3 Lessons From Product-Led Growth PR Done Right

product-led growth PR

Product-led growth or “PLG” is on the rise. If you look around the SaaS world, there are plenty of great examples of PLG companies — Slack, Calendly, Dropbox and Airtable. When you look at the traits of successful PLG companies, you can glean a few lessons for your product-led growth PR strategy

First, a quick refresh on product-led growth. A PLG company is all about individual user adoption turning into paying customers. The focus is on the end user rather than traditional buyers, like a company executive. With that in mind, here are three lessons we can learn from product-led growth PR done right. 

  1. Cater to the end user

A PLG strategy is focused on the end user and this should be reflected in your PR strategy. If it’s the end users telling their bosses which software to buy, you want to ensure you are speaking to them. This should show up in the way press releases are written and the type of coverage you secure. 

Let’s start with press releases. At last year’s Dreamforce, Slack unveiled its latest product innovations. If you do a quick skim of their announcement, you’ll see the messaging is focused on the benefits to the end user. They speak to how “clips” will help teams and how “Slack Connect” will help you collaborate. A press release should zero in on what benefits the end user will get from your new product.

There are a couple types of coverage you can pursue to ensure you are catering to the end user: product-focused coverage and customer stories. If you have a product that creates true value for the everyday human, you want media coverage that highlights it. Dropbox did this with a feature in TechRadar on the release of its password manager. Highlighting customer stories is another way to cater to the end user. By securing coverage of a customer story, you can showcase the value of your product through someone who has personally felt it.

  1. Make life easier

Not only do you want to cater to the end user, but you also want to make life better for them. One way successful PLG companies do this is through thought leadership. Thought leaders from leading PLG companies share their expertise on industry trends and best practices. For example, Calendly’s Chief Product Officer contributed to a Computerworld article on how to hold better, shorter meetings. Dropbox’s CEO shared the lessons he’s learned from leading a “virtual first” workforce with MIT. With their thought leadership efforts, PLG companies associate their name with industry expertise that makes life easier for their target audience. So answer the questions people are asking and help them solve their problems.

  1. Leverage data for virality

A common trait of a PLG company is virality. One path to virality is through media relations. How do you go viral if you’re a SaaS company? Data of course! Leveraging platform data, surveys, or publicly available data for media relations is a great way to drum up some buzz.

Take our client Chorus.ai as an example. When the pandemic hit, they began collecting anonymized data from their platform. We leveraged that data and earned a feature in Insider as well as several other interviews and pieces of contributed content. Surveys are another great approach. Slack has done this really well, conducting a quarterly Future Forum Pulse survey. This has landed them coverage in publications such as Fortune, WIRED, Tech Republic, ZDNet and more. 

Catering your press releases to the end user, putting out helpful thought leadership, or sharing data to go viral are just a few of the lessons we can learn from the PR strategies of successful PLG companies. 

If you want to know how to implement one of these lessons into your PR strategy, contact Lindsey Groepper to see how BLASTmedia can help. 

PR to Reach a Product Led Growth and Developer Audience

Product-led growth (PLG) models have exploded into the SaaS industry, with tech brands like Slack, Airtable and Calendly becoming critical components of our new hybrid working environment. Defined by Openview Partners, who coined the term, PLG is an end user-focused growth model that relies on the product itself as the primary driver of customer acquisition, conversion and expansion. It’s no surprise, then, that PLG brands make up over half of the companies on the 2021 Cloud 100 list.

Developers are the backbone of this model, as these pros build, ship out and improve upon the platforms we use every day. As a marketer or PR professional, if you’re looking to reach developers, you’ll need to keep PLG’s tenets in mind to convince and convert this savvy (and skeptical!) audience. 

Skip the buzzwords and go straight to the results 

Software developers are experts. They’re deep into the complexities of their own software and will undoubtedly be aware of the challenges and opportunities available to others in their field. 

If marketers are building external copy for a dev audience, take a red pen to any mention of buzzwords like world’s first, unprecedented, life-changing, or new paradigm. We’ve all seen late-night infomercials make outrageous promises. The importance of avoiding this dials up to a ten for developers. 


Instead, author Adam DuVander told TechCrunch how successful messaging to developers includes, “clear documentation, help getting started and use cases to spark creativity.” The quicker we are to the point, the faster devs will dive in and tinker. 

This means one of the common aspects of PR strategies today, contributed thought-leader content, might not be the best approach to getting in front of your developer audience. These types of pieces might be too wordy or read as promotional. 


But I’m not saying devs don’t want to hear your thought leader’s perspective. We need to reevaluate where the messaging is going. 

