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The Practitioner Marketer’s Playbook: PR or Practitioner

February 22, 2018 - Practitioner Marketing -
By: Yolanda Fintschenko

Building a brand requires a strategy that includes a combination of PR and content marketing. Practitioner content marketing is a powerful way to establish your brand through thought leadership, education, and product-specific content. It requires experts with domain expertise from outside your company who exert influence through their knowledge. However, there are some stories best told via journalists. Enter public relations.

When to use PR

Public relations (PR) is most useful when you have news that is of more general interest. This can be news about your company that is of interest to your industry, to investors, or even your local community. Press releases to trade media outlets can be useful for new product launches or to announce new initiatives that may be intriguing to the industry as a whole.

If your news item can be connected to a larger topic or trend, that is even better. You may be able to position your company as a journalist’s source for a piece that has broad interest. This will establish your company as a thought leader inside and outside your industry.

When to use practitioner content marketing

Practitioner content marketing is more useful if you need to speak specifically to your customer. Maybe they were alerted to your company by a press release. However, with skeptical technical audiences, that alone is not enough to spark anything but passing interest. Yet, if your website is rich with practitioner content, you can convert casual interest into fascination.

While practitioners can certainly write about your product, it is much more compelling if you deploy them to write about specific technical issues faced more widely by your customer base.  These are conversations that your customers are either already engaged in, or are eager to engage in.

Maybe it is containers vs. serverless if you make tools for developers. Maybe it is AI-assisted drug discovery vs. traditional drug discovery if you have a bioIT product. The goal is to pick topics which help customers feel that both they and their problems are understood. This will help create trust and positive sentiment with your customers.

Start with the hard sell, and you will lose them. Rely only on industry news picked up by journalists and you will miss them. Use practitioner marketing, and you will speak to them. More importantly, your customers will listen and engage.

The Takeaway

After spending a ton of money on PR, it’s easy to rest and think you’ve done enough to get the word out. It’s both fun and useful to garner a spot on the national or even international stage and see your company’s name communicated through a noted trade media outlet or even a general media outlet. As much recognition as that will bring your company and brand, it’s not enough. PR can cast a wide net, but often the weave is too loose to capture your individual customers. To speak directly to them in a way that can be heard, deploy practitioners.

Yolanda is a scientist, writer, marketer, coach and avid runner who lives and works in Livermore, CA.  She founded Common SciSense, a marketing company for technical products, and co-founded founderTRACTION, lean marketing services for startups. 

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