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10 questions about PR for technical companies …and 10 answers

In another of our occasional series of contributed articles, Richard Stone, managing director of technical PR agency Stone Junction answers what he considers to be the ten most common questions concerning PR consultancy …in ten no-nonsense, easily digestible paragraphs!

Certain questions come up time and time again in PR consultancy. Should I pay for colour separations? What should I put in a press pack? Should I embed links in my press releases? Read on, and I’ll give you the answers.

1. Can you guarantee me press coverage?
No! No professional PR agency should ever guarantee press coverage. There are no ifs and buts.

2. Should I pay for colour separations?
My view is that colour separations don’t produce a great response and if you want to spend money to support a magazine, advertising might be more appreciated by the publisher.

3. Will advertising get me more coverage?
Sometimes; most editors meet with the publishers and ad reps of a magazine to discuss who is advertising. However, not advertising doesn’t mean you are precluded from getting editorial coverage.

4. How often should I issue press releases?
Once a month, or once every couple of months is fine for a small or SME engineering business. Larger businesses might muster trade press releases two to three times a month. Try not to compete with your own stories though. If you are issuing more than one release a month, focus on a mixture of product, HR and business stories.

5. Should I follow up my press releases with a phone call?
No, never. If it’s a really, really groundbreaking piece of news you can sell it in over the phone before sending it. Equally, you might need to phone journalists to place opinion pieces, case studies and technical articles or arrange journalist meetings, press conferences and interviews. But don’t ring to ask if they got your press release. It annoys journalists!

6. What should you put in your press pack at a trade show?
You should include a press release and image about the show and perhaps a digital copy of both. No brochures, no data sheets, no mountain of old press releases from the past year – they will end up discarded on the train on the way back from the NEC!

7. Should I embed links in my press releases?
Yes, it will benefit your SEO campaign. The key to getting them published is to make them useful. Here’s a good example of a published press release effectively using embedded links.

8. Which is more important: online press coverage or print press coverage?
It depends; they tend to serve different purposes with online focussed on sales and print on opinion forming. But these purposes are also converging.

9. Is there more to PR than just press releases?
Emphatically yes, the more different tones of voice you can use in your technical PR campaign the more varied and influential your coverage will be.

10. Should I have a Blog?
Yes indeedy. PR is now about reaching the end user as well as influencing them through the media. I believe that a well run Blog is the best way of achieving this.

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