Written by David Brookes • Published 20th October 2016
Tech PR Tips: How to get your brand noticed
This week start-ups and tech heavyweights alike are swarming to The Tech Expo, London’s new technology exhibition and conference showcasing the best in emerging technologies. As part of the line-up for the event’s second year, The PHA Group’s Technology & Innovation team are hosting our own presentation to help innovators across a wide variety of industries learn how to get their brand noticed ahead of the competition. Here we give you an overview of our top tips for getting your tech brand in the press:
The buzz around the latest tech developments has never been greater. There has been an exponential increase in the number of ‘tech-specific’ journalists alone, with more and more other journalists including technology amongst their cluster of interests. But while the opportunities for technology to grab the headlines are numerous and wide-ranging, the competition is fierce, with journalists receiving hundreds of emails every day.
One of the most regular questions on brands’ lips with regards to getting their product the attention it deserves is: why aren’t journalists responding? There could be any of a number of issues, from your approach being ‘too pluggy’, a lack of personality, using overly technical language, or simply an email being missed due to the sheer volume of competition.
An important way to get your brand in the news is through company announcements. But it can be difficult to know which of your updates should be sent out to the press. It’s easy for brands to contract ‘baby isn’t beautiful’ syndrome, where being told that news from your company isn’t of interest is almost a personal affront. When launching your brand or bringing a new product to the market, structure your approach by asking yourself:
- What basic problem are you solving?
- What makes your offering different to others on the market?
- Why would someone read this news?
- Why should a journalist write about this now?
Reacting to the News Agenda
A vital strand of PR activity for your tech brand is to react to the news agenda. Large stories dominate the news agenda for the full day, if not longer. To ensure the story remains relevant, media outlets utilise expert commentary with strong opinions. Making sure your voice is the one that’s heard requires quick reflexes and snappy key messages. Remember to not shoehorn your company name into the news with no real purpose – ask what you can add to the story.
Using Your Expertise
Remember that your people are your greatest assets. Your company is made up of individuals with invaluable insights from success thus far and natural areas of expertise and opinions. For our 3D printer client, XYZprinting, we used their CEO’s expertise to secure them a slot on CNBC to talk about where the 3D printing industry is heading. Positioning your personnel as ‘experts’ can not only bring authority to your company name but also give the illusion that you’re bigger than you are.
Creative campaigns are a fantastic way to get your brand noticed in a fun way, generating a different type of coverage and reaching new audiences. The right campaign can have just as much impact as something more long-term. They also need not cost very much at all, so you can afford to experiment a little – but remember that timing (and a little bit of luck) is vital. For example, for conference call provider Powwownow, we created a #PowwowHelpMeNow campaign, where office workers could tweet in with an issue for Powwownow to help solve. One office tweeted in saying that their working space was too hot, so Powwownow helped them move their desks and entire office space to the roof. This was a shareable and visual campaign generating plenty of fun coverage with journalists which were otherwise difficult for a tech brand to reach. We’re not talking about stunts here – the campaign must be relevant to your brand and help position it in a constructive way. For Powwownow, whose aim is to help workers do their jobs more easily, a campaign to assist offices in need was relevant and beneficial to the brand’s image, and generated a social reach of 6.3 million.
Another key area of PR activity is based not on reacting to the news agenda, but on creating it. Brands can shape stories and headlines from data. All tech companies have data, but some don’t realise its PR value. Behaviour patterns and trends are often of interest to the press, helping to confirm theories or, alternatively, shock with unusual findings. If your company doesn’t have the necessary data for the story you’d like to create, you can make your own data through market research and surveys. These don’t have to cost the earth or take up time – three or four data points are enough to make a compelling story.
In order to humanise your brand, case studies are of great importance. However, not all case studies are born equal – think about:
- What does this case study provide / add?
- Will anyone care?
- What’s the wider story?
We’ve seen some fantastic case studies which have made the headlines in key titles for our clients. For photo-sharing app Flashgap, for example, we used the story of two brothers who went drinking in Birmingham and woke up in Cancun, and only patched their night together the next day by discovering photos from the app, which was covered by the Daily Star. For dating app Happn, a profile of the five most in-demand women on the app secured a double page spread in the Evening Standard.
Right now, tech is experiencing an incredible boom and hundreds of journalists are interested in the latest news. But with the massive competition out there, your brand needs to stand out. Above all, the content you provide to the press must be varied as well as helpful, informative, opinionated or entertaining.