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How to promote advanced certification from a vendor.Congratulations! You just got “premium” or “advanced” or “platinum” or “really hot stuff” certification from a vendor whose products or services you sell.

Who cares?

You do, because you know how much work it took to get that certification. Your customers should care, too. But how can they if you don’t tell them specifically how your superior skills, training, experience or customer service helps them?

For example, I recently got a press release announcing a service provider had received advanced certification from Amazon Web Services because it had met AWS’ “rigorous set of prerequisites.” Rather than describe what those requirements were and how they help the customer, the press release rushed on to describe the services the company offers, with the usual bland quote from the CEO about how pleased he was about it all.

What would I do differently? Let’s take the actual certification program, Amazon Web Services Partner Network (APN).

Talk Up the Requirements…

This company could have gotten a lot of mileage just by describing, and expanding on, the requirements publically available on the Amazon Web site. Among them are:

  • Four customer references.If you need those anyway for the certification, why not plug them in the press release, with specifics (as always) on the business benefits you provided the customer, not just the bits and bytes you delivered?
  • $25,000 a month in AWS billings for a “technology” partner and $10,000 for a “consulting” partner. Just saying you’ve met these requirements shows that you know your stuff and are financially healthy enough to be around for the duration of a new project.
  • Five staff members trained on AWS (for consulting partners only.) Why not provide a brief example of how this training helped one of your employees’ solve a specific problem for a specific customer, in a way your lesser-trained competitors could not?

…and the Benefits

All vendors reward those who sell more of their stuff with goodies like access to advanced training and technical support. If those added benefits help you help your customers, why not explain how? Again, using Amazon’s partner program as an example:

  • The partner portal allows partners to find and work with other partners with specialties they may not have. Were you able to use the portal to solve a particularly gnarly problem for a customer, or find local help for them in setting up their new field office in Mongolia? Flout it in your press release.
  • The portal also provides access to e-learning modules. What is some of the training you accessed, and how did it help one of your customers make or save money? How did this training help your customers (not you) succeed?

You can obviously re-use much of the content for this press release in promotional case studies, blog posts, video clips or podcasts. You may also already have some of this information available in case studies or client references, making it less excusable for you not to include it.

Becoming an “advanced” partner is hard work, and it should matter to your customers. What, in your experience, keeps us from explaining this to them?

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Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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