Public relations is an important and challenging function for most businesses. However, high tech software companies face unique obstacles and opportunities when it comes to PR. The fundamental principles of public communications don’t change from industry to industry, but let’s look at what’s different about PR in high tech software companies vs. traditional companies.
The Quantity of Outlets and Journalists
Just understanding the technology media landscape is a challenge for most software companies. The number of publications, blogs, forums, magazines, and social networks devoted to tech can be overwhelming. What’s more, different outlets and authors grow or shrink in importance all the time. Media monitoring is important for every type of business. For software firms, it is utterly essential and virtually impossible to achieve without sophisticated solutions designed for the purpose.
The Language Barrier
Technology producers and technology buyers often speak different languages. It can be difficult for people who are immersed in tech all day to recognize how foreign sounding their messages can be to lay people. High tech software firms must craft messages and stories that are understandable for both authors and their readers who are not familiar with the inner workings of computing. They must also rise to the challenge of telling stories that speak to the real-life impacts of technology and bring interest to a subject that many find boring.
There are more than 100,000 software and information technology (IT) services companies in the United States. More than 99% of them are under 500 employees, but some of the biggest companies in the world are among their number. This means that competition for press, attention, and share of voice is coming from everywhere. Successful PR for software companies involves careful attention to what the competition is saying, who’s talking about them, and what messages are resonating with the audience. Tech companies, more than others, need a strategy to stand out and earn both traditional and social media mentions.
A recently completed Social Buying Study from IDC concluded that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level or vice president executives use social media to support purchase decisions. For technology firms, reputation management stands out as an indispensable function that is supported by public relations in several ways. First, reputation monitoring helps identify trouble spots as well as successes to be leveraged. Next, PR feeds the social engine content that can be shared across networks. Finally, earned media increases a brand’s credibility. When third party articles and analysis are shared via social media, the company’s aura grows and its reputation is improved.
Public relations is growing in importance across the board in our more connected, information-driven and dynamic business environment. High tech software companies, are particularly impacted and should carefully consider their response to each of the unique challenges that they face.