Make IT in PR

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by Rachel Chandler.
Posted on April 27, 2016, at 9:30 p.m.

Technology and its advancements have had an obvious effect on the work field and how we grasp the professional world today. In the past, public relations was purely focused on reaching the most high-profile news writers to get a message across, but with the help of modern progress, the industry now reaches deeper.

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Todd Cione, current SVP Sales – Applications OracleDirect, agreed.

“Technology has enabled PR professionals to influence markets, listen to customers and get messages out like never before,” he said.

Ed Zitron, founder of EZPR and a bold critic in the PR industry, explained his view on how some technology has affected the PR industry breakthrough.

“I think the advent of being able to quickly mail merge people from a big database has made the industry come into its own much in the same way that a spider egg sac explodes and many millions of spiders come into their own frightful existence,” he said.

There is a fine line between using technology to better the industry and using it to be uninteresting.

“Importantly, technology has allowed many PR people to create empty blogs of nonsense — advice to make PR people feel better about themselves,” Zitron said.

Nowadays it’s a matter of producing creative, non “mediocre newsletter-esque” messages to disseminate among numerous channels. PR firms and professionals need to perform in ways in which they stand out in the midst of all the noise. That means investing in digital productions for means of improvement, not irritation.

So, over the years we’ve seen how technology has affected the PR world, but what can PR do for the tech world?

Zitron has some advice for tech startups when asking for PR agency assistance.

“Focus on actual results you can get versus say a bunch of documents,” he said. “Also if your tech is fundamentally useless to the world, don’t expect a PR firm to make it useful.”

Technology companies call for some specialized needs in terms of marketing and PR efforts, so keep that in mind when approaching your campaign. Aside from creating strategies to push personal relations with the client and its audiences, agencies need to have the proper domain expertise to get projects done effectively.

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No, public relations professionals don’t need to be software engineers, but with the correct knowledge of tech communications and the ability to envision products “through the lens of techies and average users,” it’s easier to adjust techniques for our “increasingly tech savvy population.”

So, for a company’s up-and-coming technology, it’s vital to have the upper hand on how some products work. Again, it’s only necessary to scratch the surface about the products when carrying out a campaign because “cultivating and sustaining curiosity about the products” is key.

Taking the time to further one’s tech knowledge, though, can never hurt. According to an article in Information Week, companies are becoming more concentrated on hiring people “who have focused tech skills.” Instead of having an IT wiz do a simple tech task for an employee, so much time can be saved just by having some extra IT familiarity.

Cione discussed the importance of having some tech knowledge in any industry.

“Technology is a platform for all of business, including PR, and technology is disrupting most business models,” he said. “PR professionals must keep up with and exploit new technology trends to lead within their field.”

Carrying out an effective PR campaign for a technology company still entails the same basics as carrying one out for any company: Know your target audience and develop material that is impressive to them. BUT, if you know the new IT thing, you can spend more time producing front-line, innovative content that will grab anyone’s attention.

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