May 2019

Alive and thriving: Tech PR’s three vital signs

Written by Paul Maher

Alive and thriving: Tech PR’s three vital signs

Some believe in the power of PR. Others think it is dead. I think it’s just getting started. My belief is that the true power of skilled media relations is only now being realised in a world where a single (and frankly moronic) tweet can ensure a person never works again.

Bad PR today is worse than ever and can take you from popular to pariah in a millisecond.

PR gets a bad rep – for too long now, I’ve heard marketers bemoan the struggle they have when trying to attribute lead generation or sales to PR. The next sentence is typical: “…and for that reason, PR is dead”.

My response:

NEWS FLASH! It’s always been difficult attribute PR to sales – nothing in that respect has changed. Gone are the days when awareness alone would result in sales leads, we cannot and must not hold PR to ransom because it’s hard to work out which piece of coverage resulted in a big order. In the B2B tech space, PR alone cannot feed lead generation requirements, it needs to work together with content marketing and smart campaign-based prospect and influencer outreach to get the job done.

Marketing content has taken on a much more credible role in helping buyers formulate their decisions. Rather than seeking independent insight from a publication, they increasingly turn to vendors to solve their problems. This is especially true in the B2B tech space, where some of these buyer problems are so niche, a single publication cannot justify writing about it. A vendor that solves that problem (often multi-million dollar problems) can.

There are lots of bad PR people. As with any job, you get good and bad, but so many PR people are not results-driven or smart enough to get under the skin of their clients. This gives the rest of us a bad rep as over-priced, low-value, tactical storytellers.

So…PR isn’t dead.  Its influence has simply changed and is tainted by tricky measurement. This change is a nuanced one but does not make it any less powerful as a tactic. When wielded properly, PR can be one of the most powerful tools in the marketing department’s arsenal.

Remember, credibility is hard to earn, very easy to lose.

Let’s not forget PR’s power to make or break a brand. PR works wonders for brands looking to tell their story and gain credibility by appearing in publications relevant to their space. Here, the function of PR is not to simply ‘tell a story’. But to influence the media to generate positive coverage for a brand or an individual. It may be hard to measure but trust me, bad press or lost credibility is VERY easy to measure.

When dealing with any kind of coverage, here’s what to look out for.  

  • Monthly Unique Users – The reach of the publication is always important. It tells you the number of potential eyeballs may have seen a piece of coverage and also gives you an idea about how well read and engaged with the publication is. In this case, more is more.
  • Domain Authority – This metric is more important now than ever. Otherwise known as ‘DA’, it is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). Getting coverage is great, but only if it can be found. A good Domain Authority ensures the piece of coverage stands to be found and read time and time again
  • Message penetration and understanding of market issues – Lastly, a soft metric, but really important. Any coverage gained should provide value, while conveying expertise. Most B2B tech brands have a message, and getting this across is important to differentiate in the market and demonstrate the company’s value proposition.

PS: AVE is dead

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