Understanding Tech PR: An interview with Debby Penton

The secrets of successful tech PR: An interview with Debby Penton
The secrets of successful tech PR: An interview with Debby Penton

In today’s day and age, getting publicity for technology business, events, products, and services is not that easy. Even if one manages to create a buzz, it’s difficult to sustain it over a long period. While you may be passionate about technology and talk about it at length, how should you package it for media is something you may not always know. To help you understand the nuances of tech PR better, here’s an interview with Debby Penton, MD of tech PR consultancy, Wildfire.

Debby has worked in tech PR and marketing for 20 years; devising and implementing campaigns for global leaders, start-ups and everything in between. Debby is the Chair of the PRCA technology group, and a regular judge on industry awards such as PRWeek, PRCA, and Holmes Report SABRE awards.

Tell us about Wildfire. What makes it special in the field of tech PR?

Wildfire is 100 percent focused on tech PR and always has been. The diversity of technology clients that we cover and depth of our understanding and experience really sets us apart from the competition.  You are equally likely to find someone at Wildfire as passionate about semiconductors, electrophoretic displays or cyber security as about customer experience platforms and the latest headphones. However, we don’t just talk tech. We know how to create stories that go way beyond features and functionality and the tech-savvy buyer to engage both consumer and C-level audiences, and everything in between. And those stories form the core of media and integrated marketing campaigns to drive measurable business impact for clients.

Tell us about Wildfire. What makes it special in the field of tech PR?

Wildfire is 100 percent focused on tech PR and always has been. The diversity of technology clients that we cover and depth of our understanding and experience really sets us apart from the competition.  You are equally likely to find someone at Wildfire as passionate about semiconductors, electrophoretic displays or cyber security as you are about customer experience platforms and the latest headphones. However, we don’t just talk tech. We know how to create stories that go way beyond features and functionality and the tech-savvy buyer to engage both consumer and C-level audiences, and everything in between. And those stories form the core of media and integrated marketing campaigns to drive measurable business impact for clients.

How is tech PR different from PR for other industries?

Tech PR is a very dynamic industry. We must keep pace with the rapid changes in the technology environment, often promoting a picture of the future rather than what’s available today. That means you have to think quickly and know how to tell stories that make your clients stand out in very competitive markets. Clients can change quickly too depending on the funding they receive and a lot of M&A activity, so you can never rest on your laurels in terms of generating results for clients, or focusing on new business.

How essential is content marketing and social media marketing for PR today?

While media relations is still a key focus for most PR agencies, we believe an integrated approach to communications is essential.  Wildfire’s campaigns have a strong story and content marketing at their core, which is supercharged with earned media coverage and amplified through paid, owned and social channels for maximum reach and impact.

How should tech start-ups approach PR for themselves?

Tech start-ups should approach PR as they would any other business-relationship building. Research the publications and journalists that will have the most influence with their target audience, whether they are investors or customers, take the time to understand what they’re interested in, and offer them an exclusive story about your product or service that will genuinely interest their readers. Remember that they are getting pitched to by hundreds of people every day, so your email, tweet or phone call really needs to stand out.

What role does SEO play in PR?

SEO is critical to building online visibility and reputation for brands. Google has made PR one of the most influential ways to improve your organic rankings through securing good backlinks from relevant and authoritative online publishers. On that basis, PR and SEO work hand in hand.

What is the key to successful and sustainable influencer marketing?

It’s important to have a clear strategy and process, and to stick it – success won’t happen overnight, and people want to see evidence of commitment to relationship building, authenticity, and reciprocity in those relationships.

Enjoyed reading this interview? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

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