In virtually every corner of technology there are a few tech giants dominating the media -- Apple, Google, Uber, Amazon, Tesla, Microsoft, Facebook, Cisco -- you get the picture.
If you’ve got a technology brand trying to get heard above the noise the big guys are making, good luck.
Take a hot industry like machine learning, virtual reality, robotics or autonomous vehicles and 90 percent of what we watch, read and listen to is about what those top brands are doing. You’re just lucky if you’re included.
But you are a company building the actual technological aspects that will disrupt the market.
You’re the science inside that is going to allow this technology to emerge. Your [insert: device, algorithm, software, chip, camera, board] is going to make this tech ready for mass market and allow it to go mainstream.
You’re not selling to the consumer.
You’re not trying to get downloads or Amazon sales or features in Good Housekeeping.
Maybe you’re selling a chip or a computer vision algorithm to an automotive OEM or a game console manufacturer. The people driving that car or playing games with that console will never hear of you, and that’s ok.
So why do you need PR?
Whether you’re fundraising and need the attention of investors, or you’re educating prospects and generating leads, you need key influencers to hear you, and for that to happen you must persuade them that your business, its services or products are worth their time to consider.
When you go in to pitch for Series A, you’ll need a press deck of all the media that have covered you driving awareness of your brand as a credible company that is disrupting the industry. PR is your most cost effective way to do this.
You can’t just go out blasting your message.
B2B PR requires targeted communication.
Only your audience(s) matters. The old adage, “any press is good press,” doesn’t work for B2B companies. Media and analysts who are well-versed on your industry are going to get you in front of the potential customers, partners and investors that you need to reach.
The good thing? Technology is sexy.
Even the ingredient-brand technology that is never seen or heard by the consumer can be sexy to media, investors and influencers.
You just have to sell it that way. Don’t shy away from techy concepts because you assume the media will think it is boring or complicated. B2B brands should highlight the complexity of the technology and use industry-specific messaging to get noticed as an expert.
A great way to do this is to issue hijack; follow the trends in the media and offer sector-specific commentary that only you can bring to the table.
Your PR team should help you drive the story. If the tech is very complex, the best way to get it across in a compelling and clear way is to control the narrative with your own original content. Media are stretched thin and more often than ever they are looking for subject matter experts to supply knowledgeable and interesting articles.
A good PR team should help you think of things you didn’t consider.
PR forces you to undergo an analysis of your competition and your customers and helps you define a message that is crucial for them. Let your PR team take you through a SWOT analysis (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) and you’ll be fascinated with what you learn about yourself and your business.
Take advantage of a media training from your agency -- this gets you to prepare and practice the tough questions.
PR professionals know what the media will ask. And the outside perspective from your agency usually brings up questions you didn’t think of. This kind of training not only helps you with your press interview prep, but it will help you with your investor and customer pitches as well.
Your PR partner should function as an extension of your marketing team.
You should bring them into the fold and expose them to your tech and your business goals. You have an NDA in place, use it.
You’re going to get more out of your agency if they’re involved in your business. In turn, they should know your industry and have a deep network of media and analyst connections in the space. They should get to know your business and the inner working culture of your team. How else will they write your story and tell it? They should function as your wing-man, helping to drive your business month after month.
B2B PR is all about shaping opinions. You have a ground-breaking tech, disruptive solution or industry enabling product – this puts you in a good spot to get noticed above the noise, but you need PR to break-through, elevate and build credibility.
Alex Crabb has 15 years of years of experience leading global tech PR and social media campaigns, creates programs that increase traction and garner global media attention in the marketplace. She is the VP at Caster Communications, a modern public relations, marketing and social media agency that specializes in helping electronics and technology clients expand their global reach. Connect with her or Caster Communications on Twitter at @AlexCrabb or @CasterComm. Find out more about Caster Communications and read their blog.
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