In the age of a massive tech boom with enormous IPOs and new unicorns emerging from every corner, it is surprising that many of the largest tech companies are avoiding using media to promote themselves. In the past, tech, PR, and media would work hand-in-hand, with the vast majority of media outlets showing great support for tech companies. That relationship has taken a turn, and in turn changed media relations and the strategies of PR services for tech companies.
A Rocky Relationship
A strong distrust has developed between big tech companies and the media. Snowden’s revelations of 2013 tarnished big tech’s public image, with both media and world leaders calling for regulatory measures to contain giant tech companies. As massive tech companies continued to gain more economic and political power, reporters became all-the-more critical of these companies, which has deteriorated the once warm relationship between media and tech.
The relationship further soured in light of the “accountability culture” that emerged during the Trump era and “Me Too” movement, which emboldened reporters to keep companies in check. The revelation of major tech scandals, such as the demise of Theranos and Wework, also led reporters to veer away from PR messaging and write more scathing tech reviews.
Companies are now creating their own digital media channels, and using social platforms to churn out their own stories. While this is a unique opportunity for companies to shape their own narrative, it may leave companies unaccountable by independent media and consumers. Despite these questions, PR firms have leveraged the changing tech-media relationship to change PR services for tech companies in order to better control their narrative.
Adapting PR Services for Tech Companies
PR agencies now have an unprecedented opportunity to cultivate the client’s story and narrative and perhaps do so utilizing more creative outlets. Now that some big tech companies prefer not to reach out to the media, their PR teams can easily write and release every story through their own channels.
This new PR approach involves a big shift from traditional PR to digital PR, utilizing all mediums and platforms outside of traditional media to promote the client. This also gives PR teams a significant opportunity to target specific audiences and create distinct messages for that audience.
Luckily, this shift is relatively simple for experienced PR pros who are used to navigating change and adapting quickly.