The Irish tech sector continues to go from strength to strength, accounting for 37,000 Irish jobs and generating €35 billion in exports each year. It’s an exciting space to be in – particularly for the public relations professionals charged with sharing the great news from the companies responsible for the booming sector. This places Comit - Ireland’s best PR agency for technology companies - in a hugely exciting position.
It also creates fantastic opportunities for any budding public relations professional looking to kickstart their career in a burgeoning and innovative field. However, many PR graduates are daunted by the prospect of starting out in an area that they have little or no advanced knowledge of. Whether it is a tech PR agency or any other specialist agency, here are our six top tips to get to the grips with your field and thrive.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go,” Dr. Seuss.
Just like there are specialist PR agencies for certain sectors, there are also specialist journalists, newspapers, magazines and websites that focus on technology. Do your research and find out who and what these are and make it a habit to stay up-to-date with the stories they are covering.
Most PR agencies will have subscriptions to their key publications, enabling you to flick through them during quieter moments of the day. This will help you to understand what tech journalists are covering and how your agency’s clients can fit into the news agenda.
Another good idea is to have a media overview session with an experienced member of staff. This can be a great way to learn about key journalists, how often publications come out and who the main audience is.
Unified communications, Blockchain, virtualisation – topics like these may seem alien to those new to tech PR. Don’t panic. Your new employer won’t expect you to be a tech wiz on your first day. What’s most important is an eager attitude and a willingness to learn. Reading is a great start for wrapping your head around the field, but another top tip is to simply ask!
When you first encounter a new term, don’t just nod along and smile unwittingly. Ask to have the term explained and take a brief note if needed. If you happen to encounter a particularly jargon-filled area, ask for a few minutes of a co-worker’s time and take more detailed notes.
If you have never worked in public relations before, it is unlikely that you will be thrown in at the deep end, attending client meetings on your own from the start. Now is the time to get up-to-speed on what your clients do, along with any terminology that they are likely to use.
3- Embrace Online
We are living in a world of instant communications. There are more learning resources available to us than ever before and a detailed explanation of a new concept or term is never more than a quick Google search away.
It’s also a good idea to consult social media. Immerse yourself in your new field by populating your personal social newsfeeds with tweets, posts and stories from the sector. Look at who your new agency follows and add them to your own network. Using a tool like RiteTag is a helpful way of finding the most popular relevant hashtags so you can easily search for topical stories and identify the most prominent and influential online contributors.
Tech companies need great communications professionals to explain their product or service in ways that the ordinary person can understand. The PR skills you already possess are exactly what tech companies are looking to utilise to disseminate their story to wider audiences. Having an outside perspective is always welcome. Your insights can help clients or even agency co-workers that are too close to the tech to realise that taken for granted tech terms in fact need to be explained more simply.
Persuasive writing, the ability to distil key messages and the ability to create engaging pitches are core PR skills that will be invaluable to the clients operating in your specialist field. Do what you do best and use your communications expertise to translate technical stories into easily understood and readable content.
When starting in a new field there can be a lot of information to take in. Don’t let it become an information overload. Basic organisation practices and smart tools can help you to process all of these new ideas and concepts. Whether you prefer Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar or a good old-fashioned pen and paper, keep an up-to-date diary and planner to stay on top of your workload, allowing you to focus on expanding your knowledge.
Make use of a news aggregator app or website, such as Feedly, which will compile all of the top stories on a particular topic in one place, saving you time scouring the web. Share your newfound love of organisation with your agency. If publications are typically scattered around your office, set up a filing system so you can easily find what you’re looking for and improve workplace efficiency at the same time.
6- Be Confident!
Our final tip for surviving your start in specialist PR is simple: be confident. If you have been hired by a PR agency, they have seen both quality and potential in you. Remember the communications skills you have already acquired and possess. Every upcoming PR professional is capable of getting to terms with a new field if they show a willingness to continually learn and maintain a positive and inquisitive attitude.
If you would like to hitch yourself to a rocket and work at the forefront of public relations and Irish tech, be sure to check Comit’s job opportunities page regularly. Or, if you feel your business can benefit from specialist tech PR agency expertise, contact Comit today.