When it comes to generating positive PR for technology products, the Consumer Electronics Show is the year’s first big battleground. CES 2015 didn’t disappoint. From the spectacular – robots, self-driving cars, and drones — right down to the tacky (belfie sticks!), it gave some of the year’s thousands of tech products their 15 minutes of fame or more.
But every CES sets off a struggle between stressed-out PR professionals and the equally harried technology journalists who try to cover the top trends in just a few days. What does the annual gadgetfest teach us about technology PR tactics?
We monitor an email box for a leading tech publication and know firsthand how important a well-crafted email pitch or timely phone call can be for story placement. Here are the team’s tips.
Don’t pitch, start a negotiation
Technology media in particular are transactional. They need to break news, even if it’s a fresh data point or an exclusive demo. A one-on-one with a CEO of a me-too company about the state of the industry isn’t going to cut it. Go news or go home.
Lose the jargon
Instead of leveraging the “unique, industry-leading disruptive solution”, try stripping the buzzwords out of the pitch and focusing on the human factor. Technology is developed by actual people, for other people. Tell that story in simple terms.
Organize your assets
Make sure you have the most concise press backgrounder, highest-quality images, and most well prepared executive spokesperson to do show and tell. There’s no time to scramble for materials and very little margin for error. Bulletproof your product demo to avoid the buggy software review or glitchy product story.
Images are hugely useful, particularly when it comes to explaining a complicated service that isn’t a gadget. If the product isn’t physical, consider a graphic or animation. It will make a world of difference, and a strong visual is the best antidote to the tech jargon problem.
Solve a problem
Technology for its own sake can occasionally draw attention at a venue like CES if other elements are on display, but it doesn’t cut it in the longer run. The strongest technology stories are those that solve problems, save time or money, or help us glimpse an emerging trend.
Look at the bigger picture
All good PR professionals know to position their client as part of a broader trend, but the impulse can get lost in the heat of battle. The most compelling tech products or services are part of a larger story about connectivity, the Internet of things, our increasingly “smart” environment, or the very human struggle to master technology before it masters us.