Tech public relations requires executing at the foundational levels. While there are many steps to take beyond the basics, you need to get the basics right. If you can’t block and tackle, you’ll never gain a yard.
Rule #1: Use an Editorial Calendar
Whether you want to promote a particular milestone (such as a funding round or IPO) or intend a sustained, long-term public relations strategy, you need a detailed plan that sets out what your tech public relations communications efforts will be, when, and to whom. In public relations, it is critical to set out details of this plan in what we call an editorial calendar.
An effective calendar will specify in advance the dates when your team is going to execute specific tactics, the messages to be used on those dates, which vehicles the public relations team will leverage on those dates (e.g., earned media pitches, social media, influencer outreach), and the targeted stakeholders. This calendar should cover the length of your public relations efforts, from day one until the end.
The calendar serves multiple purposes. It ensures everyone is on the same page. It ensures the public relations team is focused on what counts and knows what it has to do. And it helps hold the public relations team accountable. Did they do what they were supposed to do?
Rule #2: Deliver the Goods
When it comes to public relations, the most compelling stories – the ones that resonate with stakeholders – are those that provide hard business facts coupled with anecdotes that personalize them. Thus, when explaining your company or investments, you want to point to a live product, actual customers or clients, or sales and other figures. These show both that your business is real and that you have something to offer those you’re reaching.
Vision is important – every successful company has vision. But, to forge connections with others through communications, you need to back up that vision with the facts about your product or service and your business.
Rule #3: Leaders, Get Media Trained
The best public relations firm will never be as powerful a voice as a company leader who can effectively communicate with reporters and other influencers. Working with reporters, in particular, is not an innate skill and can require different communications techniques than those used with investors, employees, or customers. Consequently, it’s worth it to invest some time in getting media trained.
Media training typically involves a few core components: reviewing key corporate messages; learning how to answer questions directly while pivoting to core messages; learning how to comport yourself and what to wear if on camera; specific techniques for print and broadcast interviews; and watching or listening to yourself practice afterwards with your trainer.
It may seem unnecessary, but all you need to do is read stories or watch interviews that appear every day to see how many corporate leaders haven’t taken the time to learn the basics and are now paying the price.
You will certainly want to move beyond these basics when developing and executing tech public relations, but these rules are critical to every step succeeding.