Involve yourself in the (real) community 

Look beyond the go-to channels to find your dev audience.

Press release wires have their own value, but issuing through PRNewswire and sharing a post on LinkedIn isn’t going to be enough to drive engagement. We’re not talking about underground, Matrix-style hubs, but whether on Twitter, in subreddits, Stack Overflow or DZone communities and Discord channels, you’ve got to dig deep into these communities to understand the day-to-day. This is where you should start having conversations. 


And, once you’ve found your niche, your SME’s own voice won’t be enough to check the box. To alleviate any concerns about messaging being overly promotional, put your own customer use cases front and center and have them speak candidly.

This could look like coordinating a webinar where your core buyer sees and hears their problems unfold from the experience of another. You could also tap your customers for media opportunities where they talk about the best practices and tools, like your own tech, that help them do great work. Do this time and time again, though, as your dev audience is going to need proof.

Take the feedback in stride


If you’re a PLG company trying to reach developers, you already recognize the value of feedback on the path to improvement. But, it’s easy to forget this mindset if your team gets negative feedback. Celebrate that as a win too.

Be mindful of what worked and what didn’t: Was the use case clear, or did we offer value? Are we engaging in the right channel? Do we have a community of partners who can help us educate and amplify the initiative? 

And, like a developer does, it’s time to move forward and improve. 
Want to know how BLASTmedia can help you determine your product-led growth PR strategy? Contact Lindsey Groepper for more details!

When To Offer an Exclusive on Funding News, and How It Impacts PR Results

Back in 2019, we wrote about when to offer an exclusive on funding news, but since then a lot has changed. According to Crunchbase data, global venture funding hit an all-time high of $125B in Q1 2021, with late-stage funding deals taking the lion’s share of that pie. Due to the rapid increase in digital transformation efforts brought on by the global pandemic, technology adoption is on the rise, as are venture capital investments in technology startups from early stage onward.

So, it stands to reason that we’re doing more funding announcements than ever before, which got me thinking about which strategy — exclusive or broad embargo pitching — could consistently yield the “best” results for SaaS companies. For the purposes of this article, I’ll use “exclusive” in reference to offering a single reporter the opportunity to cover your news, and “embargo pitching” in reference to pitching several reporters the news under embargo before the announcement date.

Continue reading “When To Offer an Exclusive on Funding News, and How It Impacts PR Results”

2021 SaaS PR Predictions

This time each year we work with our clients to put together predictions for the year ahead, and for the past few years we’ve been taking our own advice and creating SaaS PR predictions of our own. 

Looking back on a year that, to put it gently, went completely off track, I was surprised to see many of our predictions for 2020 panned out (on the PR front). This year, we saw fewer SaaS marketing execs using share of voice as their standalone metric to measure the success of PR. We also saw a much closer integration between our clients and their customers — so much so that we now offer to interview and write customer stories on behalf of our clients.

When I sat down to think about 2021, a few things immediately came to mind. Yes, some of those things are related to the pandemic and how it impacted the way we do work, but other trends were well underway beforehand.

Paywalled journalism means we must adapt 

It’s happened to all of us — you see an interesting story shared on Twitter and click to learn more only to be hit with a paywall. While it can be frustrating, paywalls actually make a lot of sense. Think about it: you pay for Hulu with no ads, you pay to join Dave Gerhardt’s Patreon marketing group, you even pay for access to workouts on Peloton — why wouldn’t you pay for unlimited access to news content created specifically for your interests? 

As talented journalists continue to fall victim to shrinking newsrooms, they’re increasingly turning to platforms like Substack to grow followings of their own. Most recently startup reporter Eric Newcomer left Bloomberg to start Newcomer, a subscription newsletter about startups and venture capital. Earlier in the year tech journalist Casey Newton left The Verge to start Platformer, and before that Fortune’s Polina Marinova Pompliano left to build The Profile. I anticipate many more will follow suit. 

Earlier in the year, I sent a few questions on paywalls to Travis Bernard at TechCrunch. He launched TechCrunch’s subscription platform ExtraCrunch just a year earlier. His newsroom faced a choice: broaden coverage to drive up advertising impressions and therefore dollars, or double down on a smaller, more engaged audience willing to pay. They chose the latter. 

So, what does this mean for those of us in SaaS PR? Get creative about what you consider an “outlet.” It no longer needs to be TechCrunch or Forbes to count as meaningful coverage for your brand. Encourage your client/boss to look past vanity metrics like unique monthly visitors. As journalists are building their audiences, these metrics may or may not be available. 

