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The Definitive Guide to Public Relations for Tech Companies

PR is an incredibly useful tool for tech companies, when done correctly. This article will detail the benefits of PR and the problems that tech companies face that PR can provide a solution to. It will clearly outline some of the strategies we use at PRLab to help grow your company, including examples of how we have used PR in unique ways for a variety of businesses focusing on different niche industries.

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Introduction

When we think of technology, we tend to think of engineers, programmers and scientists. People who focus on objective truths and cold hard facts in their quest for knowledge and innovation. You might be one of these people and perhaps you have a great idea on your hands that you believe can bring about change in the world. Perhaps you have already begun developing this idea, and have yourself a tech startup.  

However, you won’t be alone, as due to our wonderful, creative nature, there are many startups vying for the attention of current and potential stakeholders. For this reason, we argue another type of innovation is needed for tech startups to grow, and that is technology PR. Technology and public relations may not seem like an obvious pairing, but this new type of enterprise tech PR is arising due to not only the proven benefits that PR has in growing a business but from the increasing involvement of technology in both our private and professional lives. As such, there is an increasing need for brands to differentiate themselves via effective communication.

There’s no doubt that the tech field is booming, and startups became the biggest source of new jobs in our current economy. The dark side of that is that the tech world is also getting cluttered with new businesses and solutions arising on a daily basis, which means, the fight for the attention of the media and target audiences is a real thing.

What is PR?

To understand the value of marketing tech PR we first need to understand PR in general. PR is commonly used to refer to situations where an individual or organization looks bad and needs help to restore a positive image in the public eye. While this is certainly true, this crisis management is only a small part of what PR is and what PR specialists get up to. The main role of PR is not to fix a negative image, but to establish a positive one in the first place. 

PR, or Public Relations, is the management of information and how it is communicated with a variety of parties; your stakeholders, your employees, investors, partners and of course your clients and consumers. Anyone who is interested in, or you want to be interested in your brand should be considered in your PR strategy.

However PR is not simply telling people how great you are, it is a bit more subtle than that. PR aims to get stories featured in the media that frame you or your brand in a positive narrative or story, which will have the effect of increasing brand awareness and establishing authority and credibility. With this understanding of PR, what is PR for tech companies?

What is PR Tech?

Firstly we need to define what a tech company is, and this is more nuanced than you might expect. According to Tech Nation, the definition of a tech company is a business that provides a digital technical service, product, platform or hardware, or heavily relies on it, as its primary source of revenue. 

With technology being so integral to almost every business, it is very easy to try and class yourself as a tech company, and it is certainly tempting to do so. Regardless of your industry be it fashion or finance, the boom of Silicon Valley has made it cool to give yourself this label, and as such identifying yourself as a tech company could be considered a PR move in itself. 

Technology PR therefore, is the art of building and maintaining a positive image of a company or organization that develops and distributes technology either as a product or service, or is heavily reliant on or driven by technology. But why is technology PR considered a different ball game to regular PR?

What is unique about PR for tech companies?

Of course there are some similarities between a regular startup and a tech company, but the focus on technology creates some unique differences between them. Firstly technology companies are rife with technical lingo that a lot of people will not be familiar with. It is therefore essential to cater your communications when you are communicating with experts compared to your average consumer. Messages filled with jargon are not terribly relatable and can make your value difficult to communicate.

Due to the rapid pace technology evolves at, technology PR is an incredibly fast paced and competitive industry. There are always new startups, new funding rounds and new innovations that make the media landscape a very crowded place. PR for technology companies has to move fast to remain on the cutting edge of breaking news and remain relevant. This turnover is also driven by an unprecedented level of private equity investment which is accelerating the development of companies and pushing them through their lifecycle at high speeds.

Common problems for tech startups

There are a myriad of problems PR can solve for your tech company, as having a communication strategy in place is very effective at increasing your visibility and growing your reputation. As a long term activity, PR seeks to grow your sales by creating trust between your brand and your stakeholders. No matter what stage your company is at, you will be on the lookout for new customers, clients, investors and partners. If people don’t know much about you, this can be challenging, as we are drawn to companies with established reputations. This lack of brand awareness can lead to the following problems.

