Know Your Audience When Working with Tech Companies

Despite having several tech clients – including a coding academy, a health and wellness portal, a platform for managing student loans and an online tutoring service – most of the outlets we work with aren’t “tech blogs,” and most of the reporters we work with aren’t “tech reporters.”

Why not?

Having a tech component – even if it’s a huge part of the company’s DNA – is no longer newsworthy in and of itself. Most tech blogs have evolved to focus primarily on large tech companies like Amazon and Uber, so startups need to be more creative and look beyond the TechCrunches and Re/Codes of the world when it comes to securing coverage.

More importantly, for many of our clients (and many other startups), their potential clients or customers aren’t reading tech blogs. For example, the health and wellness platform wants to court company decision-makers: at smaller companies, that means C-suite executives; at larger companies, department heads or HR professionals. For that reason, our PR strategy has us targeting the publications those audiences consume, including top-tier business publications and HR trades.

Another example is that the coding academy offers courses for teens, so their parents are the decision-makers (i.e. the ones plunking down the credit cards and paying for those courses). We spend much of our time pitching stories around the benefits of learning to code at a young age to publications widely consumed by parents of teens, including local newspapers and morning and evening news programs.

That being said, there are times when it’s appropriate to pitch tech publications, including:

  • Funding announcements: This is also a great opportunity for tech companies to share what they’re working on (i.e. how they’re going to use the funding).
  • Major company or product launches: If the company is large enough or the product is game-changing enough, these types of announcements could receive attention in nationally-focused tech blogs. However, they are also scores of regionally-focused tech blogs that more closely follow the goings on of local tech companies.
  • Growth stories: Tech bloggers are open to covering company milestones, like surpassing a certain number of users.
  • Commentary on the tech industry: A recent example of this is when the health and wellness platform provided commentary on the Apple Watch, which received attention by business, fitness and tech publications. A strong point of view – especially one that challenges the status quo – is a must in this case.

Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that tech bloggers tend to work a bit differently than more traditional journalists do. While many journalists prefer to be able to talk to their sources and create their own angles, tech bloggers – who are usually responsible for producing a greater output of stories – seem more appreciative of being provided with a complete story. Many are open to receiving multimedia in the form of photos or videos and links to past coverage, which they often incorporate into their work. Ironically, although press releases sometimes seem a bit outdated, most tech reporters still appreciate and use them!

Unless they work for industry heavyweights, PR professionals who target tech publications all the time are spinning their wheels. However, approaching the right tech reporters with the right types of stories and, just as importantly, the right assets can result in getting clients’ names into these coveted publications.