leading publications in their industries for the latest news and trends. By seeing insight from your thought leaders or the announcement of a new feature, it can solidify your credibility and provide the validation needed to help get them over the finish line to purchase your product.

Publish articles on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s publishing platform allows members to share articles specified to their expertise or interest — just like your thought leaders are doing with media already. Encouraging those thought leaders to share their bylined articles on LinkedIn to extend the life of your coverage by giving it more legs as a new post. Just be sure to credit and link to the original article at either the beginning or end of the piece! 

Companies that are not leveraging their employee networks risk their media coverage being a one-and-done deal. If used properly, you can get additional value from media coverage all while increasing brand awareness and extending your reach through your employee network. If you want to learn more about how to maximize your media coverage, download our ebook, “A Short Guide to Maximizing Your Media Coverage.”

Why Isn’t My Coverage Showing Up in LinkedIn’s “Mentioned in the News”? And Other Commonly Asked Questions

Over three years ago, I wrote a blog about LinkedIn’s “Mentioned in the News” feature. Despite the rapid-changing landscape of social media, it’s still one of our most-read blogs. 

That’s likely because despite the fact that most professionals have seen a “Mentioned in the News” alert either in their inbox or in their newsfeed, very little is known about this feature. In fact, LinkedIn’s own help section dedicates less than 350 words to the subject of how the company generates those alerts about LinkedIn connections in the news

As a SaaS PR agency focused on generating media coverage for our clients, we get a lot of questions about “Mentioned in the News.” Some see two spokespeople in a piece of coverage but only see a “Mentioned in the News” alert for one of them and ask why. Others see some pieces of media coverage, but not others, triggering alerts and want to know what factors played a role. A few even realize the extra visibility it can bring and ask if they can leverage this feature by including spokespeople in various pieces of content. 

To help better answer these questions, we began tracking LinkedIn “Mentioned in the News” alerts in March 2018. Here are a few things we learned:

Wondering Why You Aren’t Seeing Alerts? There’s a Time Lapse

Based on the email alerts generated, the time between when an article or press release goes live on the web and when LinkedIn “Mentioned in the News” triggers is typically 24 hours or less, but there is always a lag. In some cases, we saw longer spans of time between a publish date and an alert being issued, anywhere from 4 to 25 days. 

What does this mean for you? Don’t expect to see a “Mentioned In the News” alert for a contact the moment a press release with their name in it goes live. However, if you don’t see something within 24 hours, it’s unlikely you will at all. This brings me to my next point:

Wondering Why Someone Else Got an Alert, but You Didn’t? All Contacts Won’t All Get Alerts

Even contacts with the LinkedIn “Mentioned in the News Feature” turned on, will not necessarily get emails about when you’re mentioned in the news. (Not sure if the feature is turned on for your profile, here’s how to manage “Mentioned in the News” settings.) 

In comparing “Mentioned in the News” alerts received across our SaaS PR agency, we expected to see a lot of duplicate alerts. After all, between clients and media contacts there are a lot of mutual connections shared. (A quick review of three profiles showed the percent of overlapping connections shared between myself and others at BLAST to be around 20%.) However, that simply wasn’t the case. We did not consistently see duplicate alerts. In fact, we saw multiple instances where only one person received an alert, despite multiple people having that connection. 

The takeaway here? If you — or someone else, like your boss — is mentioned in the news don’t expect all 500+ contacts to get a notification — even if every one of those connections is signed up to get alerts.  

Wondering Why A Media Mention Isn’t Showing as an Alert? LinkedIn Only Scrapes Some Publications 

The biggest “Mentioned in the News” question weighing on my brain: Why do mentions in some media outlets show up when others don’t?

BLASTmedia secured over 2.8k pieces of media coverage in 2019 (that’s roughly one piece of coverage for every working hour). Over 20% of these articles and press release pick-ups included quotes from the company thought leaders, many of whom our team is connected to on LinkedIn. You’d likely expect us to see a lot of “Mentioned in the News” alerts. The truth: Most of those articles never show up via this LinkedIn feature. I reached out to LinkedIn to inquire why.

According to Suzi Owens, director of corporate communications and marketing at LinkedIn, the social platform’s “algorithm draws from trusted online news outlets that [match] names in these articles to LinkedIn members or organizations.” 

Owens didn’t provide a list of criteria or publications, but based on our research over the last 22 months, here are outlets and wire services that make the cut:

  1. Arkansas Business 
  3. Charleston City Paper 
  4. CMS Wire (Simpler Media Group)
  5. Forbes 
  6. Global Banking and Finance Review (GBAF Publications Ltd)
  7. (Minor League Baseball)
  8. Business Insider
  9. Mashable
  10. Newsweek
  11. Talking Biz News
  12. (Lakewood Media Group, LLC)
  13. USA TODAY (Gannett Co., Inc) 
  14. The Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones Publications)
  15. Transport Topics
  16. BusinessWire (paid wire service)
  17. PR Newswire (paid wire service)

Much like Google’s algorithm, which the search giant intentionally shrouds in at least some degree of mystery to prevent people from trying to game the system, I doubt we’ll ever have a full picture of what it takes for an article to be flagged for “Mentioned in the News.” However, that doesn’t make the tool any less valuable. In fact, as media outlets struggle for visibility and social media combats fake news, LinkedIn’s “Mentioned in the News” feature might be more relevant than ever.

What questions do you have about LinkedIn’s “Mentioned in the News” feature? Join the conversation on our LinkedIn page.

How Media Coverage Can Help You Get Acquired by Google

It’s no secret that many SaaS brands have ultimate aspirations to be acquired by Google. Luckily for them, over the past two decades Google and Alphabet have spent billions of dollars on purchasing new products and ideas, growing their products, talent and customer base through acquisition.

So, how does a company get acquired by a company like Google? Media coverage can help create the visibility and credibility necessary to get on an investor’s radar. 

Here’s how it happened for our client Velostrata:    

Before PR was a Priority

Before Velostrata began working with our PR agency, the cloud migration startup had a relatively low volume of media coverage. To generate visibility, they relied largely on paid content placements and event sponsorships. While Velostrata was known in the space, companies like 2nd Watch (backed by big brands like Amazon Web Service), dominated the conversation surrounding cloud migration.

Building a Foundation with Media Outreach

BLASTmedia began working with Velostrata to secure media coverage. The goal was to increase awareness and provide third-party validation that they could leverage with stakeholders and potential investors. 

We were able to secure top-tier coverage and briefings with target analyst firms by utilizing Velostrata-owned data and pitching commentary around trending industry topics. This allowed us to build relationships with outlets like TechRepublic, ChannelPartnersOnline and Silicon Angle, resulting in feature stories.

Key pieces of coverage, including CEO profiles and thought-leadership content, helped build the foundation for two key partnership announcements. Velostrata announced a channel partnership with RISC Networks and a cloud partnership with Google Cloud Platform. 

Leveraging Partnership Announcements

Velostrata positioned themselves within the marketplace by leveraging partnerships through announcements. While partnerships provide value on their own, Velostrata got their brand in front of the right people through strong PR support. By using the news of both partnerships to increase visibility, we were able to secure even more pieces of coverage for the company. Articles included a feature in CRN, interviews with DZone, and news of the partnership in CIO Dive.

Aspirations Realized: Acquired by Google

Following the Google Cloud Platform partnership announcement which drove more than 150 sessions on, Google announced plans to acquire the company. The culmination of quality media coverage, elevation of thought leaders, and targeted briefings with analysts helped position Velostrata for a successful exit and acquisition by one of the world’s largest internet companies.