“Tech is really mainstream,” said TJ Snyder, partner at The OutCast Agency, during a conversation with us this week. “Tech is now part of every story.”
From HP to Facebook to Apple, the doings at tech and digital companies is filling up the news cycle. We spoke with Snyder to get a sense of how this is impacting the tech PR sector. On top of his list of tips and trends is finding a way to stand out now that the news is overflowing with tech items.
“Pitching is not just, ‘Here’s my news. Please write a story,'” he said. “If you’re smart about it, you’re not just telling people the news, people have to understand how to use the technology.”
Besides giving reporters and audiences the how-tos on technology, making the news compelling is important.
“We just keep saying, ‘Think and act like a startup,'” Snyder adds. “You can’t just sort of sit on your heels and do things the way you always did.” For many, he adds, startups represent innovation, which makes a good story. Companies and their marketers should be asking themselves how they can take a risk, have some fun, and/or reach new stakeholders, including both customers and talent.
To that end, tech companies (like others) should be using technology to enhance their efforts. This can mean Facebook polls and Tweetups, or Flickr and Twitpics. Moreover, fear not the infographic. They’re everywhere.
“Make sure that it’s very clear what point you’re trying to make [with your infographic],” Snyder said. All the information should tell the same story and the visuals should be easy to relate to. For instance, for client VMWare, a software company, The OutCast Agency created an infographic using a football analogy that was not “so techy, more mainstream.”
Finally, Snyder says that publicists in the tech space must be ready to talk about measurement in ways that are less tied to the number of downloads or users a technology gets and closer to business goals.
“You need to think about business metrics that relate to monetization, so you’re thinking about time spent, repeat customers,… the cost to the business for getting and keeping those customers,” said Snyder.
This isn’t just a way to report information between PR and the client, but also to the media.
“A reporter won’t write every time you have a million downloads.”
Looking forward, Snyder advises to keep an eye out for the October issue of Vanity Fair, which will feature its annual “New Establishment” list and could include more notable names from the tech world than past years.
And, for the holidays, technology that fits into people’s daily lives will likely be hot, such as smartphones and tablets. Anything mobile that can be customized to bring information and features people want will be high on wish lists.