Jeff Bradford, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in Nashville, is the founder of the Bradford Group and president of Bradford Dalton Group, a full-service public relations and advertising agency with offices in Atlanta, Jacksonville and Nashville. We asked Jeff how technology companies can improve their public relations and generate more awareness. Here's what he shared:
Too often, tech business leaders misunderstand the importance of PR when it comes to building brand awareness for their new product or service. Though they have developed a product or service that will positively affect how people work and live, they overlook one simple fact: Most consumers have trouble understanding how technology works.
A survey by market research firm GlobalWebIndex, for example, found that 24 percent of consumers in 2019 said they do not know how computers and new technology work. That's up significantly from 15 percent in 2013.
In the 20 years I have worked in PR since founding my agency, I've worked closely with a wide variety of company founders and CEOs on their tech PR and marketing campaigns.
Here are six tips for effective tech PR that will help your company generate coverage:
1. Capitalize on current, trending news stories
With each year, technology becomes more embedded in everyday life. For most of us, not a day goes by that we haven't engaged with technology in some way--and the business and mainstream media is there to report on the latest and greatest app or gadget.
PR professionals should use the media's interest in reporting on technology trends to their advantage and pitch reporters and assignment editors story ideas that relate to your company's product or service. It is called newsjacking--and journalists are more open to story ideas that align with what is currently grabbing headlines. They are also looking for ideas that widen a previous story's scope and examine broader trends.
2. Keep your tech PR messaging simple
PR practitioners must remember that consumers are searching for simple answers to questions they may have about your product or service. So are reporters--and they want to add value to their stories by providing their audience with information that will help them make the best decisions.
Reporters are busy and are looking for high-level information. Using complicated, highly technical language or jargon will alienate the journalists covering your industry. When pitching the media, stick to the 5 Ws and 1H of basic journalism: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?
3. Stay focused on consumer benefits
Keeping it simple is essential to effective messaging. Yes, this is PR 101, but it is something that often gets lost in the shuffle because far too many marketers want to highlight technical details about why their product or service is better than the competition's. They are not focusing on the simple but meaningful benefits being offered to the target audience.
Consumers are looking for solutions when they are ready to buy a new product or service. Your PR outreach--in pitches, follow-up emails, and phone calls--must focus on consumer pain points and how your product or service will improve consumers' lives.
4. Find the human element
Behind every new purchase, there is a person--and every person has a story. Even the most complicated technology will have a human element to it.
When writing your pitch, show how your company's product or service is helping the customer. Reporters know that their readers or viewers will relate to stories that have a human touch.
5. Back up your media pitch with data
No story about tech products or services is complete without data to validate market interest. Tens of thousands of new products launch each year--and the companies behind those products are clamoring for the attention of reporters and editors.
The best way to differentiate your company's product or service is to provide journalists with customers they can interview (if your company policy allows) or data that shows consumer demand exists.
6. Know your (media) audience
A cardinal sin in PR is blindly sending pitches to reporters who do not cover your industry. You'd be surprised how many tech PR people don't do the homework to research the media outlets they are pitching.
The more niche your product or service, the closer the circle of media and industry trade publications that will write about your company. The best tech PR executives know reporters who cover their industry. They research the stories those journalists have published or aired. Establishing and nurturing those relationships over time will pay dividends.
Effectively communicating the benefits of technology-driven products and services can be challenging in an increasingly crowded and fragmented market. But when you focus on the basics--simple messages, the human element, and knowing the media you are pitching--you will generate the coverage you need to build brand awareness for your company.