Public relations can do wonders for any business. However, there are plenty of technology professionals who could care less about marketing and often consider it a waste of resources.
It comes down to a discrepancy in priorities. Engineers and technology aficionados alike want resources dedicated to building, designing, developing and coding; meanwhile, venture capital firms, angel investors, boards of directors and executives charged with creating reputations, building brands and increasing bottom lines would much rather focus on new business development, marketing and sales.
So, what are the top reasons technology companies (software developers, managed IT services firms, application developers) consider leveraging public relations? Here’s our short list:
1. They want to gain and maintain credibility.
aka: street cred
Let’s face it: There’s a lot of technology industry noise. There’s always some newfangled idea, application or device prepping to take center stage. If your company isn’t in line to act similarly, you may find yourself floundering. Public relations is primarily focused on establishing reputations, which help create specific feelings about a person or business. When you build your reputation, it is mission critical that it engenders feelings of trust, confidence and success, as those ultimately lead to credibility – and credibility (not only in how you manage your business but how your product/service performs) is immensely valuable.
2. They’re looking to attract more talent.
aka: recruit super-smart engineers
It’s no secret that success begets success. Therefore, if a business already has amazing talent, it stands to reason it will want (and be able) to secure the best and brightest to further grow its name. Technology companies in particular are known for actively seeking out talent. Whether a genius coding engineer, rock star sales staff or exuberant executive, technology companies are always on the lookout. One of the best ways to attract optimal talent is to become the company everyone wants to work for (Facebook, Apple, Google, for example). Using public relations to generate positive feelings (see point No. 1) will assist with recruiting efforts. In fact, if you were to ask members of the tech companies above how they hired people, they’d likely tell you they did very little outreach because so many applicants bombard them every single day. Ease of recruitment is often considered a “silent” benefit of public relations.
3. They’re looking to increase business development.
aka: biz dev
Once they’ve created something sellable, most businesses want to sell it – and a lot of it. PR is a great tool to support an active sales stream. Before you can sell something, people need to (a) know about it; (b) feel that it’s a solution to a problem or has significant value; (c) be told why they need it. That means you’ll need a PR team to explain the details efficiently to a wide array of audiences so your sales team can focus on closing the deals.
4. They need to build brands and bottom lines.
aka: customer acquisition
Public relations professionals are experienced brand-builders; it’s a huge component of what we do well (see point No. 1). Most technology companies wish to extend their brands beyond the technology industry trade and, therefore, often leverage PR to share stories with national and global constituencies. While technology companies are exceptional at creating useful apps and gadgets, most will admit they aren’t successful storytellers. Enter public relations professionals who can take the most complex subjects and morph them into bite-sized morsels for all to consume. Through these efforts, buyers come forth and bottom lines begin to grow.
5. They seek to establish and maintain solid relationships.
aka: happy investors and staff
Public relations is a wonderful relationship tool that few use as frequently as they should. If your business is growing and sales numbers are increasing (points No. 3 and 4), your investors, venture capitalists, angel investors, board of directors and staff will all be incredibly happy. When your staff members feel supported (point No. 2), they, too, will have positive things to say about it. When stories are being developed about your industry (digitally, visually or in print) and your business’ phone rings for comment (point No. 1), it will be clear that public relations has played a key role in getting you to that point. Again, public relations focuses on reputations with the end goal of establishing and maintaining critical relationships with all audiences – internal and external.
To learn more about how public relations can support your technology business, download Axia Public Relations’ Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment e-book and we’ll walk you through all the reasons to add public relations as a line item in your annual budget.
Wendy Bulawa Agudelo has more than 15 years of experience in technology, business, consumer and non-profit public relations. In addition to serving on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress PR Task Force, Wendy enjoys cooking and rooting for her favorite New England sports teams.
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