By: Marie Bernadeau, PR Account Executive
When most people think of publicity, technology isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. The word is typically synonymous with celebrity scandals and controversies—often with the word “stunt” blended in the mix.
Publicity can announce, bolster, entice and even repair the perception of a brand. These actions in turn create awareness, build credibility and, ultimately, result in desired media coverage.
For PR agencies, the technology industry is filled with an abundance of opportunities. New tech startups are popping up every day, with executive teams looking to not only innovate, but also generate media buzz to build brand visibility. But there are quite a few challenges to successfully penetrating the media gatekeepers and generating meaningful publicity in the crowded marketplace.
Announcing Tech to the Masses
We’ve all heard the popular saying: Content is king and distribution is queen, and she wears the pants. Tech content is often dry and difficult to understand. Journalists understand the intricate details of smartphones and the consumer-driven aspects of technology, but start dropping tech terms like sensoration and data mining, and some eyes may begin to glaze over, particularly among those not regularly assigned to the tech beat.
In reality, there is a growing distrust of advanced technologies. From apprehension about riding in driverless cars to body hacking technology, a barrage of modern technologies overwhelms the general public. With this challenge in mind, tech companies must craft and deliver clear, concise messages to enable brand engagement.
So, how do PR professionals overcome these obstacles and generate positive publicity for a technology client?
Here are four ways to get publicity for your tech client and drive more than just awareness.
Leverage trends for success. Emerging technologies have become increasingly trendy in the media, with an oasis of product-focused articles at one’s disposal. Use this to your advantage. If your pitch aligns with timely trends, journalists are more likely to bite. It’s called newsjacking, the art and science of injecting your ideas into breaking news stories and generating tons of media buzz in real time.
Solve problems in the industry. You’re in business because you provide strategic solutions to help clients improve their business. You’re the wo(man) with the plan. The problems facing technology are nothing new. Most often, people complain about not being able to keep up with rapidly evolving technological advancements and being afraid of getting hacked, among other things. As a PR professional, how can you turn the negatives into positives?
Here’s an idea: Pitch a story granting an interview with your client’s CEO about improving digital security. Suggest an article focusing on the hacker culture and the solutions your client brings to the table to decrease instances of hacking and cyber vulnerability. Offer a thought leader to comment on the current fear in the tech space and how to overcome these growing challenges—and hopefully put the public at ease.
Target media interested in your client’s industry. This one is simple: Put your client in front of the right people. The internet has made it easy to identify specific market sectors and influencers in each industry. Compile a media list of relevant trade publications and journalists whose readers will appreciate the technology information you have to offer. When necessary, refine your pitch to address the specific pain points and needs of the target industry vertical. It’s also a great idea to include customer insight to add depth and credibility to a story. Often, a journalist may want to talk to your client’s customer, which is a great way to get your client into an article.
Avoid jargon. When it comes to crafting and communicating messages that matter, the goal is to articulate your client’s message in a way that resonates with readers while not being overly technical. It’s imperative to keep the “voice” of your client’s company consistent. Leave the jargon behind to avoid misinterpretations and the possible loss of media interest. You want to make technology sound accessible, relatable, approachable and user-friendly. Avoid using industry-specific jargon that only a Silicon Valley techie would understand. You might want to have a friend without tech knowledge look over your content to “jargon-proof” your messaging.
From visually pitching a product demo to developing a broader strategy to utilize social media, PR and digital marketing to connect with your audience, the key is to position the tech startup as a valuable addition to the industry. To increase your chances of generating positive publicity, build relationships with journalists and help them identify trends and topics that matter most to their audience.
The moral of the story: When you’ve got something valuable, let the press know about it—and fast. Or better yet, have your client’s customer tell the press for you. Now that’s the epitome of good publicity.