Build relationships with emerging publications (including podcasts), and get comfortable with explaining the value of coverage behind a paywall to your client. Sure, there are challenges (namely, sharing on social) but the inherent value is the already engaged, paying audience. And, ask your CFO for more room in the 2021 budget for news subscriptions. 

Speaking slots will become even more difficult to secure 

Now that Neil Patel, Jay Baer and Seth Godin can speak at 10 conferences in a matter of days — what’s left for the rest of us? I am halfway kidding but, if you think securing speaking slots isn’t going to get a lot more difficult in 2021, you should reassess your goals. 

  • Exhibit A) Many events well into 2021 are still going to be canceled, creating fewer overall opportunities.
  • Exhibit B) For virtual events, travel, and its associated costs, are eliminated. This means we’ll see the most well-respected speakers speaking more often.

Those two items lead to a lack of opportunity for anyone not already an established keynote. My advice? Keep your events/speaking team focused on small, local or industry-specific events to build your reel until events and speaking slots become more widely available, hopefully in 2022. 

Audiences wise up to newswires — kind of

For better or for worse, 2021 is not the year the newswire dies. In simple terms, newswires have value because we believe they have value. So, until your CEO stops forwarding you Google Alerts he has set for competitors’ press releases with the “why aren’t we getting this type of press” note attached, newswires are a necessary means to a “make the CEO happy” end. 

In 2021, marketing and comms leads will start considering the broad spectrum of places outside of a wire we can place releases. A company blog or, if you have some extra budget, a paid posting in a trade publication are valid options to consider, and can often have the same impact as a newswire posting (minus the syndications). 

While wires themselves are likely to remain a piece of your PR puzzle in 2021, I think most SaaS PR people will no longer find value in the “outreach” efforts offered by wire services. The claims they send your press release “directly to the newsrooms of all the top media publications,” while technically true are completely useless. And, candidly, in eight years of doing media relations, I have never seen a single organic story run as a result of this type of distribution.

Deskside meetings are *finally* put to bed 

This is one area of PR that has certainly been impacted by the coronavirus, and I think for the better. Speaking specifically within the realm of SaaS PR — desksides are no longer an impactful way to communicate with journalists. Now that desks themselves (at least the kind in large office buildings) are few and far between, deskside meetings have become a relic of our PR past. 

As we’ve learned over the past year, we can be just as impactful and collaborative without being in person. Instead of forcing a press tour to work because they’re what you’re used to, set availability for your executive or spokesperson over the course of a week. Slot in interviews as they make sense for availability and interest on both sides, and if the meeting requires a product delivery, send it ahead of time. Make sure to get updated contact information for the journalists, though, since they’re likely not in an office. (PS — phone etiquette changes when it’s a cell phone you’re calling. Proceed with extreme caution.) 

I think I speak for all of us when I say we’re looking forward to putting 2020 behind us. But, for a year that turned out to be quite challenging, it sure did teach us a lot — especially when it comes to communication. 

Never has it been more important to put time and effort into what you’re saying, who you’re talking to, and why you’re saying it. From communication to your employees on a shift to working from home to communicating to the world what you stand for, putting thought behind your words is never going out of style. 

What do you predict 2021 will hold for SaaS PR? Share with us on LinkedIn or Twitter

The Holiday Rush: How Supply Chain Is Adjusting

Year after year, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and the rush of seasonal purchases leave the supply chain industry with little room to budge. Now, in the COVID-19 pandemic, with online shopping predicted to increase 33%, trucking companies and their fleets are feeling fatigued. 

The pandemic and the surge in remote work it generated have made online shopping the preferred method of spreading holiday cheer. Behind the scenes, inventory imbalance, city-wide gridlock and the holiday peak season are collectively causing delayed shipments and irritable recipients. Coyote Logistics, a leading global 3PL combining a centralized marketplace with freight and supply chain solutions — and a BLASTmedia client — recently shared how the industry is shaping up this season with a number of supply chain trade and national business publications. 

Peak Season

The supply chain industry has been anticipating and preparing for the holiday peak season since the pandemic began. As Coyote Logistics’ Head of Europe, Jaap Bruining, shared with Supply Chain Digital, each portion of the supply chain has had to rely on data analytics to gain visibility and better mitigate anticipated disruption, including heightened online orders. Simultaneously, suppliers need to be prepared to think on their feet and “proactively develop relationships with alternative manufacturers, allowing [them] to shift operations more quickly in response to disruption.” Analytics and quick thinking will benefit suppliers and their counterparts when tackling the holiday season.