  • Trouble seducing funding or investment
  • Attracting the best new talent to your company
  • Growing your customer and user base
  • Scaling up your business

Creating visibility for yourself through your own communication channels as well as getting featured in other publications is key to develop your startup and bring your technology to the world.

If you need more information on this topic, we advise you to read our PR guide for startups.

Why PR also works for small tech companies

When you think of traditional PR, you may think that it is only a viable strategy for established companies who have the money to maintain their image. This is a myth, and PR is in fact of great value to who needs media attention to establish credibility and grow their audience. There are actually some advantages that you have as a startup over more established companies.

  1. Smaller teams can react quicker to the news cycle.
  2. Less red tape. You don’t have to wait for approval through corporate hierarchies.
  3. More creativity. Work is often varied and shared and a smaller budget encourages innovation and original ideas to circumvent your limitations.
  4. Tight regulations can often tunnel out brilliant ideas.
  5. Trial and error for startups is more forgiving as a small reputation allows for a larger margin of error.

These reasons are why you should focus on your own company and not the strategies employed by larger corporations. Company credibility is build and established over time through strategic partnerships, improved SEO ranking and overall visibility of your brand, all of which can be covered by effective PR strategies.

Benefits of Technology PR

Let us look at the benefits of PR in more detail. As you can see, being a startup brings you some advantages that you can capitalize on to run an effective PR campaign. To help clarify why you should be investing resources into this, let us look at the benefits that PR can bring to your tech startup.

Builds trust and credibility. The more places your brand is seen, the more trust people will have in it. This is why getting media attention from established publications and speaking at reputable engagements generates interest, and is worth doing at any stage of your business. 

Increases organic traffic to your website. By frequently updating your communication channels with regular content, and getting your website featured as backlinks in other publications, you will be increasing the organic traffic to your website, thus increasing the possibility for new conversions.

Positions you as a thought leader. You can get your name featured in the media by providing insights into industry trends, and providing relevant answers for consumers. By being an engaged player in your industry, people will come to value your opinion, value which is added to your company. 

Creates a positive brand image. Having a PR strategy is about taking control of your brand and the story surrounding it. More than simply selling a product or service, PR is aiming to communicate your values and core principles. It is about letting people know you are not just selling something to make money, but to fix a problem. Effective communication demonstrates your value, and can make your business an integral part of a wider narrative.Grows your target market. Above all, PR aims to grow your target market. Each strategy employed is intended to help you either reach new stakeholders, or strengthen relationships with existing ones, building both brand awareness and brand authority in a variety of parties.

Marketing tech PR Strategies

Although PR is focused on securing media coverage for your brand, PR is most successful when integrated into your overall marketing efforts. You can check out our services pages to get a better understanding of PRLabs integrated approach to PR, but let us go over some of these to see what strategies PR uses to increase your brand visibility.

Thought leadership

While often overlooked, thought leadership is considered a core component in marketing. When building on your reputation as an expert in your field, leveraging your opinion as an individual or representative of a company carries a greater weight and boosts your influence across the industry. 

By becoming an opinion leader, you position yourself as someone who profoundly understands the industry, business, the needs of its audience and the broader marketplace. With more than 83% of actual buyers believing thought leadership builds trust in the organisation, using this strategy can prove very valuable for your startup or scaleup. 

Due to the highly specialized nature of tech companies, thought leadership strategies can really demonstrate your expertise within your field if you provide the answers that your audience is looking for. This not only means people have increased trust in your brand, but will search you out for your valuable insights.

Social media management

In the last twenty years, social media has evolved and matured into very effective tools for sharing content. Having a strategy for the management of the various platforms you can use is a great way to take advantage of accessible ways of reaching your audience. By having a consistent presence on social media, you have opportunities for honest communication with your customers, and making their experience more rewarding and engaging.

