It’s highly likely that many of us in PR will want to dabble in new areas at some stage. In house or agency? B2B or B2C? Public or private? and that’s before we even consider the myriad of sectors that exist.
Finding myself at such a career juncture, I recently decided to make the not so insubstantial leap from consumer luxury brands to B2B tech. One minute I was pitching champagne and chocolate, the next it was real-time bidding ad technology. If you’re also thinking of making the leap into this brave new world of tech, here are some the major changes that I’ve experienced in the last few months.
De-fluffing is harder than you think
Going from ‘fluffy’ PR (as I call it) to more factual and serious PR meant that journalists no longer have time for small talk like those who work in luxury food and drink. Instead, I now to have to compress my pitch into 30 seconds and talk in facts and statistics rather than about some chocolate that is filled with praline from the island of whogivesadamn!
Breakups can be hard
One of the hardest bits of moving to a different sector is all those contacts, favours, and friends you made with those top publications will no longer be relevant. I mean, why would Food and Travel talk to me about real time bidding or wearable tech? Just as when you started as a junior or intern, you’ll have to graft to make new contacts in a world you’re not experienced in = little fish big pond situation. Don’t look at this as a setback, keep in touch with those who you knew well but make new friends; you can never know too many journos!
Where have the girls gone?
A really noteworthy trend which is spreading around the industry like wildfire is the lack of women in the technology sector. From my perspective, it was less common to find men both PR’s and journalists working in the luxury sector so it seemed (from the inside anyway) that is was a very female-led industry. Moving over to tech has taught me that I need to fight a little harder and speak to some of those men folk but it feels damn good when you pull out the big guns (major coverage)!
Writing press releases for luxury clients meant there was always room for a bit of storytelling but with more B2B clients in the tech and app industry, the Disney days are sadly over. I mean, there still can be an element of fiction or fun but it’s now told in a different way that doesn’t shroud the facts in heavy stories or draw away from what message you’re trying to get out there. For example, Mickey Mouse is now a demographic that’s been made into an infographic that is quickly and easily digestible and more relevant to the journalist.
Getting noticed can be harder
You can’t exactly wave ‘an increase in app advertising on TV’ infographic in front of a journalist and tell them to taste it or review it so you’ll have to come up with other ways to show them how something works. Imagination, diversity in campaigns and a strategic approach to journalists is key to attracting attention as well as building those relationships and securing great coverage. I touched upon this in my last point but it’s a noteworthy lesson that’s hard learnt. Make sure when you do try to get noticed, you get noticed for the right reasons and this may mean repurposing content into a way you know the journalist will appreciate.
A lot of new terminology (especially the acronyms!)
Working in B2B tech means that the lines have blurred between traditional PR, SEO, content marketing and general B2B. This requires learning a lot of new terms – SEO, KPI, API, CAC, CPC etc. These will be flying around a lot in meetings and everyday conversation so make sure you brush up on those acronyms; this guide by Lindsay Kolowich @lkolo25 is really handy.
Knowledge is power
Going from one specialist area to another does require reading and anyone who says otherwise is either an expert in their industry or they’re downright lying. Tech is especially demanding when it comes to really knowing your stuff and requires a huge amount of regular reading to stay ahead of both your clients and the media. There are some great ways to keep up to date with tech news including Business Insider’s daily ‘10 things in tech you need to know today’ email. Likewise, Flipboard is an amazing resource for just for general tech news but also specialist areas. A quick daily read of these key news sources had really paid dividends.
Content needs to be sexy!
You heard me right, content needs to tick the right boxes for the right people and this
is a tough skill to master. I’ve learnt that it’s all well and good having solid press relationships but sometimes ‘a friendly favour’ just doesn’t cut the mustard. Creating great content from surveys, insights and data that will make them weak at the knees is what can be more important and at the end of the day, win you that piece of coverage. The simple fact is, I had to adapt to a unique model like in Gini Dietrich’s book, Spin Sucks, that covers paid, earnt, shared and owned media. It shows that every type of content is related in some way and once I understood those crossovers, it made complete sense and even helped me map out future content for my clients; minus the fluff!