Tech PR, or technology public relations, is often misunderstood or seen as either too simplistic or too complex. Many people mistakenly believe that it revolves around a single objective, while others find it too abstract to understand. In reality, tech PR involves strategic communication and relationship-building to promote and manage the reputation of technology companies and their products or services.
In this guide, we will break down the process of building a great PR strategy for any tech startup. To create a successful PR strategy, one should consider the following factors:
- What is tech PR?
- What can tech PR accomplish?
- When should you start investing in PR?
- How does one create a tech PR strategy?
- What types of tech PR exist?
What is tech PR?
PR is the process of building a relatable public image of a brand or organization to attract potential clients. Tech PR simply accomplishes that task by using the media to create a positive reputation for your technology and digital business.
The reason businesses need tech PR is not only for reputation management. Tech PR can also be used to overcome challenges. In today’s digital age, tech PR is a necessary ingredient in an organization’s success.
How is tech PR different from traditional PR?
Tech PR is different from traditional PR in the sense that it requires a deep understanding of the technology industry, as well as the ability to communicate complex technical concepts in a way that is understandable to the general public. Additionally, Tech PR involves working with a range of stakeholders, including investors, customers, and the media.
Tech PR also requires a focus on innovation and disruption, as the technology industry is constantly evolving, and companies must stay ahead of the curve to remain competitive. In contrast, traditional PR focuses more on maintaining a positive image and reputation for a company or individual, often through media relations and strategic messaging.
Overall, Tech PR requires a unique set of skills and knowledge that sets it apart from traditional PR. Successful Tech PR professionals must be able to understand the industry, communicate technical concepts effectively, and stay ahead of the ever-changing landscape of technology.
What can tech PR accomplish?
Regardless of the type of PR you engage in, a lot of startups question whether it is truly a necessity and why they should invest in it from the get-go. As a business owner, you’re determined to invest your funds in anything that can provide the quickest return.
Some challenges that a lot of startups face are; securing funding, attracting the best talent, growing a customer base, and scaling the business. This is where a well-planned start-up PR strategy comes in. After all, it creates the foundation required to get where you want to go.
For example, let’s assume a potential investor is trying to search for you and your startup. You want to have a combination of awareness, social proof, and credibility so you can secure the necessary funding. Tech PR can also help you to grow your user or customer base. Regular marketing is great if you simply want to drive traffic to your website. If you want to build a credible and long-lasting digital footprint, however, consumers need to have confidence in your brand. Tech PR helps you create that digital footprint by generating media coverage.
Tech PR delivers several additional benefits, including:
- Improved brand awareness: Tech PR can help companies to build their brand and create awareness among the target audience. PR agencies can create campaigns that target specific demographics and increase exposure to the brand.
- Credibility: Tech PR can help companies to establish themselves as credible experts in their field. This can be achieved through the use of media coverage, endorsements, and thought leadership pieces.
- Reputation management: Tech PR can help companies to manage their reputation in the market. This is possible through crisis management, proactive messaging, and addressing negative press.
- Increased sales: Tech PR can help companies to increase their sales by creating buzz around new products and services. PR agencies can also create targeted campaigns to drive traffic to specific sales channels.
- Recruitment: Tech PR can help companies to attract top talent by creating a positive image of the company in the media. This can be achieved through media coverage, thought leadership pieces, and awards.
When should you start investing in PR?
It may be tempting to leave PR until your product launch. Nevertheless, it is important that you invest your time and energy in public relations from the beginning. You need to start building legitimacy, trust, and awareness before your product even hits the market. PR should therefore come into play in the early stages of setting up your brand.
An important tool for planning and executing your PR strategy is your owned media channels. Make sure that your website and social media channels are fully functioning and ready to go. Don’t be afraid to ask for external help with this if you need it.
Another important prerequisite is your mission statement. This shows customers, suppliers, journalists, influencers, and the public what your organization cares about. It also educates people about what you do. Your mission statement is also there to inform everyone about the direction of your company, the company culture, and employee relations.
Taking time to build a mission statement and develop an informative media kit will inspire the public to believe in you. Your statement and your media kit should contain everything that any media outlet needs to know about your startup. When combined, these two pieces should help with the “story” you are trying to build with your PR strategy.
How to create a PR strategy
So you’ve created your mission statement and compiled your media kit. The next step is planning your PR strategy. You can break this down into two parts: setting media goals and planning media activity.
As with any other goal, your media goals will determine what kind of publications you need to reach out to and the type of narrative you need to establish. Media goals are often linked with business goals and can include: securing funding, launching a new product, and growing a user base. As with the process of developing your mission statement and media kit, defining your media goals will give your PR strategy a sense of direction.
