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How Your Growing Tech Company Can Win At PR in 2022– And It’s Not How You Think

Cari Sommer, CEO of RAISE Communications.

Communications is busier than ever in 2022 (especially in tech!). A seemingly endless number of startups are cropping up at every corner, all clamoring for visibility in the news. As a result, reporters are being inundated with pitches and press releases with barely enough time to read through them, let alone cover them.

With PR as one of the best ways for a growing company to connect with potential customers, employees, and influencers, how should a company think about setting up for success for the next twelve months? How do you go wide with your message, without compromising your brand equity (an idea that was recently discussed in the “Just Checking In” podcast)? And how do you develop the credibility that can so often be seen as a competitive differentiator in a crowded landscape?

Here are some of the winning strategies that we see and advise:

Don’t Throw Everything At The Wall – It Won’t Stick

Too often, company leaders think a successful campaign is just blasting out a “hey, we’re here” message and assuming they’ll get media pickup. But, in fact, asking a PR team to cast a wide pitch net in the hopes of getting a hit can damage credibility. That kind of short-sighted approach is likely the reason that a 2021 Muck Rack survey found that 66% of journalists wish PR pros would stop calling them to pitch story ideas.

Instead, intentional messaging and a thoughtful content strategy are key. By being more deliberate about when and why you contact reporters, you can communicate your story in a more compelling way, while being respectful of reporters’ limited time and attention.

Be A Goal-Getter

Instead of looking at your tech PR plan as a sprint to securing coverage, the savviest PR specialists build short-term, medium-term and long-term objectives into their plan.

A solid short-term strategy includes taking advantage of owned content opportunities. If you have a story you want to tell, first tell it on your owned channels. Place your message on outlets like LinkedIn, Medium, your company’s blog and trade opinion pages. In addition to building a buzz, it can also be a great way to start mining the conversations you want to be in, without foisting on reporters a story they may not want to hear.

Sow The Seeds to Build Up to the Big Win

The medium-term strategy should be about setting your sights on longer-term relationships and building to earned media placements. Avoid simply blasting out the information you want the media to see. There are no points for effort in PR and this kind of saturation can backfire if it’s not a match for the outlet.

Think about the point of view your company can own and how that can add value to a targeted group of reporters. Aim for trade stories that amplify case studies and any other timely data that could dovetail with what reporters might already have in the pipeline. The focus here is on building relationships with reporters, whether it’s through earned content or simply gaining a deeper understanding of the type of story or sources your media contacts are looking for.

Only then can you build up to that big win that you’ve been eyeing for a while.  Building a credible brand through media takes time, and it’s important that you have the fundamentals in place.

Measure What’s Working– And Keep Going.

There are lots of ways to measure communications and PR and no shortage of tools to help you do it. But the simplest way to see the impact of your efforts is to see what people are responding to.  If you got a 700 word feature in a trade with smaller distribution, did that bring you more engaged enthusiasts than that one liner in the top-tier round-up?

Whatever your business objectives are, track back to those to see where your efforts are creating the greatest reward.

There are no overnight successes when it comes to a successful communications strategy, and it truly is part art and part science. But the ones who take the time to do it right and lay the foundation will reap the benefits of their efforts and generate media coverage– for all the right reasons.

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