Matt co-founded TrendKite in 2012 and oversees all aspects of the organization’s product strategy and development.
The fundamental principles of PR apply to every brand, regardless of industry. You want as much positive earned media coverage as you can get, and as little negative sentiment as possible. However, there are nuances that impact PR strategy differently for different market segments. Technology companies face a variety of unique challenges when it comes to the practice of PR.
Competing for Mindshare
There are more than 100,000 software and IT services companies in the United States. You can bet that most of them would like to get covered by TechCrunch or CIO magazine. That’s a lot of competition for the attention of the reporters, analysts and bloggers who cover the space. With so many companies in the ring it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Tech industry PR professionals must carefully align pitches with reporter’s areas of interest and offer compelling, timely pitches in order to succeed. They must also understand the competition’s tactics and messaging in order to highlight differences and provide a dissimilar point of view.
Complex, Shifting Media Landscape
In technology, bloggers and influencers can be just important as the New York Times. What's more, new publications come online all the time and audience interest shifts quickly. The fragmented nature of technology press means it can be difficult to even identify the most important publications to target. This makes active, sophisticated media monitoring even more important for technology firms.
Keeping Up with the Pace
Things change so fast in the technology sector that effective industry monitoring is essential to PR success. What’s hot today may be old news tomorrow, so high tech PR teams need to be ready to strike quickly at every opportunity for coverage. Media monitoring software can help by providing up to the minute alerts on important news and filtering out the mass quantities of noise.
High tech buyers, more than buyers in other areas, rely on peer recommendations and product reviews. Tech buyers like to talk to each other and share their experiences with brands and products. This is great news for PR teams when the reviews are good, but a few poor ones placed on just the wrong publication or network can spell disaster. Reputation monitoring and management should be a high priority for technology brand PR.
Beating 900 Pound Gorillas
Of those 100,000 or so tech companies in the US, 99% of them are considered small or medium sized businesses (under 500 employees). Yet they must compete for coverage and mind share with some of the world’s biggest and most well-funded organizations; Apple, Google, Microsoft, and the like. The path to victory involves being nimble. It means reacting faster to news or trends that might warrant coverage related to the brand. It means being mindful of what the big boys are doing so that you don’t announce your new smartwatch on the same day Apple does. It might mean taking more risks and introducing an edgier voice. It might mean going local and courting press where you or your customers are located. This all requires a deep understanding of the media landscape and ultra-fast reaction times.
Technology firms can overcome their unique challenges by developing a PR strategy and deploying tools that help them out maneuver the competition both big and small. The key to successful PR for high growth tech companies is getting the right intelligence, at the right moment and acting quickly to take advantage of every opportunity.