Inventory Imbalance

Although it seems FedEx, UPS and the postal service are out to ruin the holiday cheer with late packages, a different culprit is at work. As Chief Network Solutions Officer, Nick Shroeger, shared with Supply Chain Brain, companies are experiencing inventory imbalance, meaning inventory levels aren’t matching consumer demand. According to Shroeger, this results in mass “unpredictability of where products and inventory are going to be.” For example, a consumer may see an iPhone 12 in their virtual cart, but Apple relies on more than one supplier to produce the mechanisms that constitute the mobile device. If one supplier has limited stock, this year’s hot ticket item may become limited, at no fault of Apple’s.

Gridlock

On the big screen, Hollywood portrays the American truck driver spending their day slurping slushies and avoiding tumbleweeds as they drive thousands of miles cross-country. Hollywood aside, drivers tend to spend a portion of their government-regulated hours of service sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. And while it seems simple to change pickup and delivery patterns to relieve congestion, Shroeger admits an alliance would need to be formed among the larger trucking companies. In a piece for Chicago Business, he touched on the transparency the alliance would need to possess, stating that “companies won’t change unless they believe it will create value for them.” Value aside, an alliance would take years of cooperation and collaboration, leaving drivers stuck this holiday season.

While not every company has the pandemic-filled holiday season figured out, fleets and their carriers keep wading through the unknown. Every day, drivers strive to deliver goods on time so perfectly hand-picked holiday presents can sit wrapped in paper and tinsel below the tree.

Do you have a perspective you’d like to share on the logistics field? Reach out to Lindsey Groepper to find out how BLASTmedia can help you join the conversation.

The 5 Tech Media Outlets That Took Off in 2020

2020 has changed a lot about how we work and live, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the benefit of media coverage. Yes, any B2B SaaS brand wants mentions in tech media outlets to build brand awareness. This year, we’ve seen the need even more. According to Gartner’s CMO spend survey, CMOs rank brand strategy as a top-three strategic priority for marketing. 

If you are a B2B SaaS brand looking for the publications to be in, you’re in luck. We compiled a list of five tech media outlets that really took off in 2020. Read on to see which ones might be a fit to reach your target audience. 

1. The Morning Brew

The Morning Brew might not be all about tech (sadly not all about coffee either), but they are a fast-rising media company with newsletters and podcasts. Business Insider’s parent company, Insider Inc., bought a majority stake in the company back in October, with a reported $75 million valuation. 

Its products include a daily email with 2.5 million readers, three industry-specific newsletters (emerging tech, retail, and marketing) read by 500,000 subscribers, and a podcast with 6 million downloads. With these various channels, The Morning Brew is a unique way to get in front of your audience. 

2. The Markup 

This nonprofit newsroom started in 2018 with the goal of serving the public. They investigate how powerful institutions are using technology to change our society (i.e. Big Tech). 2020 has given them a lot to focus on, with The Social Dilemma putting the spotlight on social networks and anti-trust lawsuits for the big names in tech. I expect them to continue growing in 2021 and beyond. 

3. Medium’s Publications

2020 is a year marked by change. Medium is a big change from your traditional media. It publishes its own publications, allows outside writers to publish on its site, and syndicates content from bigger publications. Nonetheless, it has a massive reach that brands want to be a part of. Some of the publications under the Medium umbrella you need to check out are Towards Data Science, OneZero and Marker.

4. The Information 

The Information’s goal is to write deeply reported articles about the technology industry that you won’t find elsewhere. It must be doing something right, as countless big-name publications follow its stories.  The site covers the inside secrets of big tech companies as well the details of VC transactions. In 2020, its writers have also written great articles on diversity in tech. 

5. Crunchbase

You might be thinking Crunchbase doesn’t fit this list because it’s not a media outlet. While it is a great source for all the details you want on various companies, its blog is why I added it here. 

The Crunchbase blog features thought leadership articles from execs across industries. A great section to check out is their Q&As with female founders. If you’re looking to place contributed content, this is a great place to start. 

As you can see, the media landscape is constantly changing. Don’t be afraid to go after an email newsletter, podcast or company blog for media coverage. If you want to know how to get in these tech media outlets, reach out to Lindsey Groepper.

Communicating During Crisis: SaaS PR Guidance During the Pandemic

As a SaaS marketer, if you feel like you’re walking a tightrope between sensitivity and doing business, you’re not alone. With the rapid spread of COVID-19, marketers are scrambling to assess how to move forward when so many aspects of everyday life are screeching to a halt.

Navigating how to communicate with current and potential customers and other stakeholders who are key to SaaS businesses can be especially challenging when all anyone seems to be thinking about is the pandemic unfolding. It’s in your inbox, in the news, on social media and according to Muck Rack, “more than 2.6 million articles have been written about coronavirus since the beginning of the year (this figure *doubled* over the past week).” 

