Lessons working with the tech press

Lessons working with the tech press

“Be accurate and don’t oversell”. That’s the key message from Chenda Ngak, the head of Public Relations for Automattic.com, a firm which owns brands like Tumblr, WordPress.com and WooCommerce.

Just like any industry, the tech press have their favourite ‘go to’ topics. In tech, it’s data breaches, hacks, privacy and quirky tech leaders!

As usual, the tech press follows the same principles:- The more it bleeds, the more it leads. In other words, the more uncomfortable the story is perceived to be, the more prominent and widely covered it will be.

Tech industry journalists are very knowledgeable. They grew up with the topic and are passionate about it. They feel emotionally connected with it. They are not just there to “get famous on TV”, they care about this sector.

Expect tech journalists to go into far more detail than other journalists. Make sure you have your numbers and you can back them up. There are plenty of ways for tech journalists to check the figures or look back at historical data to see if what you are saying makes sense. Rookie ‘tech’ PRs can fall into this trap of believing their own hype a little too much and finding they get burned.

Don’t condescend tech journalists or talk down to them. There is a good chance they’ll know more about the bigger picture than you do as they have been living the topic for years.

And, don’t prioritise press releases. They are pretty much dead in the tech space. It’s all about building relationships.

Action Step

Have you checked the facts you have been putting out about your organization recently? Could you back them up if a journalist started looking at them in more detail? Is it time to find some more evidence to back them up to ensure if someone asks awkward questions, you can bombard them with evidence?

Listen to the episode for more context