A Deep Dive into the World of Tech PR: Parry Headrick

In this episode of the Marketing Spark podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking with Parry Headrick, founder of Crackle PR, about the changing landscape of PR for B2B companies.

Parry shared his insights and experiences working with companies like Spotify, Google, and Oracle, and we discussed the need for a more strategic and diversified approach to PR.

One of the main takeaways from our conversation was the importance of building relationships with more niche communities. Perry emphasized the value of fostering meaningful engagement with these communities, which can include podcasters, Slack groups, and Reddit.

While mainstream media outlets like the New York Times or TechCrunch are still important, buyers are increasingly turning to smaller, more trusted communities to make their purchasing decisions.

We also discussed the common misconceptions that companies and entrepreneurs have about PR. Parry pointed out that many companies expect PR agencies to be miracle workers who can get media coverage right away, but the key to successful PR is earned media.

This means presenting a strong defensible story with data to back it up that taps into the zeitgeist of what's happening in the day and provides something their readers would genuinely care about.

Parry also shared his experiences with the abrupt loss of five clients due to the edict at the highest levels to slash marketing spend.

He learned that in a client service business, the most important thing is the people, and he made the decision to cut his own salary and offload expenses to keep his close group of employees safe and active. This decision engendered goodwill and trust with his employees, and they worked hard to get through that time.

Overall, Parry and I stressed the need for a more strategic and diversified approach to PR. Companies should focus on building relationships with smaller, more trusted communities while also pursuing coverage in mainstream media outlets.

By doing so, they can establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry and build a strong brand.

If you want to learn more about Parry and his insights into PR, be sure to check out the full episode on the Marketing Spark podcast.

Here are the show notes:

The traditional approach to PR [00:00:15]
The traditional approach to PR for B2B companies and its limitations.

Changes in the PR landscape [00:02:01]
The changing landscape of PR for B2B companies and the need for a more diversified approach.

The importance of atomized PR [00:03:35]
The importance of incorporating all elements of PR, including fostering relationships with different audiences in various communities.

The shift in PR success metrics [00:05:17]
The shift in PR success metrics from mainstream media coverage to smaller, more influential blogs, podcasts, and communities.

Bottom-up approach to PR [00:07:10]
The effectiveness of a bottom-up approach to PR, starting with niche publications and gradually working up to mainstream media coverage.

Moonshots and Small Wins [00:08:45]
The importance of balancing high-risk, high-reward PR strategies with more traditional, low-risk approaches.

Becoming Part of a Bigger Story [00:09:58]
The value of positioning your company as a voice of reason within a larger trend or news event.

Strategic Narrative [00:11:38]
The power of using data and storytelling to create a strategic narrative that frames the difference between the old way and the new way.

PR within Communities [00:13:50]
The various roles a PR agency can play in supporting clients within online communities, including relationship building, research, and content creation.

Misconceptions about PR [00:16:08]
Discussion on the unrealistic expectations and misconceptions that companies and entrepreneurs have about PR.

The reality of PR [00:17:34]
Insights on how PR works and the importance of presenting a strong defensible story with data to back it up to earn media.

Approaching PR [00:20:07]
Advice on how companies should approach PR, when it's the right time to do it, and how much they should invest.

Starting a relationship with a PR agency [00:23:20]
Tips on how a company and a PR agency should start their relationship to ensure that expectations are aligned and engagement starts on the right foot.

PR Partnership and Access [00:23:59]
Importance of prioritizing PR and treating it as a key business driver, providing access to executives, and acting quickly.

Honesty and Planning [00:25:33]
Early honesty and planning needed for successful collaboration, including discussing potential crises and competitive threats.

Good Clients and Companies [00:27:05]
Crackle PR's ethos of working with good companies and good clients, and how they determine if a client is a good fit.

Gut Feel and Intuition [00:30:16]
The importance of gut feel and intuition in making business decisions, and how it played a role in Crackle PR's success.

Companies Backing Off on PR [00:30:49]
Discussion on why companies backed off on PR during tough times, and supplementary questions.

Lessons from losing business [00:32:23]
Parry shares his experience of losing five clients in two months due to budget cuts and how he learned to prioritize his employees over his own comfort.

Why companies cut marketing budgets [00:36:36]
Parry and Mark discuss why companies often see marketing and PR as overhead and make the mistake of cutting budgets during a recession, despite evidence that maintaining or increasing spend can lead to better outcomes.

Working from home [00:38:28]
Parry shares his positive experience of working from home and discusses the benefits and challenges of remote work for employers and employees. He also shares his own approach to running his business from home.

Remote Work [00:38:55]
Parry discusses the changing landscape of remote work and how COVID has pulled back the curtain on the absurdity of needing to be 40 hours in a cubicle in the office.

Culture Fit [00:40:34]
Parry talks about how having a distributed remote team can be successful and have a cultural fit, and how culture is about how you feel on Sunday night about going to work on Monday.

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