5 Key Inbounds Where Tech PR Excels

Inbound, the marketing practice of attracting customers to products and services through content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and branding, has rightly gained traction for its ability to combine different digital marketing threads into one coherent strategy.

Storytelling, knowing your audience, building credibility, utilising SEO and social engagement – old hands will recognise many of these elements as everyday tools in the traditional PR practitioners’ toolbox, albeit repurposed and given new names. And perhaps because they are so tried and tested as PR techniques, we really shouldn’t be surprised to see them continue to perform so well in the newer digital context, in this case as essential ingredients of your inbound programme.

1. Storytelling

All good PR is a process, not a destination. Press and trade stories reporting your company are part of a process: individually they are a moment in time, but collectively they are much more than that. For it is through the gradual building up of many such moments – from founding, to achieving start-up funding, to forming partnerships to test technologies, to tape out or beta, to important hires, to funding and customer stories – that your company’s story begins to emerge, piece by piece.

And of course being reported in well regarded media outlets adds to your story’s authenticity in a way no owned media can match – and this is why press and media coverage is so important.Its verifiable authenticity significantly adds to your credibility when any due diligence is being carried out by third parties, whether these are funding agencies, VCs or key talent.

2. Knowing Your Audience

When working in PR for tech firms, one thing becomes obvious very quickly: pretty much every tech market is served by a very well defined vertical media: whether banking technology, fintech, semiconductors, indoor location, robotics, logistics and distribution and so on – each and every one has a very well-qualified and highly focused media serving it.

These media organisations are under enormous strain given the 24 news cycle, competition, plummeting ad sales etc., so they invest huge resources in defining and attracting the right audiences to them.This includes delivering credible well-researched content, trade shows and exhibitions, webinars, round tables, awards programmes, reviews, etc.

In short, they provide not just a focused industry audience, but also many of the tools and conduits to reach it.

3. Building Credibility

No matter the industry, it remains true that vertical media is staffed with editors with a specialist industry knowledge. So it stands to reason that being reported by them offers real credibility and authenticity - in a way no ‘owned’ or ‘bought’ media ever can, no matter how good the accompanying graphics. Why? Because you are not just being written about on your own by a marketeer, but in the context of your wider industry, by an independent writer with in depth knowledge.

This has always been a card on which the PR and media relations industry has traded, and it remains true for the tech sector: tech editors and columnists are specialised writers with a specialised, in depth knowledge of the industry sector they cover.And the very job title ‘editor’ bestows credibility on those included for reporting (you), by editing out the less newsworthy or relevant content (your competitors). Readers come to industry media reporting knowing this, so for this reason, the media remains the top third party source of independent information (along with word of mouth) for buyers, particularly in the tech and healthcare markets.

4. Utilising SEO

So how does ‘targeted SEO’ sound? Good eh? Well that’s the boost getting reported in the appropriate media outlets offers.All good PR focuses on key words, including them in every message they send out in a way to aid search engine recovery.

Add press and media activity, and you also piggyback onto the SEO efforts of dedicated media organisations. And unsurprisingly they are very good at it, universally achieving high rankings on the main search engines.Don’t believe me?Simply search for any one of your competitors and see how many press references show up in the results.

And there’s more: judiciously choosing your keywords will ensure that widely used features like Google Alerts delivers your news right into the InBox of your target market.

5. Providing Engaging Social Content

Even within the social media industry, it is now acknowledged that - in a world where more and more content is being produced by marketeers eager to get in front of their audience - social engagement in the face of such background noise is falling off a cliff, down by up to 50% since 2015 in some cases.

The one area bucking that trend is ‘news’ which still manages to rise above the background cacophony.The recent BuzzSumo/LinkedIn report, entitled ‘The DNA Behind the World’s Most Successful Content’ found that ‘news and trends-related pieces’ are most likely to be among the most shared posts for both the tech and healthcare communities. And their impact increases when they reference credible sources of research.

So spreading the word of your appearance in the news media is still a great way of engaging your audience, whether on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or any other social platform.

Clearly, the regularly recurring reports of the demise of PR are premature – PR has merely morphed, shape-shifted.

If anything, it is the very maturity of PR’s well developed techniques that are its strongest suit. As a 'legacy' communications strategy, PR has successfully adapted over time to take advantage of developments in communications and technology, while at the same time retaining the tried and trusted elements that made it so successful.

(Pic: Autumn Leaves)

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