Apple switched its public relations into high gear this week for the release of the new Apple iPhone 7. While we all don’t have such sexy new product announcements, the consumer tech PR space is full of other great news of interest to relevant journalists and bloggers. We work with a variety of tech companies and are fortunate to have nurtured important media contacts in the industry. Here are some practices we advise to build and strengthen relationships of your own.
Who’s got the beat? Reporters cover the consumer tech beat from many angles – software, hardware, strictly product reviews or company profiles. Know which reporters cover which aspects of the industry before pitching them on your latest and greatest device. It’s been said here before, knowing what journos cover is the first step to appealing to them with your story. Conversely, blind pitching to anyone with a CE or consumer tech title in their byline will likely end up in the deletes.
Geography matters. We often work with international companies who make new product announcements in a particular region under embargo. Things can get complicated when their media break the story and US press find themselves behind the news curve. While there is no hard and fast solution for this, we work with our clients from the early stages to map out the geographic implications of an announcement and make sure the timing will benefit all reporters (and the company!)
Endurance = Rewards. You’ve scheduled a product demo, you’ve had the product manager speak to the reporter and it should be all systems go for some awesome press. But, due to an editor’s whims or breaking news, your story is shelved. This is the reality of working with the mercurial media, so patience should reign. Keep your cool with the contact and prepare the client from day one on the perils of media pitching. And, in many cases, the story pans out like this piece we placed in Inc. Magazine touting 3D printing client, WhiteClouds. After months of corresponding with the writer, the timing ultimately clicked when we brought him news of WhiteClouds’ development of a 3D printed brace worn by linebacker Thomas Davis in this yer’s Super Bowl.
Forget the formula. Not all media placements come from the “pitch, follow-up, interview” formula. We have found that simply starting a dialogue with a reporter – following their work, calling their attention to interesting developments, and making a point of checking in occasionally can have serendipitous results. After our team nurtered a relationship with Carley Knobloch, the leading digital lifestyle reporter opted to include Wearsafe in her TODAY show segment on tech this morning.
Perfect your timing. There’s something new in tech PR every day. The trick is to know when to avoid media outreach so that your news isn’t lost in a sea of other stories or how to piggyback onto the day’s news to benefit your story. Since much of the tech world news is leaked ahead of time, you can often strategize well in advance and determine which path will work best for a given pitch. For example, we leveraged the last significant Apple launch (Apple Watch) by attaching client Retale’s shopping app to the overall story. As with most PR success stories, it often comes down to thinking like a journalist.