With so much information swirling around this topic, it can be hard to know what to do from a media relations perspective. Comment on something unrelated and risk seeming oblivious? Stay silent and risk stalling your company’s efforts in an already unstable market? Comment on the situation and risk sounding tone-deaf? (It’s definitely happening. In the same article referenced above, MuckRack shares  “very cringeworthy (and inappropriate)” coronavirus-related PR pitches received by journalists).  

PR Guidance During the Coronavirus Pandemic  

At BLASTmedia, we’re here to help our clients navigate media conversations, even during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are a few guidelines our team recommends during this complex time:

  1. Be mindful of your email subject line.
    Just as you wouldn’t want to be deceived into clicking into an article purporting to contain crucial information about the virus, journalists don’t want to be tricked into opening your pitch because it contains a certain keyword. So, avoid including “COVID-19” or “coronavirus” in the subject line of your pitch. Global pandemics are not newsjacking opportunities. Journalists, like the rest of us, are tracking critical information about the facts of the pandemic, so emails to them shouldn’t be open to interpretation as public health information.

  2. Think beyond stories about your company’s remote-work policy or how your software can help employees work from home. 
    If your organization is working remotely right now — thank you. Allowing your employees to work from their homes when possible is a step in helping stop the spread of the virus. You should be communicating your company’s status and plans to your employees, customers and partners who may be wondering about service interruptions or changes. But, your internal practices — allowing employees to work remotely, the tech you’re using to do so, etc. — aren’t of concern to the media during this time when information is at a premium. Thought leadership on how your tech can help remote workers is also tone-deaf to the severity of the pandemic.

  3. Engage with journalists who are proactively looking for stories.
    The best opportunities for media coverage during this sensitive, sometimes scary time, are inbound requests from journalists. These can come about through conversations with media with which we have relationships, services like HARO and QWOTED or public calls for sources on social media. If a journalist is writing a story to which you can add value, by all means, give them your thoughts. As always, keep comments non-promotional and actionable.

  4. Continue connecting with trade press on product news and thought leadership.
    Trade publications keep industry members abreast of new developments. Unlike national press, many of whom are occupied with coronavirus-related stories, members of the trade media are still seeking out industry-related stories, including company news and thought leadership specific to a given vertical.

  5. Assess the intent of any related offer.
    There are plenty of examples of businesses doing what they can to help customers, employees and communities navigate these uncertain times (Zoom offering free video conferencing to schools, AT&T suspending broadband data caps). If your company wants to offer help — that’s great — but your goal in doing so shouldn’t be to generate press coverage with that offering or gain those individuals/organizations as paying customers in the future. Be critical of any special offerings and the intent behind those, before moving forward.

  6. Seek out the perception of others familiar with your brand.
    This is the time to ask for a second — or even third — opinion about what you plan to communicate and how you plan to communicate it. Ask your PR team and people internally their thoughts on the tone of news and messaging — more brains make for fewer gaffes. If you’re considering doing something to help those impacted, be critical of your offering and be realistic about the time it will take to ramp on the solution. Is it worth it to the people you are trying to help?

The bottom line: this is an uncertain time for everyone on the planet, so situational awareness and sensitivity should be top of mind for external communications. While a sensitive market doesn’t demand silence, you have to be exceptionally intentional with what you say and how you message it. Every software business is trying to navigate communications in this new normal, so consult experts, assess strategies daily and review communications with a critical eye.

What is HARO?

Ever wonder how reporters seem to always have an expert they can cite for a story? Whether it’s a quote from a Fortune 500 CEO, a cardiologist, a Tesla owner or someone that collects keychains, reporters seem to always have a source for their stories.

Is it possible that reporters maintain a network large enough to have a subject matter expert on tap for every possible article or broadcast segment? Maintaining a healthy network is certainly vital to a reporter’s job, but, like every industry, software exists to help make a reporter’s job easier. One of those tools is “HARO.”

Continue reading “What is HARO?”

Taking a Strong Stance: How Marc Benioff Got Press Attention by Being Bold

Have you ever stopped to think about how Salesforce became the media magnet it is today? Let’s face it: software isn’t necessarily the sexiest thing out there, and SaaS brands have to work to get noticed in today’s booming tech landscape. As the driving force behind the company, Marc Benioff stepped out on the ledge with bold statements to get his SaaS brand noticed from the get-go. Continue reading “Taking a Strong Stance: How Marc Benioff Got Press Attention by Being Bold”