How to PR for tech start ups

5WPR News
04.12.18

Bubbles, booms and unicorns, we’ve seen them all. The indisputable dominance of technology and the radical transformation it’s had on the way we live, work, socialize and relax appears to be at an all-time high. If you’re not a “tech” company in today’s day and age, you’re likely to be disrupted by one. For a growing number of industries, it’s not a matter of if — it’s when.

Nikki Parker, Vice President of Technology, Corporate, and Crisis, knows this all too well. Prior to joining 5W, she built her career at high-growth tech companies, running growth, performance, marketing, investor relations, and communications, an experience she sums up in one sentence: “I translate nerd into human.”

How does that work exactly?

Well, here are a few insight and tips, best expressed in her recent O’Dwyer’s article, that Parker has developed over her years in the industry:

Run your PR practice like a tech com­pany. A PR team, whether in-house or agency, should be an extension of the business. It should have the same organizational operating norms, to remove points of friction, it should drink from the same Kool-Aid and it should anticipate the pressures and opportunities that lay ahead. Having moved to an agency environment after more than a decade running the MarComs function in-house, this transition has re-emphasized to me how important it is for a tech PR team to think and operate like a tech company.

Solve a pain point. If this is touted as the most important piece of a successful tech company’s DNA, then why isn’t it the most important piece of your PR program? When pitching media, the impact of the product or service you are touting should shine through with every story angle. You must learn how to quickly and clearly make every person reading your pitch, no matter their knowledge level, know what your client’s value-add is.

Transparency — a.k.a. no B.S. — is key when communicating with an entrepreneur. Don’t PR your clients. Work together to set clear expectations from the start. While they live, breathe and believe in their technology, as PR professionals, we know that often it requires a lot of education, creative positioning and persistence to land coverage. Don’t be afraid to be real with your client; push back when necessary, but always offer alternative solutions to get results. Also, if a particular program isn’t working, let them know early and pivot.

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