The simple answer is no.
Competition is good for business…or does it lead to a constant fear that your B2B Tech PR agency is achieving better coverage for your competitor? Clients blacklisting competitors from being on our books is common in the world of PR and marketing, but it’s not necessarily good for your PR.
Work with my cousins, not my siblings
An essential criterion when picking a B2B tech PR agency is that they have relevant experience working with companies in your industry. In your industry, sure, but not delivering the same thing.
Many companies think doing so will hamper their PR efforts. They may believe their competitor will steal coverage for them, or perhaps the agency will prefer the competitor and work harder for them. This opinion is totally misguided.
Working with clients who deliver similar technology solutions to similar audiences would have no effect on the quality and quantity of coverage achieved to each. A mature agency would also have processes in place to ensure different teams deliver PR for competing companies.
Jack of all trades, master of none
Blacklists have levels. Sometimes the demand can be as mentioned above – banning working with a direct competitor – delivering a similar product to a similar audience. But sometimes this can go one step further such as not working with any company in a subset of a sector. If we refused to work with anyone in a client’s sector we’d become a Jack of all trades, master of none.
As it happens, we work with a variety of tech businesses, several of which sit in cyber security. We’ve built up such a good reputation with national and business journalists, they now approach us for comments on cyber stories knowing we have the right clients in the right space who can deliver insightful additions to a story. Our cyber expertise is known, but it’s only made possible by working with several companies in the space. This means we have a holistic view of the cyber landscape from several angles. We know different technologies working in this space, each with their own thoughts and opinions on how to keep cyber safe.
Keep your agency enemies close
We all know the phrase “keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” For some reason when it comes to choosing a PR agency, companies forget this phrase. There are three key benefits from choosing a B2B Tech PR agency that works with a competitor:
Working with your competitors means an agency can get up and running as soon as you sign the dotted line because they already have knowledge of your tech. They might not know the minute details that separate you from your competition but they understand the use case, mission and end goal.
Another benefit is that the agency will already have strong contacts with all the journalists you want to speak to. But because they’re working with a competitor, they’ll be able to tell you what you need to change or say to stand out from the crowd. This doesn’t mean you get priority over the competitor, it means the journalist gets the best of both worlds. Two differing opinions from similar companies. It’s a journalist’s Holy Grail as nothing is worse than receiving comments that say the same thing.
In summary, competition really is good for business, especially if your B2B Tech PR agency is working with them. Two separate teams cross-pollinate ideas and connections, meaning double the amount of effort and potentially results that you may get if you ban your agency from working with a direct competitor. Be smart, not fearful. Trust your agency to deliver what they promise and if they don’t, they weren’t a good fit in the first place.