However, social media is not only used for sharing content, but to also help you understand your target audience and use this knowledge to create truly engaging media that is catered to the needs and desires of your consumers. This enables you to have a personality that reflects the core values of your brand. As a tech startup, developing a brand personality is important to distinguish yourself from your competitors, and to easily provide answers to the particularly niche questions that often come with being a tech startup.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is another PR strategy that should be on your radar as a tech company. Simply put, it is the process of improving your website to increase the quantity and quality of traffic from a search engine’s organic results. The better visibility your page has in a search result, for the more attention and prospective customers you will attract.

SEO works by optimizing the various factors that search engines use to index pages. Given the thousands of results related to a search, by optimizing for a search engine algorithm a page will be displayed in the results.

There are a variety of factors considered by search engines that impact a website’s performance. These factors include the relevance and usefulness of the content itself, and the architecture of the site, that is its load speed, security and usability. Search engines will also look at backlinks, which are links that lead to your website from other sites. Quality as well as quantity of backlinks is important.

You might already be able to see the benefit then of PR securing your brand media mentions, as being linked from a top tier publication means that you will do better in consumers search results, and thus be more visible, more credible and more likely to make a conversion.

Content marketing

This is a strategy that focuses on developing consistent high quality content. You may think as a tech company that technology should be the focus, and you are right, you do need to make sure your product or service is well researched and developed. However, in order to effectively sell it and create awareness of its existence, you should also invest time in producing content.

Consistent content is absolutely key in reaching and developing potential customers as it communicates the value of your business. By educating your audience, ensuring their awareness of your business’s and industry’s processes will make it easier to translate this value into sales and accelerate your growth.

Internal Communication

This is often overlooked by companies, as it isn’t directly focused on growing the external awareness of your brand among your stakeholders. However, it is just as important and is a valuable asset to your business.

When done correctly, internal communications can help your employees to internalise your business’s values, inspiring in them a sense of purpose and turning them into effective brand ambassadors. Employees are the ones delivering your product, so communicating updates to them means that everyone is on the same page, streamlining processes and encouraging team spirit.

Growth Hacking 

Growth hacking is a relatively new process that has earned idolization from around the globe and has become a go to method for growing a startup. Its goal is to acquire as many users as possible in a short period of time or with a limited budget while still considering customer retention. This strategy works through rapid testing of ideas, which is great for startups considering their advantages of little red tape and low risk. 

Due to the incredible diversity of technology we have, these strategies can be applied to a vast range of industries. To demonstrate how PR can be of use to a tech company, let us look at MedTech, FinTech, HighTech and SaaS companies to see how PR was implemented to boost their sales and grow their company.

Example of PR for MedTech

Medical Technology, sometimes shortened to MedTech, is a field of companies that focus on developing technologies that have a use in medicine. MedTech Europe, a leading trade association that represents the medical technology industries, defines MedTech as this.

Medical technology is any technology used to save lives or transform the health of individuals. In many forms, medical technology is already diagnosing, monitoring and treating virtually every disease of condition that affects us. 

So MedTech can be seen as the synergy between medicine and technology and covers a very wide range of devices, software and products that are used to improve and prolong human life. This means that although the product might be highly technical, the results and impact on our lives are very personal.

Let’s look at Siilo, a client of PRLab that the agency has been working hard on positioning during the last year. It all started when Siilo realized that they needed to educate an audience on the importance of using modern solutions for communication in the medical field. Doctors have been relying on whatsapp and Fax machines to communicate with each other, and Siilo wanted to offer insights into new methods.

PRLab first sat together with the CEO and COO to understand Siilo’s take into the MedTech field. We then created a master document detailing all the content we would create as well as all the stories we would push into the media to make sure Siilo was seen as a voice in the field of Health-Tech. 

Then we started pitching this content with great success, landing coverage in tier 1 outlets such as The Financial Times of The Netherlands and Business AM in Belgium. This strategy helps to position Siilo as a thought leader in their industry, demonstrating their knowledge within the field.

