As your business prepares a product launch or seeks new clients and investors, you may wonder how to create the buzz you need to succeed. Positive word-of-mouth and industry recognition can attract consumers, venture capital, and more. But in today’s fast-paced and fickle environment, capturing attention and genuine excitement can take time. That’s where a trusted PR Agency can help.
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What is PR?
PR is the set of strategies and tactics that help you communicate favorably with multiple audiences. Most people associate PR with how companies engage with the press. But modern companies realize they must deal with many more audiences to build and protect their reputation, aid marketing and sales efforts, and achieve their strategic business goals. These audiences include community groups, government agencies, investors, board members, and employees. Moreover, with the fragmentation of the media landscape, PR practitioners must look beyond traditional reporters when seeking to influence the public at large. Industry bloggers and influencers should also be a part of any effective PR strategy.
Types of PR
PR categorizes into different fields based on a company’s target audiences. For example, media relations is the most commonly known aspect of PR involving engagement with reporters. And while many people may not know the phrase production relations, it’s another type of PR they see. Production relations involve short-term PR efforts directly tied to product launches or promotions. This is the area where you consider buzz-building tactics. However, to maximize your likelihood of success, you’ll need to leverage each type of PR to some extent.
Community relations refers to engaging with local community groups and stakeholders. These groups, including neighborhood associations, nonprofits, unions, social service groups, and clubs, can hold outsized influence on public opinion in their community or region, so building a solid relationship and communicating with them is essential.
Internal relations involves your company’s relationship with its employees. When that relationship is vital, not only are employees generally more productive and likely to stick with you for longer periods. But you also may see employees spreading the word about your company on their own time. However, when those relations are poor, your company may be subject to anonymous negative reviews on employer sites or social media. You may also experience productivity declines and turnover.
Investor relations refers to your relations with investors. One component of investor relations involves the financial disclosures you are bound by statute, case law, and regulations to make to investors. However, you also must communicate regularly with investors, sharing good news and addressing complaints. Retaining and recruiting new investors will be easier if you do so.
Government relationsinvolve your communications and relationships with elected and appointed government officials and regulators. Given the ethical and legal prohibitions on government officials’ endorsements of private companies, don’t think of these relationships within the context of building buzz. However, strong relationships in this arena can help you advocate for laws and regulations that will help position your company for success. Further, many companies have found themselves on the wrong side of elected officials when community groups reach out to them over an unpopular company decision or offensive marketing gaffe. Maintaining strong government relations helps you mitigate reputational risk while helping you execute lobbying efforts to position your company for success.
How Effective is PR for Tech Companies?
When it comes to the tech sector, PR is well-suit to help position a company for success. Many tech companies rely on venture capital for early (and sometimes ongoing) operations. Having PR professionals well-versed in investor relations can ensure you’re in full regulatory compliance and can keep your investors happy. And because technology continues to advance at such a fast clip, the legal and regulatory environment for tech companies is highly dynamic. You need an effective government relations strategy to ensure that federal, state, and local agencies aren’t crafting laws that could put you at a severe competitive disadvantage.
Moreover, effective internal relations are also critical in an era of social media, employer review sites, and high-profile leaks. Without them, you could find yourself struggling to explain supposedly confidential memos to the press, investors, and regulators alike. And many companies have overlooked the power of community groups at their own peril. Some companies have been forced to halt construction and development projects entirely because of poor community relations. But on the flip side, engaging with these audiences respectfully and consistently can not only help minimize the risk of a PR crisis. It can also help prime them for your marketing and sales messages.
Of course, positive press engagement is important as well. Being validates by respected third parties, be they traditional newspapers or respected influencers, can help bolster your credibility and create excitement. And whether you’re a new company trying to get your name out there or an established one with a new product, positive PR is crucial for your success.
How Does PR Work for Tech Companies?
To communicate effectively with your audiences, PR professionals will use a range of tactics, including social media posting, press releases, stakeholder-focused or promotional events, or targeted ad campaigns. But how these tactics will be used will vary greatly depending on the message you’re looking to communicate and the intended audience. For example, if you’re hoping to build buzz for a product launch, you might couple in-person outreach to local influencers with social media outreach to longtime customers and an exclusive promotional event. Or, if you’re hoping to build support for a bill that will indirectly benefit your business if it becomes law, you might hold a series of in-person meetings with elected officials and key members from community groups while working with the press to generate favorable coverage of the bill in question.
Why Partner with PR Firm?
Garnering positive external PR can be challenging. It involves building and maintaining ongoing relationships with key outlets, understanding how the editorial process at these outlets works, and being able to pitch stories effectively. The time and expertise involved are things many tech companies simply don’t have in-house.
Moreover, other categories of PR involve specialized knowledge (investor relations), relationship management (community relations), or both (government relations). When you’re toggling between reviewing moderated usability test results, tech-stack analysis, client prospecting, second-round job interviews, and the millions of other things, you need to do each day. Finding the time for the ongoing work that effective PR requires is hard.
That’s why many tech firms build an ongoing relationship with PR firms—partnering with the same people over time results in considerable time and money savings. Since your partner understands you, your products and services, and your market, the public relations aspect of successfully running a company becomes more manageable. Within the technology sector, a great example of a leading Austin-based Public Relations agency that operates with deep industry expertise and insights is Prime | PR. Familiarity has the effect of underscoring your branding, advertising, and sales efforts. And because your partnering firm is singularly focused on PR, it can usually respond to emerging opportunities or threats more quickly than you can, while you’re focused on running your business.
Time spent finding a trusted partner to support and build your public-facing presence is well spent and the dividends will pay you well for years to come.