Enterprise Tech PR: Rethinking the “Release, Pitch, Hope” Playbook

Oct 06, 2017 Ed Harrison

Throughout the month of October, members of InkHouse’s B2B technology practice are taking control of the Inklings blog. Ed Harrison continues the series today.

Earlier this week, I talked about “New Adventures in Tech PR”— an approach to enterprise technology storytelling that appeals to the emotions of prospective customers, partners and other key audiences.

Recently, The Boston Globe’s Andy Rosen, a relatively new addition to the the paper’s Business section, visited InkHouse for a company-wide Q&A. As Andy described his area of focus (“the intersection of money and innovation”), he stated, “I write about people, not technologies."

That six-word statement, made by someone whose charter broadly includes enterprise technology, is a great reminder of the challenge of B2B tech public relations: describing the effect of incredibly arcane technology (largely operating behind the scenes) on everyday people.

But first, let’s take a look back at the traditional playbook for B2B tech PRwhich I’ve described as “Release, Pitch, Hope.”

Is this still your firm’s PR playbook? If so, please read on as its flaws are increasingly obvious:

  • Release: Earlier this year, InkHouse queried more than 20 reporters regarding the state of the press release. Nearly every journalist shared feedback stating press releases are not the optimal tool to generate earned coverage, although they are valuable as a tool for fact-checking or background research.
  • Pitch: Unless you’re Apple, AmazonWholeFoods or Google, it’s increasingly hard to rise above today’s politically- and disaster-driven news stream. Additionally, the media universe is contracting, and the few who remain care about your new product or other company news.
  • Hope: Is your goal well-defined, or based on vague assumptions? Use your data to ensure the success of your campaign by aligning metrics to business goals.

For today’s enterprise technology PR, we recommend Create, Measure and Adapt. Create stories that resonate with people and share them with appropriate media (or write them yourself). Measure your results and how they map back to business goals. And if it’s not working, Adapt your approach in real time, based on reporter and audience feedback.

Stay tuned: we’ll examine this and more in future installments this month.

Topics: Enterprise Tech, PR
Ed Harrison

Ed Harrison is a senior vice president for InkHouse and leads the east coast's enterprise technology practice. He has led B2B tech PR programs for clients large and small since 1996.

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