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TECH PR EXPLAINED

By Mark Linsdell

More often than not, tech startups have two problems with tech PR: it’s overcomplicated or it’s oversimplified.

Some see PR as an abstract maze that they don’t care to navigate, others think that the sole objective of PR is to be featured in TechCrunch.

These both miss the mark and stem from a lack of understanding of PR. Not just at a traditional level but at the more specialized – and more useful – tech PR level. 

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to tech PR. This will help you define your media and business goals and plan and execute a tech PR strategy that will rival top tech PR companies.

This guide covers:

  • What is tech PR?
  • How can tech PR help my business?
  • What does a tech PR agency do?
  • Creating a tech PR strategy
  • Tech PR tactics for winning media coverage
  • Our tech PR success stories  – Bloomio
  • Pulling it all together

What is tech PR?

It’s likely that you already have a grasp of what PR is. 

But, just for those at the back, PR refers to the art of molding and maintaining the image of a company, organization or an individual within the eyes of their target audience.

Technology’s increasing influence on both our personal and professional lives has seen a new PR discipline emerge – tech PR.

The biggest difference between traditional PR and tech PR is the audience. In traditional PR, your audience, while targeted, is likely to be quite broad. Whereas tech PR is likely to target a more niche and technologically savvy audience.

The public relations industry is becoming more specialized and diverse. And Tech PR is just another example of this.

Specialist tech PR firms not only need a firm grasp of how to grow and manage the reputation of your brand, but they also require an in-depth understanding of current technology trends.

How can tech PR help my business?

This is a question we get asked a lot. 

And yeah, we get it. 

If you’re a fresh-faced startup, PR is probably going to be quite far down on your list of priorities. However, when used correctly, startup tech PR can have a big impact on your business.

Although, before we jump into the benefits of tech PR, we’re going to look at the common challenges facing most tech startups and how PR can help you overcome them.

Common tech startup problems

Now, I don’t want to paint all startups with the same brush, but I think it’s fair to say that tech startups face similar challenges across the board. Whether you’re in SaaSblockchain, AI or fintech – every tech startup will face at least a few of these problems :

  • Securing funding or investment
  • Attracting the best talent
  • Growing a user or customer base
  • Scaling the business

Do these sound familiar?

I bet they do.

This is where tech PR comes in. It can help you overcome all of these hurdles. The below infographic unpacks how it can achieve this.

Tech PR infographic

Benefits of Tech PR

The above infographic can make the outputs of tech PR seem a little abstract, right? Well, here’s a list of some of the more tangible benefits of tech PR:

  1. Helps position you as an authority within your niche – Unlike the mainstream stylings of traditional PR, tech PR opens you up to a plethora of niche, tech-leaning media publications. Winning earned media through a high ranking publication read by your target audience helps position you as a thought-leader and builds your social proof.
  2. Builds trust and legitimacy – This very thin line is often the difference between success and failure. Investors want legitimacy and customers crave trust. Getting featured in major publications or niche blogs and journals helps to build this. 
  3. Increases your exposure – Getting your product featured on product discovery platforms or securing professional reviews can really increase your exposure and grow your customer base.
  4. Increases website referral traffic – Earned media wins usually include backlinks to your website. This helps to build referral traffic.
  5. The more backlinks you earn through your tech PR activity, the more your website’s SEO will improve and the more organic traffic you can capture.

When should you start investing in tech PR?

Let’s address the elephant in the room. As a tech PR firm, we’re biased. Of course, we believe you should invest in PR as soon as possible. But let us explain why.

As a tech startup, you can no longer just rely on the quality of your product to break through the noise. You have to build an audience and you have to be seen as credible in the eyes of that audience. If you’re not seen as credible, investors won’t take the risk and customers won’t part with their cash. And it’s tech PR that helps to build that trust. 

But don’t just take our word for it: 

“If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget I’d spend it on PR!” –Bill Gates

We know that it’s tempting to leave PR until the product launch. However, this can result in a serious trust deficit, as you’ll be launching as an unknown with no media footprint.

For example, say you’re a biotech company. The product testing and refinement period most biotech businesses encounter can be expensive and lengthy. It’s not uncommon for your product to spend a number of years in R&D. With this in mind, you want to start building those vital foundations of legitimacy, trust, and awareness before your launch. 

As a tech PR firm, we’re well placed to answer this question, so here are some of the main outputs:

  • Aligns your media goals to your business goals – PR always serves a higher purpose, so a good tech PR firm should align your media goals with your business goals. For example, if your business goal is to secure funding, then your media goals could be to win thought leadership coverage in media outlets consumed by the investment community.
  • Media monitors your sector and competitors – Much of tech PR is about producing topical stories and contributing to the conversation in your industry. Therefore, media monitoring your industry is a vital activity for any tech PR agency.
  • Builds and nurtures relationships with tech journalists – A good tech PR firm should hold strong relationships with tech journalists working across a range of publications and niches. The strength of these relationships can have a big influence on their ability to get you results.
  • Develops topical, narrative-driven creative – Winning media coverage heavily depends on the strength of the pitch. A tech PR agency will develop topical creative that forms part of a wider narrative, then pitch this to target media outlets.
  • Produces high value owned media content – Tech PR isn’t just about pitching stories to the media. Your owned media content needs to be up to scratch too, in order for journalists to take you seriously and to ensure your website and social channels are effective at converting your increased traffic into leads or sales.

