When companies look to reach federal or local government end-users, they’re often intimidated by the daunting approval process. While there are many hurdles to obtaining this goal, one approach to get your name in front of government decision makers is to launch a concerted PR effort targeting this unique group. As with the private sector, the government has industry vertical publications that cater to particular disciplines. For example, one of the leading publications for the technology sector is Government Computer News (GCN), which covers a wide range of IT and infrastructure issues and how they affect government agencies.
Over the last several years, we have helped clients with outreach to government agencies for a variety of projects and have developed some helpful PR tips out of these efforts.
Leverage government initiatives or mandates
One of the fastest ways to penetrate the public sector is to review some of the mandates that have been placed on various agencies and establish whether your products or services can help them achieve its goals. For example, despite a pull back at the federal level, many states and city governments are renewing their call for energy efficiency measures and forging ahead on their own.
In addition to working with publications to generate news based on your press releases, thought leadership bylines are a great way to teach decision makers at government agencies about how they can successfully meet their goals while setting your company up as an expert in the field. Not only does this give you a platform and excellent exposure, it carries the additional credibility that can only be found in earned media. You can find an example of our recent work here.
Research Government Verticals
There are a range of vertical publications that cater to various disciplines within the government. From technology (Government Computer News) to management and operations (Government Executive) and others, these publications reach the audience that you’re likely interested in. If you’re intent on building your government practice or just trying to break in for the first time, it pays to do your homework (which your PR firm will gladly help with):
- Research which publications are a good fit for your business
- Develop relationships with reporters at these outlets
- Craft press announcements using appropriate talking points and language for the different sectors they cover
While there are many benefits to focusing on decision makers at the Federal level, you should not dismiss the importance of state and local government. As you drill down at the local level, you’ll find a range of publications that cater to that unique audience as well. Whether you’re trying to reach schools, municipal agencies, or a state government itself, there are publications that focus on these specific groups that your target audience pays attention to.
Case studies are a key component to a successful public relations campaign. Being able to discuss work that your company has done proves that you’re the ‘real deal’ and can back your claims with results. Given the process that government entities have to go through to bring on a vendor, being able to publicize substantive results from a prior engagement will go a long way as you try and gain acceptance. Additionally, the availability of those same case studies make it more likely that a reporter will take your company seriously. Although it helps to have shown prior work with the government, using a case study from a private sector client that proves you can solve related problems will be of great benefit as well.
While many components go into selling to the public sector, a comprehensive PR campaign is a good way to get your name in front of potential customers and have name recognition when it becomes time for your offerings to penetrate that market.
If you would like learn more about how Milldam PR can help your company in this area or others, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adam Waitkunas authors the column “Anecdotally Adam” and is President of Milldam Public Relations.