There are well over 20,000 PR agencies in the UK and a fair percentage of these claim to be specialists in technology. So, if you’re looking to dip your toe in an industry of mixed reputation, where do you start?
1/ Specialise your PR search
This can be searching for anything from vertical or horizontal sector to region or specialism in size of business. Then, specialise your search accordingly. ‘Tech PR agency’, for instance, is a pretty broad term, so perhaps use:
- ‘B2B tech PR agency’;
- or ‘B2B tech PR agency for startups’;
- or ‘tech PR agencies specialising in x’.
Once you get to their website, client examples should give you a good idea of if you’re in the right place.
2/ Ask your network
Including people you’ve worked with or journalists.
Nothing beats word of mouth. It’s far better to hear from someone you trust than from the PR agency themselves. Hell, they would say that, and if they can’t sell themselves, then they won’t be able to sell you. Most of our clients come to us via recommendation and we feel the initial trust hurdle is overcome straight away. The focus then becomes on what the agency can deliver for you.
3/ Have a budget in mind
Or even better, have a budget!
Believe it or not, some clients come shopping before they have the investment signed off. Some even declare, “I have no budget”, which kind of defeats the point. If your budget is limited, that’s where you hone in on a specialist agency for startups or scaleups. But telling the agency how much you might have to spend will really help them to show you what value they can deliver, and get specific. Plus, if you tell others the same, then you can measure like-for-like and have a level playing field.
4/ Share your objectives
This needn’t be a full-on written brief, really – often a verbal one will do. But think about the outcomes you want to achieve from your tech PR campaign and see how they respond to those. Expect detail on deliverables and how they intend to get you there, with 3-month planning and a constant focus on exceeding those objectives.
After all, you should want this to be a long-term relationship, unless you just need some extra help with a project. Either way, both you and the agency want it to be a success and you’ll also have a partner to call on whenever required.
Once you’ve had an initial credentials meeting, get everyone who might be involved in a PR campaign in a room (ideally founder or exec) to get buy-in from them. It will help both sides from the outset, and the relationship should only build from there. Plus, if you are giving the tech PR agency the best of your vision, they will have the imagination to create your story.
If you’ve got a good agency, you should be very happy to present them to the most senior group in your organisation. And hopefully it will make for a fruitful (and fun) relationship, with quality not quantity input from your side.
Times are tough, so the budget you commit to this will have to achieve maximum results. You should feel pretty right after an initial agency meeting, but their prompt follow up with a tech PR proposal should obviously meet your expectations too. Like online dating, your initial gut feel should be right after the first one or two interactions, and you’ll save time, money and other woes down the line!
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