Technology PR is
embedded in our ▒ DNA.
Our first client was a CD-ROM company called Meridian Data. The contraption the size of a washing machine made it possible for companies to place up to 200,000 pages of information on a compact disc, a radical concept at the time.
The News Release Alone Does Not Work in Tech PR
The internet has commoditized the news release in the tech sector.
Most people accept this statement as true. Few understand what exactly has transpired. With this in mind, we’ve charted a timeline that captures key milestones.
The news release was invented in 1906. With minimum effort, journalists could write stories based on a news release, and those stories appeared fresh because their readers couldn’t find the information elsewhere. This advantage disappeared in 1996 when news release distribution services started flinging announcements to the masses via the internet.
It took some time to erode the status quo. Muscle memory doesn’t change so easily in the world of journalism. Still, 25-plus years later, we can safely say that the commoditization of the news release is complete.
This memo hasn’t reached many consultancies (and companies).
Don’t misunderstand us. We’re not anti-news release.
Our client PR campaigns do include news releases for major announcements, elevating the customer’s voice and disclosure (for public companies). We also recognize that tech companies sometimes distribute news releases with objectives other than securing media coverage. That’s fine. What we don’t want to do is waste budget pitching the type of minor announcements that journalists don’t cover.
We turn the media spotlight on our clients by emphasizing one-off storytelling + thought leadership.
The news release plays a supporting role.
For a drill down into this topic, keep reading.
Aligning Tech PR “Supply” with Journalism “Demand”
The supply versus demand equation doesn’t play in favor of technology PR campaigns.
Applying supply-and-demand-economics theory to media relations, we came up with the following chart.
In simplistic terms, what journalists value the most is where most tech PR efforts spend the least amount of time, and what journalists value the least, the news release, is where tech PR goes all in.
Our rough calculations put the number of news releases distributed in the U.S. at 722,000 a few years ago. Figuring around 30 hours per news release — sourcing, writing, review cycles and editing — at $200 per hour translates into a $4,332,000,000 investment across the public relations industry (U.S.). No doubt, the investment in news releases on a global basis has only grown over time.
That’s a lot of money for a form of communications that often has the impact of wallpaper in your Aunt Zelda’s house.
Worse, it causes much of the rancor in the journalist/PR relationship. Companies, frustrated by the lack of ROI from announcements, send PR to pummel journalists into submission to write about announcements they don’t care about.
To better align PR-generated content with journalistic demand, our campaigns put more energy and investment in creating content that’s not in the public domain and thought leadership.
This is what journalists value.
Holistic Approach to Building Tech Brands
We have devoted a considerable amount of real estate to media relations because we know it’s often a critical success factor for any tech PR program.
With that said, we’re increasingly executing integrated campaigns that blend earned media, owned media and even paid media.
For example, it turns out there’s synergy to be had in the form of SEO — or what we come to call earned search — when combining PR and a corporate blog. In a sense, the corporate blog becomes a content marketing platform. In other cases, we’ve created integrated campaigns for talent acquisition.
While we customize each integrated campaign depending on what the client wants to achieve, the high-level thinking starts off in this form: