It's notoriously difficult to stand out in the technology industry. In even the most niche areas you'll likely find several players with similar ideas all scrapping for attention.
Even those with killer products or services are finding that the cream doesn't always rise to the top - not without a killer PR strategy to match.
Tech PR in particular has a crucial role to play in partnership with digital marketing and social media to create a buzz that cannot be ignored. That role is to deliver 'earned media', which may well be the most valuable asset of them all.
So what is earned media? And why does it matter so much?
Earned media is gained when one of your target media outlets, from a niche title to mainstream news, publishes an article that features you. It's not paid for (that's advertising), so you're purely involved on the strength of your PR communications, whether it's reacting to news in your industry and providing comment, doing an interview, issuing a press release, writing an opinion article and so on.
It matters because this type of coverage has real weight. A well-known reporter covering you in a respected outlet provides an independent endorsement. It shows you know what you're talking about, are respected in the industry and are a leading voice on developing trends.
This brings us on to the first reason why tech PR is more valuable than ever:
We're in the era of 'fake news', where audiences are more skeptical of what they see and read than ever before. That's a real-problem for any business that wants to rely purely on self-promotion.
The best businesses are using disruptive strategies to build their brand. Unconventional PR tactics that achieve earned media are helping businesses to achieve credibility in new ways.
Just as important is that earned media can be built on and used to power marketing and social media messaging. This means your audience knows you're authentic and have the backing of trustworthy and authoritative sources.
That brings us onto the second reason tech PR is so valuable:
Public relations, especially in the tech sector, is often about influence and relationships. It may sound like the beginnings of a self-help book, but once you have credibility through earned media the next stage is to build relationships, join (or even start) important conversations and have a real affect on your audience.
Yes, brands can do this directly with their audience through marketing and increasingly through social media channels. But it's often through media coverage that companies earn the right to exert real influence.
Effective PR has to cope with constant change - in the tech industry this often means daily shifts in the landscape - but there has to also be long-term goals to aim for, like raising awareness or lead generation. Gaining influence helps you to reach those goals.
Now, more than ever before, companies need to use strategic PR thinking to react to new situations rapidly, but to always have those long-term targets in mind.
Talking about long-term goals takes us to the final reason tech PR is so valuable:
PR hasn't traditionally been seen as a scalable method of outreach, at least not when compared to marketing and advertising. PR opportunities ebb and flow and there are no guarantees of success. Yes, individual PR campaigns can be powerful, but they are often separate projects with their own goals.
But developments in the measurement of PR activity are changing this. Digital tools and platforms can now inform us on the impact of our earned media. By reviewing coverage insights like estimated views, social shares and links back to your website, you remove a lot of guess work on the success of your outreach.
When you know you're on the right track, you can confidently put more effort into doing what you know has a positive impact.
It doesn't end there either, as you can continue to use your best earned media as a base for marketing activities. This snowball effect amplifies your best coverage, creates engaging shareable content and keeps you at the front of the pack.
If you'd like to find out more about creating a successful PR strategy and increasing the earned media you gain, let's talk and start with a free PR coverage review!