Resonating with Tech Reporters in the COVID-19 era
April 29, 2020
There’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the technology industry, disrupting supply chains, inflating prices, accelerating the adoption of remote work and increasing the need for better collaboration software.
But, what is changing in the lives of the media who cover this industry? And as PR professionals, how can we serve them better? To answer these questions, we spoke with reporters from various top technology publications and here’s what we learned:
- Longer Deadlines: The pace has changed. Everyone is being forced to stay home, often working in challenging or unusual environments. Because of this, the news seems to move a bit slower than before. Reporters have told us that they’re willing to push out a deadline to get things right and that they understand that normal operations or requests from companies they work with might be delayed.
- Remain Responsive: Despite the challenges, many reporters are still busy at work and they need PR professionals more than ever to help them access information and spokespeople. With all the uncertainty, media really appreciate proactive communication, as appropriate. Letting a reporter know that you’re still working on their questions or checking schedules can help put their mind at ease as they work to manage their own deliverables.
- Coverage Areas Are Changing: Layoffs are happening everywhere. Protocol recently let 13 staffers go, which was quite a chunk of their editorial team. Fewer reporters at a publication means more work falling on a smaller team or an overall decrease in stories each day, and the span of an outlet’s coverage areas may be shrinking. Anything that isn’t in line with their editorial focus will probably get cut.
- Money is Tight: We all know the media industry is suffering. Advertising budgets have been cut. Sponsors are backing out. Events or trade shows that used to drive revenue for the year are being cancelled or moving to virtual platforms. Publishers are being forced to look for new revenue channels, so more outlets are offering paid partnerships or sponsored content opportunities than before. This could be a great time to consider a paid media strategy at a discounted price.
- Sources Are More Important Than Ever: Health and science is at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now. Reporters are going to be more critical of their sources and any company research, because their news is facing a demanding audience that will make sure they get it right. It’s becoming more important that your information is validated and ideally backed by a third-party resource like a research or analyst firm.
Times may be changing, but there are still a lot of PR opportunities for companies who are willing to pivot to address the new media landscape. Interested in learning more? Two of my Finn Partners’ colleagues recently did a webinar on pitching media during Covid-19 as it relates to cybersecurity companies, but the tips and lessons can benefit all organizations. You can check it out here.