Technical PR is something that Pinnacle Marketing has been specialising in for years, but, with the boundaries between marketing communications disciplines becoming more fluid, what do we currently mean by “technical PR” and how does it enable companies to reach their goals and sell more product?
Most people probably already know what the term “PR” stands for. It’s “public relations” and although it’s a widely used phrase, it covers a large discipline.
Public relations can mean getting information out to potential customers, sharing business news, promoting new products or dealing with company reputations. Many companies may believe it just means sending out press releases, but it’s a lot more in-depth than that.
In traditional PR, a company, or its agent, will be looking to communicate with a target audience with the aim of forming a bond with them and maintaining a positive image. As people tend to buy from people they trust; they will also buy off companies they trust. If time is spent building a relationship with the customer, trust will follow (assuming it’s done right) and that customer is more likely to engage with the business.
“If I had one dollar left, I’d spend it on PR” – Bill Gates
Technical PR and why it’s different
But how is technical PR any different to this?
The biggest difference it likely to be the audience. In many PR campaigns, the demographic of the audience, although quite targeted, is often comprised of a broad spectrum of potential customers. For this reason, the content used to engage with them can be fairly broad, too.
For example, although you can assume that people looking to buy mountaineering jackets are likely to be outdoor type people who go walking at the weekend, it’s also likely that the fashion conscious will be interested.
It’s the same with laptops, televisions and cars. You may have an idea of who your target audience is, but you still have to keep in mind that it might not be geeks, TV addicts and petrol-heads who will be buying your products.
Technical PR is different.
The type of company that would engage in tech PR or hire a company to do it for them is likely to have a very niche, targeted and savvy audience.
Companies who deal with cutting edge technology will be looking to position themselves as thought leaders with an audience of highly competent and skilled people who have been working in the industry for a long time. And you can’t find these people by doing an audience segmentation on Facebook.
Technical PR specialists will know their audience well, but they’ll also know their subject matter.
For it to work, a great technical PR campaign has to be understood thoroughly by the people running it. The campaigns are rarely just “fire and forget”, and very often the audience will need to be assured that the information they’re receiving is from a trustworthy source, and they will insist that the source knows what they’re talking about.
The role of social media
Of course, this doesn’t mean that tech PR hasn’t moved with the times. For many, social media is seen as just for social, meaningless interaction, the joke being that in order to post an image on Facebook, it must contain a cat. However, with billions of people using it, it would be a mistake to think that there’s no audience there for the more niche and technical content.
If you can understand the nuances of each social platform, you can find an audience for your products. The type of content, the way it is written and the messages it gives all need to be adjusted to fit in with each platform’s methods of information distribution, but there can be a rich seam of potential customers there, if you know where to look.
And this is the crux of technical public relations: knowing your audience, understanding their needs and being able to respond to their questions using the most appropriate channels.
If your product or service is complex, if you’ve often felt that “traditional PR just wouldn’t work” or you seem to think there’s no appetite for what you want to promote, give us a call. You may be pleasantly surprised at what technical PR can do for your business.