There are lots of PR agencies that work with tech companies. So how do you know if the one you’re considering working with is right for your brand?
In this post, we’re going to outline some criteria to help you determine whether the PR company you’re vetting, or already working with, is right for you and your goals.
Let’s dive in!
Why choose a “tech PR” company, in the first place?
Public relations companies don’t always specialize in a specific industry—in fact, it’s safe to say that most don’t.
Part of that is because most PR pros are highly skilled at learning about each company they work with and using that knowledge to craft compelling angles (and if they need more, they know how to ask their clients the right questions).
So choosing a PR agency that specializes in your industry isn’t absolutely necessary.
However, does it help to have people working with you who are deeply familiar with industry trends, publications, and reporters who cover that particular beat?
This is why many of the most forward-thinking tech brands are partnering with tech PR companies.
These companies can offer a few advantages over other, more generalist PR companies, including:
- A solid understanding and knowledge of the technical side of the tech industry, from terminology and jargon, to which specs and features are the most important to highlight
- Close relationships with writers in the tech industry, from journalists, to bloggers, to influencers, to reviewers
- The ability to guide your executives through their thought leadership initiatives
- Knowledge of angles, trends, and topics that will resonate best with your audience, whether they’re consumers and users, or other tech companies
How do you choose the right tech PR company?
Now that we’ve covered why it can be a good idea for tech companies to work specifically with tech PR agencies, let’s look at what criteria you should be using to choose the right one—or evaluate the one you’re working with now.
By the way—you can use most of these criteria to evaluate a PR company no matter what industry you’re in, not just tech.
- Do they understand your brand?
Does your tech PR company “get” your brand? Do they understand your voice, the topics your leadership is well-suited to speak to, and your value proposition?
If you’re evaluating a company before signing, obviously it can be challenging to suss this out. The first thing to do is talk—not just email!—with the sales team about the process the PR agency has for getting to know your brand.
At Zen, we have several steps that we take clients through to make sure we represent them the way they want to be represented and show them in the best possible light. There’s a client questionnaire, where we gather basic information about the company and the brand’s overall narrative, as well a “Getting to Know You” call, in which we dig deeper into brand voice, topics, and values.
One thing that may be an option, depending on the company, is to work with them on a single project—a small campaign, an event announcement, or a few thought leadership placements—before signing a larger contract.
- Do you have a strong relationship with your account managers or points of contact?
How responsive is your account manager or PR specialist? Do they share information with the rest of the team on your account? Do they understand your product, from specs to benefits, well enough to generate multiple topics on multiple angles?
A great tech PR company will work hard to develop that relationship with you and your brand, and they won’t be afraid to switch out PR specialists if you’re not getting the results you want.
The bottom line here is whether they “get” what you’re doing. And this is something you’ll have to get a feel for—it’s not easily quantified.
- Did they try out your demo, or take the time to get familiar with your tech product?
If you’re asking a tech PR firm to represent your brand and your leaders, then it’s important that they get to actually see and use your product.
This is one element of the client-PR agency partnership that is sometimes overlooked, but it’s actually vital to the success of your work together.
With that PSA out of the way—once you do share your demo or product with your PR team, are they taking the time to get familiar with it? Do they understand how it works, and are they asking questions about what they don’t understand?
If not, this may be a sign that they’re either overextended or not willing to put in the time and effort it takes to truly understand your brand.
Either way, that’s a red flag.
- Do they have a good track record of placements for other tech brands?
Finally, look at their references and previous placements.
While the PR company may be restricted by non-disclosure agreements, they should be able to share at least general information about some of their past clients and the coverage they’ve earned those clients.
Tech PR companies that are true specialists will have strong relationships with multiple tech outlets, like Hackernoon or Engadget, as well as the review or discovery sites like ProductHunt. (Because, as anyone who works in the tech industry knows, sites like these are critical when it comes to getting your product into the hands of new users and building your buzz.)
- Are they seeking out podcasts, Product Hunt campaigns, fireside chats, and other non-traditional PR opportunities for your tech brand?
As valuable as print coverage in a tier-1 publication is (and it is), there’s so much more to tech PR these days.
Product Hunt campaigns, LinkedIn live streams, Clubhouse panels—these are great ways to connect not only with journalists, bloggers, and reviewers, but directly with potential customers.
That’s one thing about tech PR that’s unique when compared to other industries. Sure, the goal of PR is always to develop a relationship with the public (it’s called public relations for a reason).
But with tech products, it’s even more important to create those direct, unmediated relationships. In other words, you want to make sure your PR company is getting you opportunities to connect directly to users, and not just to journalists.
This is where podcasts, live streams, Product Hunt campaigns, and even influencer campaigns, come in.
Looking for a tech PR company that understands your brand? Give us a call—we may just be a great fit.