Are you stuck in a rut with a tech PR client? Blasting out the same pitches over and over with not much to show for it?
Or, worse yet, are you still trying to figure out what to pitch in the first place? “What’s the angle?”
If this sounds like you, then it’s time to step back and take a fresh look at the client and what they do. Ask yourself and your team if you really understand the client. To identify the PR angles that turn into successful pitches, you might need to flip your perspective, turn it inside out, and examine angles you couldn’t even see at first.
I took a class in college about the 20th-century novel. The works we studied were part of the modernist movement that included everything from film to architecture, philosophy to visual art. The professor explained that modernism’s definitive innovation was looking a subject from multiple perspectives to achieve a more complete and truthful representation. I have thought about this many over the years in my tech PR work.
Your first impressions of a client, honed by initial onboarding discussions and research, might only scratch the surface. You’ll see what they convey through marketing and advertising — the package they have created. To plan and execute an effective PR strategy, however, you might need to open up the package, turn it over, observe how it sits upon a shelf alongside all the other packages.
I have been in plenty of meetings where my team discussed how to grant a client’s wish to be part of conversations broader and more elevated than their core business niche. Maybe they were in a legacy industry but wanted to break into the tech thought space. Maybe they were a startup founder that wanted to be a go-to source for entrepreneurship advice. Taking this kind of leap can result in bigger and better PR wins, but the path to get there isn’t always obvious. It might require unpacking and turning over what you think you know about this client.
To get you started in this re-examination, here are a few questions you can answer with available knowledge, what you might call low-hanging fruit. You can go deeper with some questioning of your client contact to get a better understanding of where they really want to go.
How does the client’s work fit into current and emerging trends? Are they in a business that is sensitive to prevailing economic conditions? Are they countercyclical? Do they have specialized expertise to address a looming business need?
What are they talking about on their owned channels? What’s new on the company’s blog or LinkedIn page? Some companies might not be up to speed on how PR complements their marketing communications. A winning angle might be hiding in plain sight.
What are their competitors talking about to garner coverage? Your clients can learn from what their key rivals are doing right. Look at a competitor’s earned media and figure out how they got the win, how they might have insinuated themselves into a particular conversation.
What conferences and other events is your client attending? What are they presenting to their industry peers? Again, they might not realize that this kind of thought leadership is ripe for inclusion in tech PR efforts.
What are the key verticals that your client serves? If your client does logistics, don’t just think of them as a logistics company. They are also a key player for the industries whose products they help bring to market.
Are there any data reports or case studies? Encourage your clients to share internal or external research products, which might contain news-worthy insights about their niche industry or other industries that they serve.
Keep in mind that your client might need some coaxing to go along with this work. Successful tech PR strategy might require the client to step out of their comfort zone. They might need to wade into sensitive discussions around politics or policy. They might need to share information about what they do for their own clients and customers. Sell them on the benefits of being transparent and frank about what they do and why they do it. You know what those benefits are: positive sentiment, increased credibility, and enhanced reputation.
PR is a two-way street, after all. It’s a working partnership between the client and the agent, requiring give and take by each. A successful client might need to take their own look in the mirror from multiple perspectives to discover the deeper truth, the winning angle.
Try that the next time you and your tech PR client are stuck in a rut, wondering “What’s the angle?”