Planning media activity will also help you develop an effective strategy. This would initially be a rough plan because PR is about responding quickly to current events and monetizing on trends, so it is hard to plan every little detail months in advance. Focus on things that you know are set in stone, like beta launches, full product launches, major releases, and any other events that you had planned. From here, you can fill in the blanks with content inspired by current events. For example, a piece addressing the current economic landscape and offering advice and resources for startups and small businesses would interest the public and get attention.
Here are some additional pointers that could help in creating a successful tech PR strategy:
- Define your target audience: Before creating a PR strategy, it’s essential to know who your target audience is. Are they investors, potential customers, or industry peers? Once you define your audience, you can create a targeted message that resonates with them.
- Identify your key messages: What are the key messages you want to convey to your target audience? These messages should align with your brand and reflect your unique selling points.
- Choose your media outlets: You need to decide which media outlets are most relevant to your target audience. Are they industry-specific publications, national newspapers, or social media channels? Once you have identified the outlets, you can tailor your message to fit each platform.
- Build relationships with journalists: Establishing relationships with journalists is crucial in the tech industry. Reach out to journalists who cover your industry, and pitch your story to them. Remember to personalize your pitch and make it relevant to their interests.
- Create a content calendar: Plan your PR activities in advance and create a content calendar. This will help you stay organized and ensure that your messaging is consistent across all channels.
- Measure your results: Finally, measure the success of your PR strategy. Track metrics such as media coverage, website traffic, and social media engagement. Use this data to refine your strategy and make adjustments as necessary.
Overall, a successful tech PR strategy requires a deep understanding of your audience, strong relationships with journalists, and a well-defined message that sets you apart from your competitors.
Tech PR tools
Now it’s time to execute your plan. As mentioned before, it’s important to target the right media. You need to think of your target audience and approach media outlets that work closely with that audience. It’s best to identify and approach relevant media outlets then perform targeted media outreach and pitching. Pitches sent to a journalist’s personal email address are generally more likely to be noticed than those sent to a general inquiries email address. At this step, it’s worth spending extra money on a public relations agency like Pressfarm which can build a media list and run a targeted media outreach campaign for you.
You need to build relationships with media outlets from the outset. “Ask not what a journalist or influencer can do for you, but what you can do for a journalist or influencer.” It’s all about a give-and-take relationship. Some ways to build relationships with journalists are through networking at events, engaging on social media, and offering expert commentary on news stories. Something as simple as alerting a journalist about a typo a story they’ve published could go a long way towards building trust with that journalist.
When you are developing your pitch, it is important to evaluate just how important and newsworthy it is from the media outlet’s perspective. You can measure this with 5 factors: timing, significance, proximity, prominence, and human interest. Understanding these factors will give you a realistic idea of the type of publication you should reach out to.
There are different types of tech PR tools, so let’s dive in:
1. Press releases
As mentioned before, you need to develop a relationship with media outlets so you can partner with them to build a favorable brand image and gain more coverage. Press releases make the work of the media easy because they contain all the important pieces of the story you want a journalist to tell. A media outlet will especially appreciate you taking time to tailor the story to their audience. This will convince them of the story’s relevance and help them build a compelling story.
For example, if your company has developed something new to fill a gap in the market, and you’re improving lives, large media outlets will definitely be interested in publishing this story. However, if your news is that you have hired new people or gotten a new office, you may want to send the press release to any local news stations that would be more interested in a story about their immediate community.
Once you are convinced that you have relevant news and you’ve compiled a list of the right media outlets, you will need a great press release to get things started. This press release should be interesting, informative, and concise.
2. Blogger and influencer outreach
The average person might underestimate social media influencers, but they are actually a very valuable asset when it comes to promoting your product or service. To maximize your impact, focus on influencers with:
- 10,000+ followers
- Brands that want to engage with them to help promote their products/services/messages.
- Expertise in their field
- Information to share about products that they love
While they may be considered celebrities in the traditional sense, influencers and bloggers are very popular among younger audiences and they have a great deal of selling power. Since their audiences trust them, influencers have a great deal of influence on how these people spend their money and which brands they support.
Influencer outreach involves collaborating with vloggers, bloggers, and social media personalities to promote your brand to their followers. Building an influencer outreach campaign can be simple if you employ the right strategies. However, this is only worth doing if their followers are also your target audience.
3. Thought leadership
For tech companies, this type of PR is the one that yields the best results.
Thought leaders are considered to be the ‘influencers’ of the business world because they are experts in their field, their opinions are trusted and respected, and they have a large network of connections. You don’t need to be Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg to get the attention of a thought leader. All you need is something new or interesting to say.
