Positioning stories about your tech in the press offers credibility advantages that are so strong that other forms of content marketing seek to mimic it through techniques like ‘brand journalism’, and native advertising. But they can’t replicate the credibility of appearing in a real industry news source.
I recently came across an article about a prototype battery whose inventors claimed that its capacity increases over time. The article made clear that the reason this claim was to be treated seriously was because of who was making it – John B. Goodenough, who was co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery and who is ninety six years old, and is still researching and publishing.
However, the reason I had stopped to read it in the first place was not because of John B. Goodenough (who I admit I had never heard of), but because of where the article itself appeared: it was published in IEEE Spectrum, the flagship magazine and website of the IEEE, the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and the applied sciences. If a publication with that level of credibility was reporting this seemingly impossible breakthrough, I figured it was worth reading to discover more.
This is what properly managed media relations offers – the credibility and drawing power of a credible, believable source, which is then conferred onto the subject matter.
This is why coverage of tech which appears in good industry publications is so valued by C-level purchase decision makers in the tech sector as an influence on the purchase decision – they trust the objective view it offers. And it can also explain why - for tech companies - engagement with social media posts referring to media articles remains buoyant, despite all around social engagement being in steep decline. Despite what we hear all around us, influential people still believe in and are drawn to credible media stories.
And it is also why media coverage is so highly valued and sought after by marketers, to the point where they seek to imitate it. For example, we can see it in the rise of the content marketing technique known as ‘brand journalism’. ‘Brand journalism’ seeks to ape real journalism, mimicking its style and appearance in the hope that it will also acquire some of the credibility of the publications it seeks to imitate. 'Native advertising' (the form of advertising that seeks to mimic the style of the publication or website where it sits) is a similar ‘imitation’ play. And to a lesser extent, advertorial is the same - here in Ireland, an Irish government body recently caused a furore because advertorial space bought in local papers to promote one of its programmes wasn’t clearly marked as paid for ‘advertorial’. Newspaper proprietors suggested that this was deliberate and that they had beeen ressured to blur the lines. The government body in question was subsequently disbanded.
For SME tech companies, the message should be clear: even limited programmes of PR and media relations will deliver credibility and authenticity in a way other forms of content marketing covet but can never attain. 'Earned' media coverage is highly sought after, and is increasingly imitated through bought advertising. But of course, they can't buy the credibility of a real media appearance. That has to be earned.
By identifying your credible industry outlets and by pitching newsworthy stories to properly identified business and tech journalists, properly managed PR and media relations programmes can achieve the credibility of their sources in a way that ‘bought media’ like content marketing, brand journalism, native advertising and advertorial and commercial features can only dream about.
(Pic: Felicia Felicitara)