Tech PR is dead. Newsrooms are exhausted and understaffed. There is too much noise. There are not enough journalists.
The model no longer works.
If you want to build an audience and a brand, it's about going niche and focusing on building a content channel people love. The way you reach and engage your audience has changed. It's no longer about being the loudest voice in the room. You need to be more selective about whom you target and what you say. You have to seek opportunities for relationships with passionate people who care about your brand rather than just throwing pitches at them. Press releases are not going to cut it anymore.
If you ask any journalist -- every journalist -- you'll get the same answer. Their inboxes are full up. There is so much noise that filtering through it is almost a full-time job. Add to that that they're understaffed. Some major publications have one solitary tech writer. It's rough. In the digital age, journalists' jobs have changed drastically. There are so many sources and there's so much information that it can be hard to decide what to put out there. Worse yet, journalists need to produce content as fast as possible to keep up with their constantly connected audience.
The noise that clogs our inboxes is just a drop in the bucket. The media landscape is changing so rapidly that it's difficult for journalists to stay on top of everything they should read, watch, or listen to.
Then you look at the current climate and how much Covid-19 dominates the news and takes away from good stories that journalists want to write but can't fight for the column inches, and it becomes clear that your brand is not likely to cut through anymore. It's just not.
They won't say it out loud -- they can't -- but every major PR firm knows this, and they're feeling it. I'm talking about billion-dollar agencies struggling to land 10 percent of their planned coverage.
The landscape is changing, and because of rapid technological advancement, traditional methods are on the decline. But while these firms may be feeling the pressure, it seems like they have the perfect opportunity to adopt a better approach.
Noise and clutter may make it more difficult to find relevant information, but it also forces us to get creative about how we find stories. Journalists can still find great stories buried beneath the headlines by exploring new sources and digging deep into old ones.
My recommendation: Transparently, consistently tell your own story. Tell it somewhere you own. Tell it on your channels. Make those channels shine. Appeal to more minor writers and content creators and partner with them.
The future of communicating is in owning content channels, going niche, supporting and partnering with creators, building brand equity and brand love, and growing community. That's it. That's where it's heading. That's where your effort should be. That's where your money should go.
You're not selling a product; you're selling your story. Unfiltered, honest, and independent content is the key to success in today's world. It doesn't matter what industry you are in or what kind of business you run. Whether it's food tech, space tech, or fintech -- your customers want to know whom they are buying from and why they should trust you. They want to see your struggles and successes. And they want to be part of something bigger than themselves because that gives them purpose. That way, they can feel like they have a voice and that their opinions matter. You don't need to go broke on unnoticed PR campaigns when you can tell a captivating story online -- and share your news with the press only when it's news.
The demand for technology news is bigger than ever. There are more tech companies, more startups, and more VCs than ever before. The appetite is there. But it's not a journalist's job to create content for you; their job is to report on and cover the news.
Creating content is your job. So, do it.