Example of PR for FinTech

FinTech refers to financial technology, which is tech that aims to improve and automate the delivery of financial services. With the internet and smartphone revolution, FinTech has experienced a massive boom, and what was once the realm of offices and trading firms is now present in our personal and commercial financing. 

An example of a FinTech company using PR is Chargebee. Chargebee helps individuals, small businesses and enterprises automate the setup and management of their billing, subscription, revenue operations and compliance. The past few years has seen rising demand for a subscription model, which is why Chargebee was able to secure their series F funding round, and wanted to use PR to spread the news far and wide.

We researched and analysed the industry to find the most relevant press to target with our media pitches. After a week we secured over 10 pieces of news as well as some interview coverage on the day of the launch. With coverage from top tier publications around the globe, the story went out to an audience of 128 million, with the estimated coverage views 133,000.

Funding PR is a great way to build your credibility. This is because it is demonstrating interest and trust from investors, which helps build further trust amongst your audience. You can find out more about our funding PR services here.

Example of PR for HighTech

High Tech companies are those that are developing cutting edge technology, defined by their development of the most complex or newest technology available. These companies are really working at the frontier of technology, which provides ample opportunity to talk about the exciting work you are doing, and value you are bringing to society.

3DHubs is a great example of how a HighTech company used PR as a tool for growing their business. 3DHubs is an online platform for on demand manufacturing and prototyping. Although they are developing cutting edge services, manufacturing is not the most exciting of industries. 

However they gained a lot of awareness for their work during the covid crisis. Rather than just focusing on the service they offer, they focused on the value of their service. During the shortage of PPE during the early days of the coronavirus crisis, 3DHubs utilized their network of producers and distributors to manufacture PPE and get it to the hands of essential workers around the world.

Example of PR for B2B and SaaS

PR can also be of great use to b2b and SaaS companies. A b2b company is one that makes transactions between one business and another rather than offering a service or product to customers (B2C). SaaS stands for Software as a Service, and is a delivery model in which software is cloud based and licenced on a subscription basis so it can be accessed anywhere. It is a common delivery model for many business applications in use by both big and small companies, and could be considered the default distribution method for every type of business technology in the world. 

An example of an SaaS PR being utilized by a tech company is Recruitee. Recruitee is a company that offers software to help businesses streamline and scale up their hiring process. They were successful at identifying the recruiting problems employers face, and developed an intuitive platform that was picked up by well known companies such as Starbucks, Toyota and Vice.

Being used by such established companies meant they recognised they were in a position to establish themselves as thought leaders within the HR industry, but they had very little current media presence to support their great product. As a SaaS PR agency, here at PRLab we helped them develop a story to frame their success in the greater context of low unemployment rates, which is an interesting angle for journalists and frames Recruitee as helping to solve this problem with their software. We also helped them to publish an industry report that came during the onset of the coronavirus crisis, which helped to inform recruiters how to adapt to the shifting industry trends. By providing answers in a time of crisis, Recruitee strengthened their position as a trustworthy business and as a thought leader. You can read more about our work with Recruitee on our case study page.

Conclusion

As you can see, the wide range of tech companies that exist mean there is no cookie cutter strategy for PR. Technology is also becoming increasingly integrated into our lives in almost every industry, giving rise to opportunities for new innovative ideas as our technology improves. With such a vast range of ideas being developed, marketing tech PR has never been easier, as it is clear that PR for tech companies is an essential tool to stand out and to provide the much needed answers people are looking for. 

You may have also realised that PR is not a simple task, and requires time and effort to develop key relationships and execute strategies that will increase your brand awareness. Working with a technology PR agency such as PRLab can be invaluable to a tech company who wants to focus on developing their technology PR. This is true for any business, but particularly for technology PR due to the fast pace of innovation and the media landscape. If reading this article has convinced you of the benefits of technology PR, you can get in touch with us and begin developing a PR strategy today.

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