Finding a PR agency isn't easy. Finding a tech PR agency is even harder because it is so specialist.
But fear not, we have compiled a list of the top five things you need to look out for when selecting an agency!
1. Knowledge (PR & Tech)
Above all you need a PR agency that eats, sleeps and breaths technology. They will understand the challenges and opportunities of 5G and IoT networks, know what a DDoS attack is, and understand the complexities of the channel.
Crucially though they will be adept at describing these things in plain English. For if PR is to work you'll need an agency that is quick to assimilate things, can cut through the jargon and present it to the press in a 'ready to run' story.
Talking of press, you need to be sure the team you work with can pick up the phone to a journalist and get your story coverage. And if you want a big bang for your buck then you need an agency that can go wide and deep.
What do we mean by that? It's good to have lots of press contacts, better still to have a meaningful relationship with them. A great agency will have the respect of the press. Journalists will know that when they are contacted by someone in the agency the story will be worth hearing.
But it's not just relationships with the press that count. You need an agency that will build relationships with your spokespeople too. One that will help your stakeholders feel comfortable with dealing with the press, guide and coach them, and crucially tease out the story that the press will want.
Plus, if you're international you need an agency that works not competes with the other agencies you select around the world.
3. Transparent PR
We mentioned bang for your buck. A good tech PR will be able to say what you can expect to get for your budget. They'll appraise your business in terms of how much news you will generate versus how much news you will need to manufacture for you to get coverage. They'll also know how often your field of expertise is featured in the press and will have a benchmark as to how much coverage you should expect.
This requires honesty from the outset. Some agencies might walk away if they think there isn't enough to work with. Others will be excited by the prospect of getting creative and finding ways to get your story out there with some lateral thinking.
4. Picky PR
No matter how long you've been in PR, you always get a buzz from seeing a story in print. It's addictive. That's why we think you'll be able spot an agency that thrives on results a mile off.
However, you need certain ingredients to make it work. Customer stories, interesting research, exciting news, controversial opinion all help. But that is easier said than done so don't be surprised if the agency you are courting puts you on trial too. A good tech PR will want to know you are adaptable in your thinking, willing to try new things, and are in a position to be reactive to secure opportunities that might not have existed 20 minutes ago. That's what gets results, and that's what sets apart a good from a great agency.
PR is a big commitment so it's well worth considering how the PR you generate could be put to use in other marketing initiatives. If you run research to create a news story then your agency should be advising you to create a report summarising the findings that you don't just give journalists but also send to clients and prospects, through to producing infographics with the key stats to use on social.
It pays to look at this from the outset and consider how your investment will stretch and what expertise the agency has beyond PR. Can they help with your lead generation, do they have a good design team? Can they build a PR strategy that works? Integrated marketing is so important today and a tech PR who gets this is worth their weight in gold.