With Christmas hoving into view, here are my 4 top tips for tech firms planning for PR success in 2017:
1. Put someone with PR savvy in charge
PR is a very powerful tool. For an activity that can literally define how a company is seen by its prospective customers, investors, peers and skills pool, it never ceases to amaze me how often it is led by people with little or no PR experience, or to C-levels with a very limited interest/understanding of it.
Think about it. Your entire company image in your industry media left to someone who doesn't grasp or understand PR, or to an office junior who ‘did a PR course’? Seriously?
Only ever assign your PR to someone who fully understands it, who will think like a PR, see the opportunities for what they are, and be able to deliver in an appropriate and authoritative voice with industry journalists on behalf of your company. PR delivers, make no mistake about it, so make sure you have someone with PR savvy in charge.
2. Keep your focus tight
Time spent identifying who you want to address, and through which channel, is the best time you can spend as a PR. Tech audiences are usually predefined by vertical, so spend time identifying the publications you want to target, and who you want to address within them. Sending your release or your pitch for an opinion piece or guest column to the wrong person is just a waste of everyone’s time.
3. Have good photos to hand
A picture is worth a thousand words, but a good picture is worth additional real estate and profile in that valuable industry feature. I have doubled the amount of space and significantly increased my clients’ impact within a feature through the simple expedient of having good photographs of products and individuals at hand, ready to go. And if your pictures are featuring prominently in the feature, the feature becomes all about you.
Get your photos taken professionally, and have your PR guy oversee it, because he/she and your photographer between them will know what photos your industry publications will want.
4. Plan and review your activity
PR is no different to any other business activity. You should always seek to control what you can control. And you do this through planning: so plan your PR activity quarterly in advance in detail, and 6-monthly in advance in less detail. Know what resources and budget you will need to assign, and when. Go for a spread across your periods of important activity, and make sure you are lined up for industry events, company milestones and are aware when your vertical media are running features you would like to be part of.
For tech companies, PR can be a powerful tool that allows you to reach out to your customers, sell your concept to investors, create the buzz to attract top talent, and identify your firm as thought and industry leader. It can literally change the way your company is perceived overnight, so it requires a steady hand on the wheel, and care and attention in focusing your activity and messaging. Make sure it's done correctly.
Follow these steps and you will greatly improve your chances of success.
(Pic: Autumnal Japanese Maple)