Integrates your PR strategy with your SEO strategy – The overlaps between SEO and PR are significant. A good tech PR firm should have in-house SEO experts to enable them to integrate both of these activities to provide the biggest return.

This list is by no means exhaustive. What you look for in your tech PR firm will ultimately come down to what you hope to achieve. However, it’s imperative that your tech PR firm knows your industry and is passionate about your business.

Creating a tech PR strategy 

Whether you use a tech PR firm or decide to develop a tech PR strategy alone – you’ll need to consider:

  • What your business objectives are
  • Which media goals will support these business objectives

What are your business objectives?

The business objectives of your startup will largely determine the foundation of your tech PR strategy. 

With that in mind, here are three typical business objectives that a tech startup may have, along with the types of media goals that would support each of these.

Tech PR media goals infographic

REMEMBER: Whatever it is you’re looking to achieve, a solid tech PR strategy and the right type of earned media crosses into other areas and brings further benefits.

How do you achieve your media goals?

How you achieve your media goals comes down to your targeting approach.

With that in mind, here are some examples of how your business and media goals determine which media outlets your tech PR strategy targets:

Media goal 1: build social proof to help secure funding.

Target media outlets: trade journals, industry magazines, and conferences.

Media goal 2: build credibility to help increase your user base.

Target media outlets: tech blogs, professional review sites, and consumer tech shows.

Media goal 3: increase organic traffic via backlink growth, help increase sales.

Target media outlets: blogs, news and industry sites with good domain authority scores and relevant content.

Use S.M.A.R.T goals

Goal setting is a big part of achieving success in any industry or walk of life. This is where SMART goal setting comes in.

What does S-M-A-R-T stand for and how does this apply to tech PR?

Specific – Make sure your goals are well-defined and focused. 

Measurable – In the past, the impact of PR has been difficult to measure. However, the various analytics tools provided through Google and social media channels have changed this.

Attainable – If you’re a small startup that’s yet to launch your product, it’s unlikely you’re going to win earned media in Forbes or TechCrunch. So make sure your goals are realistic. 

Relevant – If you have limited PR resources, every media win needs to count. Therefore, it needs to be relevant to your industry, potential investors and customer base. 

Time-based – If you don’t set an end-date, your objectives just won’t get done. There will always be tomorrow. In the words of the late, great Robin Williams, “seize the day!”

Tech PR tactics for winning media coverage

We find that startups often sit in one of two camps when it comes to approaching PR: 

  • They don’t know where to start with tech PR
  • They think tech PR is only about being featured in TechCrunch. 

Well, we hope this tech PR guide goes some way to rectifying the first one. And there’s WAY more to it than simply getting your name in TechCrunch.

So here are some tech PR tactics we use to win media coverage for our clients:

  • Guest articles – Also known as guest posting, this is an extremely valuable form of earned media. Guest posting is when you get an article you’ve written published in a third party media publication. It enables you to gain exposure within your industry and build your social proof. However, you want to ensure the target publication is within your niche and has a domain authority score of at least 45, which you can check using Moz toolbar. 
  • Newsjacking – This refers to winning earned media off the back of a news story within your industry. We’d recommend you start with media monitoring. If you encounter a big news story doing the rounds, ask yourself these questions: Do you have a counter-argument? Can you offer a new insight? If you can, offer an expert commentary or rebuttal to a journalist reporting on it. Or spin it into a guest post! Newsjacking shows that you are up-to-date with the latest news in your industry. Furthermore, by demonstrating your industry knowledge you can build trust towards your brand. 
  • Podcasts – Being a guest on an industry-respected podcast puts a human voice to your company. As a tech startup, it can be difficult to build a personality around your brand. However, podcasts allow you to do this while showing off your industry knowledge. 
  • HARO – Journalists are always after sources. As a result, source searching sites like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) are now common practice. After signing up for one of these services, you’ll receive waves of requests from reporters for quotes and commentary. It can also help you form relationships within the press, too.
  • Infographics – Your startup probably deals with reams of data every day. If you notice something particularly interesting within your data, you can make it more aesthetically pleasing and create an infographic (much like we’ve done in this article) These help your target audience easily digest your data and can be great for SEO.

Our tech PR success stories  – Bloomio

Blockchain-powered digital investment platform Bloomio approached us as they wanted a tech PR firm to help them grow their user base, by building their legitimacy and awareness.   

What did we do?

We developed a tech PR strategy that targeted industry-relevant publications consumed by their target audiences in the blockchain, fintech and crowdfunding communities.

This included building Bloomio’s credibility as a secure investment platform in the crowdfunding press, such as by highlighting many of its innovative features via press releases and other announcements.

We also demonstrated to the fintech and blockchain community the ways in which Bloomio is shaking up the traditional investment industry. This included thought-pieces on what was holding back crowdfunding and how startups could secure funding on more equitable terms. 

The results

Pulling it all together

When it comes to tech PR, putting it all together can seem daunting at first. 

Don’t worry; we got you! 

Here are model examples of three different stages of a tech startup along with how to create a tech PR strategy for each:

Tech startup PR strategy infographic

Wrapping up

We hope that this guide has provided you with a clearer understanding of not only what tech PR is, but how to write and execute an effective strategy aligned with your business objectives.

And if you’re shopping around for a tech PR firm to win you media coverage and help you achieve your business goals, use this guide as a basis on what to ask them. 

Or if you want to delve deeper into the sea of tech PR with Publicize, check out our different PR resources or get in touch today for a free PR assessment.