Tech PR horror stories to chill the blood…
Something wicked this way comes
When you’ve been in the tech PR game as long as we have, there’s not a lot that scares us. Whatever a client campaign throws our way, we’ve always got a way of negotiating it. It takes a lot to leave us quaking in our boots.
That said, there are things we try not to talk about. Stories that will keep us up all night if we let them; giving us nightmares when we finally drift off to sleep. Tech enterprises, beware: there are monsters out there that not even Luminous PR can protect you from. Tech PR wrongs so blood curdling, that no amount of agency help can save you.
They say history often repeats itself, but we think you can learn from the past. If you’re a tech firm thinking of using a PR agency, take heed of these comms horror stories and try not to cock up your own PR before it even gets started.
Giving away your news too soon
We’ve seen this happen far too many times.
While we’re busy coming up with ideas and proposing a strategy, our prospective client get a little ahead of themselves. They receive a great piece of news – perhaps some funding or a cool new client – and they rush to the first journalist they can find, excited to get cracking with the PR process. Usually, they think they’re doing us a favour. Sadly, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
A PR agency will use their own spells and sorcery to ensure that each and every story receives the maximum coverage it can. Giving the whole story to the first person that asks is not a smart way to be maximising press coverage. In the worst case scenario, you may not even have any news left for your PR agency to use when they do get started. Even if you have bigger news set to emerge in coming months, some newspapers simply won’t run two stories on the same business in close proximity.
So, no matter how excited you are about that funding announcement, always go to your prospective PR agency first – not the journalists!
Damaging relationships with journalists
Journalists are like the rest of us: sometimes they hold grudges.
Do enough to wind them up, and there’s the chance they’ll refuse to use your content in their publication, even if it would otherwise be a good fit.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to keep your relationships with journalists positive. First and foremost, only send them content that is relevant to their publication, and is likely to get published. Likewise, make sure the content you send them is actually interesting – the things that matter to your business might not necessarily be that exciting for a journalist or their readers. And finally, if a journalist declines to use your material, just accept it. Thank them for their time and let it go. You certainly won’t convince them otherwise by arguing about it.
Fictitious quotes and facts
Never be tempted to embellish facts or fabricate quotes in order to gain media coverage.
Journalists work to high standards of professional integrity, and will always investigate a news story thoroughly before publishing it. If they find out that the information they’ve received is false, they’ll drop your business’s story in an instant. Not only that, but they’d be very reluctant to work with your brand again.
Think carefully about feeding your tech PR agency facts that aren’t quite the truth, too. Should they unknowingly pass these false facts onto journalists, it could have a hugely damaging impact on their business.
Copying press coverage to your site
Take care with this one. We always advocate that brands host any press coverage they receive on their own site. This way, when you’re sharing it on social media, you drive traffic back to your own site.
Of course, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. What you shouldn’t be doing is copying and pasting the whole article and dumping it into a blog post on your site. Even though your intentions are good, a journalist will never appreciate you copying their work and using it for your own purposes. Click here for best practices for using your PR coverage for marketing and sales activity.
Saying that you paid for feature space
We’re not talking about bribes, here. Sometimes, B2B publications will approach brands to contribute advertorial content for their magazine, as well as buying advertising space.
There’s nothing wrong with this: if you were thinking of advertising anyway, this is a much better proposition. Getting your brand name mentioned in positive editorial is always a good thing, and lots of businesses pursue this as an opportunity. However, that doesn’t mean you should tell everyone that you paid for it. It’s not necessarily true, anyway – publications will only offer this opportunity to businesses that are a good fit for their readers.
PR is all about maintaining a positive image of your brand – telling someone that your media coverage is paid-for is simply undermining your good work! It never hurts to leave a little something to the imagination… 😉
Revealing too much on social media
If your PR agency isn’t assisting you with your brand’s social media presence, you should still keep them in the loop with any planned social media activity or strategy.
Just like you shouldn’t be revealing details to journalists ahead of schedule, you should also be mindful of revealing any sensitive info on social media. When a journalist is covering a story, they like to be the one to ‘break’ the news. If they can see that you’ve already been discussing it on Twitter, they wouldn’t consider that story ‘news’ anymore.
As a general business best practice, you should also be mindful of who you’re allowing to access your brand’s social media account. A rash tweet, sent in the heat of the moment, can do real damage to a business’s reputation. Remember PR girl, Justine Sacco, who sent her own career to the grave back in 2013 with a horrendously damning tweet? Keep accounts secure, and change passwords regularly. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Let these chilling tales be a warning to you, techies: PR is a dark art that’s often best left to the experts.
For more information about how Luminous PR could help your tech business, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. And of course, have a wonderfully magical Halloween!