US and UK, both English speaking markets, and both leading the way in tech innovation (if on different scales), right?
If you think it can’t be too dissimilar when it comes to tech PR, you might want to read on. It can be really difficult for US companies to grasp the idiosyncrasies of the European/UK markets, and here’s where the similarity starts, as it’s very much the same the other way around.
So here are just five things you need to consider to make sure you do it right.
Number one, it can be very expensive to grow your profile truly across Europe. I’ve advised many scaleups on doing things in the most cost-efficient but results-driven way if you need to build momentum and make funds go further.
Firstly, if you’re a scaleup, you probably won’t get a look in from a global agency, and if you do, you won’t get the focused attention nor results. Not only that, but Europe is a federated, multi-country destination, and each market wants its own approach. If you’re scaling in the tech scene you’re likely to be making your first steps into the UK market and from here you have a certain amount of content synergy, and the budget can go further.
If you’re working with a professional agency, they should be happy to sign up to deliverables for your investment too.
Localise, localise, localise
As per the above point around synergies between the US and UK, you are likely to get a few – but not a slam dunk replica – when it comes to content. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not going to get you results.
We used to get told by US agencies to “pitch this release” when the US wanted to issue news. This will only result in syndication rather than local, quality tier one outlets. There are ways around it of course, but liaise with your local agencies on the ground in good time before issuing what you believe to be a global story. Localisation of news to the various markets is probably where ChatGPT might come in handy too, saving in translation costs (as long as you have a person on the ground to check the final result).
This leads onto the media in the UK. Journalists want to feel targeted, pitched, and that you read their stories. It leads to a much more engaging outcome too. I think this is even more the case in the UK, than in the US. US organisations are expected to have ‘brand ambassadors’ in the same way they have lawyers. In the UK, there is a well known friction between editors and PRs. A good PR will effectively deliver the journalist ‘exclusive stories’, build contacts, and the editors will come back for more.
Product versus story
When I used to work in the US for tech companies, it was really OK to pitch new products to editors. It’s been a while since I did this, so my friends at Firebrand will be able to advise better. In the UK, it has always been a complete no-no, more now than ever. The only way a journalist will write about your product is in a story about a seriously quirky or interesting application. At CommsCo PR, we are currently writing a story about how AI can predict sperm count – probably as good an example as ever.
So, if your newly appointed agency wants to create its own media calendar and campaigns the above is probably why. As long as they are clear about your differentiating messages and how you sell or promote to your customers and influencers.
Calendar days are also big over here, as are stunts. It needn’t be expensive but it does have to be relevant. Allow them to indulge in a little lateral thinking if you see the quality of results, as an outcome of this. You also might find the US agency gets involved and the ideas travel upstream. This is also a very good reason to make sure your agencies are introduced and work well together.
In fact, the beauty of a pair of brilliant boutique agencies is that they will compete in a very good way and you’ll hopefully see 1+1=3.
About the Author
Ilona Hitel is the Founder of CommsCo, a London-based B2B tech PR agency, focused on start ups, scale ups and challenger brands.