Helping Sterling Communications improve PR campaigns through flexibility and better media data
Sterling Communications, Silicon Valley’s tech PR agency, specializes in media relations and content marketing for B2B, healthtech, cleantech, edtech, and more. Founded in 1989, Sterling has spent decades employing public relations, digital marketing, and communication strategies to build bold technology brands for several world-class companies such as Medallia, BT Group, and Juniper Networks.
At a glance:
Sterling Communications, a Silicon Valley-based tech PR agency, uses Fullintel’s flexible client arrangements and powerful human curation to preserve staff hours for more value-added tasks (like running winning PR campaigns).
Because Sterling draws on a bank of hours each month (instead of paying by keyword), they’re easily able to add or remove clients and keywords without paying extra fees. And Fullintel’s full suite of media monitoring, briefings, and reporting have helped Sterling improve its media pitching and client service through better, more agile media research and targeting.
Account supervisor Pal Hollywood has worked at several PR agencies in her career. She says media monitoring and analysis services are always a big requirement, largely because media monitoring and daily or weekly news briefings help PR agency clients stay on top of their traditional and social media coverage and influencers.
These services also help agencies scale quickly at the beginning of a client relationship, and quickly stay on top of the ever-changing content requirements of fast-moving companies.
But Hollywood’s past experiences using media monitoring providers hadn’t been positive. Indeed, she says she was against using media monitoring services on principle before starting at Sterling, mostly because her previous agencies had used fully automated media monitoring solutions – which ended up causing nothing but frustration.
“Fully automated monitoring services aren’t worth the trouble,” explains Hollywood, who has been with Sterling for nearly three years. “You’re fed a ton of information and you have to pick through it all for relevant content. Most of these automated services are never really that helpful.
“I didn’t realize that Fullintel is different. But I do now.”
Hollywood says her opinion around media monitoring and analysis changed immediately after a few days of using Fullintel’s full suite of human curated media monitoring, daily news briefing, and reporting services.
“Fullintel’s analysts deliver usable, finished products that I can use right away, rather than me having to pick through some randomly pulled together list of coverage where half of it is stock information,” she explains. “It helps us become more targeted and knowledgeable in highly specific technical areas through media intelligence.”
Fullintel is now a regular piece of Sterling’s client onboarding checklist, Hollywood says. The agency mostly uses Fullintel to monitor for client, competitor, and industry news on a weekly basis, but Sterling also uses Fullintel for ad hoc and one-off projects such as annual or campaign reporting.
“And usually by that point we’re totally out of budget and hours to be able to do that for that client,” Hollywood says. “It’s a real lifesaver to be able to reach out to Fullintel in moments like that.”
Meanwhile, Fullintel’s flexible client agreements means that instead of paying by keyword – which can get cost prohibitive very quickly for an organization with broad monitoring requirements – Sterling is able to draw on a bank of hours each month from Fullintel.
That means Sterling can easily add or remove clients and specific keywords by simply sending an email to their dedicated Fullintel analyst, without having to pay extra fees.
Aside from Fullintel’s always-available and helpful customer service, Hollywood says Fullintel helps Sterling and its clients in several major areas:
- Staff bandwidth: Especially as a smaller boutique agency, Sterling simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to have staff spending hours on media monitoring and briefings. It’s far easier to farm this work out to media intelligence experts, so Sterling staff can focus on their core offering – PR services.
- Media pitching: Fullintel’s media intelligence helps Sterling save time on research and deliver better targeted, more informed media pitches. “This information helps us and our clients discover new outlets or reporters we should be talking to,” she says.
- Staff training: Hollywood just needs to supply new staff with Fullintel’s news briefings to help them learn about the client. “Because these briefings are so accurate,” she says,
I don’t need to worry that they’re looking at irrelevant or wrong information. They can then use these briefings to learn about our client, their competitors and industry, their keywords, and who covers them and their relevant topics most often.”
Additionally, Fullintel’s banked hours approach helps keep both sides flexible and able to handle any potential curveballs – like when one of Sterling’s technology clients decided to change its PR focus on a dime, requiring Sterling to become experts in a completely new business vertical essentially overnight.
“We needed to research a new media list, new keywords, and find new analysts in a new market very quickly,” explains Hollywood.
“To be able to reach out to Fullintel and get them to make these changes quickly was incredibly helpful, and helped us respond to our client faster than we could have otherwise.”