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Designing a B2B PR Strategy to Reach Tech Buyers

A well-planned and executed B2B PR strategy should start showing solid results within two to three months.

Designing a B2B PR Strategy to Reach Tech Buyers

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Staff Editor

Got a new product, service, event, or announcement that you want to shout about from the mountaintops? Unfortunately, getting the attention of technology journalists and associated media and promoting your tech-related news isn’t easy these days.

That’s because there are a lot of PR experts angling to do the same thing, and technology reporters, publishers, and influencers are bombarded with messages on virtually every platform they subscribe to.

Related: Current Public Relations Trends in Technology Marketing

So how does a PR, marketing, sales, communications, IT, or product manager cleave through the clutter, connect with the right correspondent, and create better awareness of their new offering, brand, or latest information? Very carefully, the experts agree.

The difficulties of attracting tech media

“When targeting a specific industry or niche, it’s important to have a detailed plan,” suggests Fabiana Meléndez Ruiz, senior publicist at Zilker Media, an Austin, Texas-based agency.

“That starts with the right approach. You want to come across as an expert, especially in a target industry. This is not the time to be overly promotional with your pitching because it can make your organization or thought leadership seem disorganized and out of touch. Your aim is to provide value to the media you are reaching out to.”

Second, consider that there are a limited number of journalists and outlets that may cover topics of interest.

“If your focus is on cybersecurity, for example, you don’t want to burn through general contacts in the tech space by pitching randomly and not providing useful stories – you want to reach out to media that cover that specialty,” Ruiz continues.

Michael Farino, managing director at New Era Communications in Orange County, California, agrees.

“The greatest challenges that PR professionals face when creating and managing a PR strategy, especially for B2B tech industry targets, is understanding how to effectively and impactful communicate complicated subject matters and knowing how to make a media or customer target care about your brand, products, technology, etcetera,” he says.

“Another major challenge is understanding where different targets get their news and which channels they find most trustworthy and authentic.”

Designing a new media approach involves regularly analyzing the news cycle, obtaining insights into reporters’ current interests, and investigating emerging trends and economic drivers – particularly in today’s post-COVID world.

“Technology reporters are eager to hear more groundbreaking stories with a clear connection to business or a consumer impact that will catch their readers’ attention. As we move beyond the pandemic, PR teams will be tasked with developing innovative ideas that result in media engagement and coverage for their clients and that directly engage with influencers and consumers during the process,” explains Caitlin Haskins, vice president of AI, big data, and cloud at 10Fold Communications in Austin.

Thinking outside the box

Ask Joel Strauss, founder of Tel Aviv, Israel-headquartered Strauss Communications, and he’ll tell you that the most effective strategy to target technology professionals in 2021 is one that goes beyond classic PR and creates materials that can be sliced and diced.

“One example is to create a flagship research report combining a consumer angle based on a survey, with market research included,” says Strauss.

“The result is a newsworthy piece of pitchable content that journalists will be more interested in than a simple manufactured pitch or generic press release. It also creates a valuable basis for an email marketing campaign and webinar topic.”

Another approach is to create spec articles that highlight a client’s unique position as a thought leader in a particular niche.

“We’ve had great results with this strategy for a deep tech client working in the synthetic data space. We interviewed the top data science professionals in the company and worked with the editors at AI Multiple to produce pieces where the key message was ‘synthetic data, real results.’ This led to several inquiries from data leaders working in the financial services industry,” notes Nabeel Khalid, a marketing consultant who founded and runs Locals Talk in London.

Indeed, garnering exposure and getting tech media to pay attention often requires good storytelling. However, this can be the most challenging part for PR professionals who don’t fully understand the technology they’re pitching or the pain points that a product or technology addresses, cautions Farino.

“Remember that success means crafting compelling content – information that conveys value and is not full of empty jargon or hype,” says Bob Geller, president of Fusion PR in New York City.

Gathering the right teammates

Partnering with an appropriate PR agency to help you achieve your goals is one solution. But especially if you are handling PR internally, it’s crucial to get the right collaborators involved, including your heads of marketing, sales, and IT/data science.

“Product managers, engineers, and the C-suite usually have a role in the development and execution of a successful PR campaign,” Farino adds.

Read Next: What Made Hudl’s Smart Camera Product Launch a Resounding Success?

Involve internal subject matter experts, if possible, too.

“External experts can include agency staff, industry analysts, and other influencers,” Geller adds.

PR strategy action steps for B2B companies

For better tech PR campaign outcomes, it’s wise to follow proven best practices. Industry pros recommend the following tips:

Determine your goals. “What is your organization looking to accomplish through a PR strategy? Does it want to expand its thought leadership for key players, or do you want to generate more leads?” asks Ruiz. Collaborate closely with everyone involved in the PR effort and, eventually, get signoff on your strategies.

Position properly. Once you’ve set your objectives, consider the topics, angles, and pitches you can create that conform with these goals. “For instance, if your goal is to increase thought leadership, your angles need to be tied around topics that your CEO or CTO can discuss,” Ruiz suggests.

Identify your targets. Research journalists, publishers, broadcasters, media outlets, podcasters, bloggers, influencers, video channel hosts, and others that cover similar topics. Develop a media list and create a realistic timetable for pitching, follow-up, and execution of your overall PR strategy. “It’s a good rule of thumb to prepare to send media pitches, queries, and requests to the appropriate editor, producer, or booking coordinator. In the case of technology, it’s vital that your correspondence be directed to the person who covers that beat,” Rhonda Rees, president of Rhonda Rees Public Relations Company in Los Angeles, says.

Start pitching. Send customized and targeted pitches to particular media recipients via email and social platforms, blast out news releases as needed, and make initial or follow-up phone calls only where appropriate (remember that many journalists prefer not to be contacted by phone). “Try to craft a concise, clear message that immediately communicates why your target and their audience should care,” advises Farino.

Don’t overlook important social platforms in your strategy – especially LinkedIn. “Having a web/social media presence is very important today, and LinkedIn is the go-to vehicle to make and help solidify important business connections,” says Rees. “It’s not only considered a very appropriate platform to use, but it’s also a comfortable and safe way to participate with others.”

Track progress. Keep detailed reports of your outreach efforts, requests, declines, and media placements.

Lastly, set realistic expectations for your campaign.

“These strategies are going to take time,” Strauss says. “And your success will depend on the industry your campaign is targeting, the uniqueness and value of what you are promoting, the quality of data, insights, and news that you can share, and the level of collaboration between you and those involved internally or externally in your PR efforts.”