The proper care and feeding of revenue partners Written by Alex Lekas
You’ve had a couple dinners and a few phone conversations; there is chemistry and a further relationship looks promising. But, how do you really know if that next step is worth taking? Advanced Internet Technologies has talked to, literally, hundreds of companies about partnership possibilities. By partnerships, I mean type that produce revenue, not vendor agreements. As IT industry matures and customer demands evolve, growth of a services company like AIT depends on our ability to bring greater value to our customers and to develop new sources of revenue; partnerships are an integral component of that strategy. But, how do you really know if company on other end of line will be a good fit?
During AIT’s 8 years, we have refined a methodology for distinguishing between genuine opportunities and inquiries targeted at gaining access to our customer base. To be sure, painful lessons have been learned but one hallmark of a successful company is to not repeat mistakes. The AIT partnership doctrine serves purpose of 1) minimizing chances of a bad choice being made and 2) minimizing damage, just in case. An approach of very healthy skepticism based on experience; not everyone who wants to be your partner is your friend, and not everyone who is your friend makes for a good partner.
Our partnerships are governed by a philosophy called DIRE. Putting DIRE into practice, D is for Dominate, which is less intimidating than it sounds and primarily speaks to value proposition. Does other company offer name or brand recognition? What sales channels can they help you gain access to? AIT hosts more than 190,000 business domains, has thousands of Value Added Resellers, and is a two-time Inc 500 company. That means our value propositions include a healthy customer base and robust reseller channel, both of which are constantly searching for additional products and services to offer their customers. Combined, they can act as both customers and sales force for a viable partner. Add to that AIT’s financial and institutional credibility as a serious company, and our firm foothold in a growing industry sector, and you have several powerful selling and negotiating points. “I” stands for Interest, ‘so what’ that forms basis for continued talks. Does other company know anything about what your business does? Is what company does complimentary to what you offer? Ideally, you offer related products or services to same target market. For example, one recently-formed partnership is with a provider of pay-per-click advertising on search engines. There is mutual benefit in working with them: SE company gains a new customer channel plus AIT co-markets offering; our customers gain by having access to affordable marketing help for their web sites; and, AIT gains by giving its customers one more reason to remain loyal and by creating a revenue stream that would not have been otherwise realized.
7 Steps to Launching a Top Media Relations ProgramWritten by Andrew A. DeMuth
7 Steps to Launching a Top Media Relations Program Newspapers need to fill real estate in form of column inches, and you need media coverage. If handled correctly, "this could be beginning of a beautiful friendship." A top-notch media relations program is essential for every business and organization. Most, however, never even bother to try launching a successful medial relations program. You would not believe how often reporters find themselves at a loss for content. In fact, many newspaper and other media outlets sometimes have to sink to cold calling police departments looking for stories, and that is an absolute fact. Of course there are other times where they have more stories then they can handle, so timing will play a part as indicated later. Before delving into things, a quick word of caution. In this piece we are strictly addressing publicizing of positive accomplishments, achieving milestones and other such events designed to reflect well on your business or organization. Handling controversy is a completely different matter and really should be farmed out to experts. Let's begin.
Establish a Policy The first step is to create a well-constructed policy on media relations. The policy should dictate who may have contact with media, what information may be released, when permission should be sought from persons or entities mentioned in press release, and other such information. Many organizations only allow one specific person to issue press releases. This is counterproductive and, often, too much work for just one person. Your policy should allow several specific employees who are familiar with policy to issue press releases.
Use Right Vehicle Press Releases should generally be issued in writing. This is a good idea for several reasons. First, it protects issuing entity from any accusation of releasing inappropriate information. Second, if there are mistakes in printed story, again, organization is protected. Third, in written press release you will strive to credit all deserving persons and organizations. If an article comes out and a deserving employee or entity is upset for not being mentioned, he or she can be given a copy of press release showing that organization did recognize his or her efforts and did credit them. Also, issuing a written press release saves a lot of time. It can simply be dropped in a fax machine or email and sent to three or four local and regional media outlets instead of having to make same phone call three or four times. Finally, actual press release can posted in office to publicly recognize company and employees for their accomplishments.
Constructing a Good Press Release The easier you make things for reporter, more likely your story will be printed. Prepare press release as if you were writing story for local paper. Most of time they will change it, but, when in a rush, article that appears in paper may look very close to your press release. DO NOT WRITE IN ALL CAPITALS. Doing so is sacrilegious in journalism world, difficult to read, and, often, pushes reader away to something else. Use paragraphs, and separate them with spaces. The only thing more annoying then all capitals is an article that just runs on in one giant blurb of non-breaking words. Always supply contact information in piece for any follow-up questions. It is also important to include quotations. The quotes should be given by people involved in particular event as well as by organization heads describing their feelings about event and offering accolades. Quotes should also be given by persons or groups who, if applicable, benefited from event.