Thinking Beyond Tech Blogs to Launch Startups

In 2010, getting press coverage for a new tech startup or product was fairly easy. There was a cadre of online news outlets focused exclusively on the technology industry, and most boasted large editorial teams. Sending a press release under embargo would reliably generate half a dozen posts on launch day.

Today, the media landscape is considerably more complicated. One of the leading tech blogs founded in 2006, Gigaom, abruptly shut down several weeks ago. Many analysts suggested that the meteoric rise of news websites like BuzzFeed and Vice – which cover technology, among other topics – are edging out more niche publications.

Today, nearly every mainstream publication includes some type of technology coverage, and the tech blogs that dutifully reported on startups half a decade ago today focus mostly on industry heavyweights (Amazon, Google) and former startups that are now billion-dollar companies (Uber, Snapchat). Because the barriers to starting a tech company are lower than ever before, the competition for startups to secure coverage in an outlet like TechCrunch or Re/Code is fierce – their reporters are busy covering Target’s data breach or Starbucks’ new online delivery service, not to mention Apple or Facebook’s news du jour.

The good news is that, because every company is now a tech company, most reporters are open to covering startups as long as they’re related to their beat. The bad news is that being a tech company is no longer a differentiator, something that would make a reporter excited to cover one of our clients.

At Ditto, we work with several “tech companies,” including ones in the education, health and advertising sectors. Because most of our clients who hire us want to use PR to accomplish business objectives – in many cases, customer acquisition – our outreach is strategic, keeping the goal of reaching end-users in mind.

One of our clients is a specialized online SAT tutoring company, so its customers – the people actually making the decision to purchase its services – are parents of high school-aged children. Therefore, we’ve focused on targeting the outlets read by upper-middle-class people in their 40s and 50s: The New York Times, daily newspapers in affluent areas and regional parenting publications. For the most part, this company’s customer base probably doesn’t read Wired or Mashable.

On the other hand, some of our other tech clients have a customer base that has an interest in or affinity for technology. Another client, a company that creates video game-based corporate wellness programs, recently forged relationships with reporters at top-tier tech blogs, fitness publications and newspapers alike by providing a strong point of view on the Apple Watch. Because this company creates products with a more widespread appeal, it makes sense to target a broader range of publications with a pitch a large group of reporters would be interested in.

The technology boom over the last decade generated a frenzy, apprehension, déjà vu and, finally, fatigue. The lasting effect is a more widespread interest in how companies can use technology to create better, more effective and/or more affordable products and services, but being a tech company is no longer in and of itself interesting. At the end of the day, our approach for our tech clients isn’t any different from that of our other clients. We continuously think of ways they can insert themselves into the conversations related to their industries and strive to make sure our efforts are reaching the type of customers or influencers they want to target.