Creating a thought leadership tech PR campaign will involve writing quite a few feature articles. If you are a confident writer then you can write the articles yourself, but you can also hire a PR team to ghost-write these for you. Most industry and trade publications will create high-quality features that fit with the news agenda. So, while is very possible to do it alone, you may have better success if you work with a PR agency.
4. Internal communications
This is something that is often overlooked by a lot of companies because they’re usually focused on external communication and forget about the internal team. This is quite a shame because if executed correctly, internal communications can be one of the most valuable investments you make for your business.
Ultimately, even if you employ influencers and other media outlets, your employees are your best brand ambassadors. If you have employees who are motivated to come to work and have fully internalized your business values, it works in your favor because they are the ones delivering your products and services and interacting face-to-face with your customers. In order to run an effective PR campaign, you need people who are well-informed about your product and have a positive opinion of your brand. If you have motivated employees who feel appreciated and seen at work, you already have brand ambassadors who you can always rely on.
Broadcast PR works in a similar way as old-school news outreach. Much like everything else, you need to have a strong news story to attract attention. It also helps if your story has a strong visual or emotive angle. You need to make sure that you are prepared before you initiate contact because when you are working with TV or radio teams, they are generally on a tight deadline. If you’re not time-conscious, it can hinder your chances of success, both immediately and in the future.
6. Integrated communications
It has been found that tech PR works better when combined with other powerful aspects of communications. Integrated communication is a technique that ensures that all forms of communication and messages work together and complement each other. It involves applying tech PR as part of a strategy to build a positive brand image. Since integrated communication incorporates all types of PR, it should also include a great website, captivating social media, and strategic email marketing.
7. A tech PR launching pad
A typical tech PR launching pad can be explained as a platform or program that offers tech startups or new tech products a strategic plan to launch and promote their brand or product in the market. It provides guidance and support to entrepreneurs to create a buzz about their brands and reach a wider audience.
A PR launching pad program typically offers services such as media outreach, press release distribution, influencer marketing, social media marketing, and content creation to help startups get the attention they need to gain traction and attract customers. The tech PR launching pad can be a valuable resource for startups looking to break into the tech industry and make their mark.
8. Media monitoring and analysis
Media monitoring tools help companies to keep track of their media coverage and monitor their brand reputation. There are also analytics tools that provide companies with insights into their PR campaigns, including metrics such as reach, engagement, and ROI. This helps startups evaluate the success of their PR campaigns. More importantly, it gives them insight into what worked and what didn’t work so that they can make improvements in advance of the next campaign.
9. A crisis management plan
While it’s crucial to always be prepared for a crisis in any industry, this is even more important in the tech industry. Think about the vulnerabilities that have been exploited in the tech industry for a second and you’ll understand why. From data leaks to hacks, bugs, crashes, and manufacturing defects, there are so many opportunities for crises to erupt in the tech world. We’ve all heard the popular saying, “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” This has rarely been as true as it is in tech PR.
In order to respond in a timely and positive manner during a crisis, it is imperative that you prepare in advance for all the potential crises that could affect your tech product or service. To be more specific, you need to be prepared for all the potential crises that could affect the state of the industry as a whole, since journalists might turn to you for a comment on a crisis that’s affected a different company. In the face of a crisis, a good crisis management plan can help you put people’s minds at ease and restore faith in your products or services.
Now that you know what tech PR is and how it can help your startup, all you need to do is start putting everything you’ve learned in motion. It may seem like a daunting task but, if you’ve got all the pieces, everything will come together just like the pieces in a puzzle.
A startup launch story might not attract large media outlets, but you can pique their attention and start building a media footprint by focusing on the human element. You can develop a narrative about your startup that is original to your brand and inspirational and THAT is what you should pitch to the media.
When the time for your product launch arrives, having a press release on hand is a very strategic step. You can use that to build exposure for your product launch immediately. From there, additional PR tactics will build upon the press release. This helps your product get more exposure in the market. All these factors combined will ultimately help you create the perfect tech PR startup strategy.
How Pressfarm can help
Do you need help building a PR campaign for your tech startup? With the support of PR specialists, expert writers, and certified designers from Pressfarm, you can build a campaign that puts your brand on the map.
With a professional press release, some engaging guest posts, and a creative media kit from Pressfarm, you can capture media attention and inspire your target audience. In addition to creating this quality content, Pressfarm has experience distributing content widely.
By submitting your content to the right media outlets and startup directories, we can boost your online visibility and ensure your brand ranks high in relevant search results across different search engines. As a client, you will also have access to our media database of over 1 million journalists across industries. With this media database, you can connect with the best journalists in your niche and continue telling your brand story for up to a year after you sign up.