It’s too easy to mistake confidence for competence in tech PR.
Inflated egos. Oversubscribed venture rounds. Name dropping (and heated social media debates that can feel more like war battles).
We experience lots of this. Landing that big TechCrunch profile will get your founder’s story seen and heard. (ICYMI: That's part of PR’s job.)
But behind the fast growth, money and prestige, in some cases, there are true innovators—or changemakers—who are doing special things to make our world a better place. We are proud to know and work with so many of them. We’re motivated by change, the only constant today, and we can’t think of any better challenge than translating a complex idea into an accessible story that can move culture forward.
And confidence, alone, won’t get you there. Here’s what entrepreneurs and business leaders really need to influence or make change happen:
Vision. What’s next? Help others see beyond today and imagine what’s possible. An executive can only rise as a thought leader—or changemaker—when they have a clear vision for how things must evolve over time or the people it will help.
Substance. Does PR work without a POV? No, it doesn’t. Real thought leadership requires you to lead with how you think, not what you do. And it needs to be authentic. Remember, manufactured ideas are easy to spot, and easier to ignore. Pro tip: always have data or proof points in your back pocket.
Relevance. Be part of the industry conversation happening now. You want to be relevant enough to be part of the news cycle, but differentiated enough to stand out.
Good intentions. Actions speak louder than words. Employees, customers and other key stakeholders are following, listening and watching your every move. Bad intentions can haunt you, especially when you post them online. Cancel culture isn’t just for celebrities.
Truths (and transparency). People trust business leaders more than the government. Always tell the truth; it’s almost always easier to deal with. If you don’t know an answer, say so. And immediately refute untruths.
Empathy. We’ve edited complexity out of our cultural storytelling. We want good or bad. Racist, sexist or ally. Winner or loser. And we want it in short bits we can scroll through. The capacity to handle complexity is at the heart of being in community with one another. Empathy is the fuel.
To learn more about our experience working with changemakers or fast-growing startups, subscribe to our newsletter or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura is the vice president of marketing at Inkhouse.