Sometimes I get so tied up talking technology, I forget that managed service providers also like to talk about business basics -- including public relations (PR) strategies. That was the case last week, when MSPs started asking me for some basic PR and social networking techniques during the Ingram Micro Seismic Partner Conference in Dallas. Here are the PR recommendations I shared.

First, the basics. Each month, generate one simple press release -- no more than three to four paragraphs in length. Not sure what to write? Here are some topics worth "announcement" to local media and the IT media:
  • New hires: Who have you recruited into the company and why. Are these newly created positions?
  • New customer wins, new vertical market wins.
  • New service launches.
  • New certifications earned -- but be sure to promote your own brand ahead of the vendors' brands.
  • Recent business expansions, including new offices, new territories, etc.
  • New partnerships with peer solutions providers and IT vendors.
  • Anything and everything that promotes your company message.
Make sure you have a media center (companyname.com/pr) on your web site, where all PR materials are housed. And don't use PDFs. I could be wrong, but I believe Google will index your PR content much more effectively if the PR announcements are written in HTML pages rather than (or in addition to ) PDF downloads.

Where Social Media Comes In

Over and over again, I warn MSPs not to launch corporate blogs. The reason: Most of the blogs turn into content graveyards because MSPs don't have time to update the sites.

But I'd like to amend my advice ever-so-slightly. You should launch a blog -- using WordPress.com, Blogger.com or another freely available tool. Use the blog to post your press releases -- in their entirety -- each time you make an announcement, and link the releases back to your corporate home page or media page. You'll raise your SEO (search engine optimization) dramatically, assuming you include the appropriate tags in each blog submission.

You can also use free videos to dramatically improve your company's SEO. As I've recommended before, get IT vendors to pick up the bill for the videos. And insist that the vendors post the videos on YouTube using key tags and search terms that you demand (examples: Your company name, your CEO's name, your target markets, etc.). If the videos remain "locked" or "cemented" to a vendor's web site, their SEO will suffer.

Not sure where to start? Check in with masterIT, an MSP that has mastered free video publicity.

I've got a million other ideas. But the fastest way for PR newcomers to get started is to pick up the book The New Rules of Marketing and PR. I read it about two years ago, and the SEO rules within still apply. Here's an interview with the book's author, David Meerman Scott.

Good luck promoting your messages -- and your brand.

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