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Survey: Tech PR is a Happy, Upwardly-Mobile Job (But Getting Tougher to Get Results)

Roughly 100 tech PR pros responded to our brief survey last week, where we posed some basic multiple choice questions to get a sense how happy or unhappy tech PR is as a profession right now.

The responses (participation was roughly equal-divided between agencies and "in-house" at tech cos) illustrated tech PR to be a mostly very happy career. The overwhelming majority of respondents like their job, feel that they are fairly compensated and have the opportunity to make more money, and believe they will continue to work in PR (and the tech industry):

1%20G 87%20like%20their%20job

2%20G 73%20are%20fairly%20compensated

3%20G 87%20subj%20matter%20interesting

4%20G %2080%20will%20work%20in%20PR%20in%203%20years

5 73%20will%20work%20in%20tech%20in%203%20yrs

Where things were not quite as rosy was the clear signal that the majority are finding journalists less receptive to pitches, and that overall it's become more difficult to get results.

6 %20R 67%20journalists%20less%20receptive

7 %20R 80%20getting%20more%20difficult%20to%20get%20results%20

Our take...

It's great to see that tech PR pros are generally engaged with the subject matter and like their jobs. That makes for a competitive hiring landscape - and lots of financial upside for talent.

On the general point about results being tougher to get and why - there are a lot of dynamics behind that one. As a tech media database we obviously see a ton of churn within individual outlets, and writers jumping around all the time - but the overall # of writers actually has increased every year as technology has become ubiquitous across every industry. Certainly one of the things that's changed is what steers editorial priorities - articles that cover massive companies with millions of users are more attractive to cover on the basis of potential clicks, while the rest of tech companies fight for the scraps (it's always been that way, but seems that the divide between the haves and have nots continues to increase, and the burden of proving your company / client is interesting keeps getting heavier). It's always hard not to sound sour grapes when you are on the losing end of not capturing coverage at key moments - but I do hear a lot of grumbling about how once totally reliable journalist relationships are now totally unpredictable gets, using the exact same methods. There is so much shop talk to be had between tech PR pros on the overall rules of engagement with the press, and what that looks like today versus 10 years ago (or even five years ago). I for one wish that tech companies would better support the publications with ad dollars and sponsorship, because clearly the economics of clickbait on Google and social media creates perverse incentives for what qualifies as a "story" these days.

More broadly, I look at these challenges that tech PR pros face as translating into opportunity and job stability. If it were easy, who would pay for it? Every tech company faces the huge challenge of figuring out how potential buyers encounter their product. The storytelling skills that PR pros bring clearly (years ago) jumped beyond earned media into broader content creation / content marketing / social media cycles. We don't meet too many PR pros in the tech industry these days who aren't constantly diving into the minutia of everything from trial-by-fire podcast production, to exploring product listing sites like G2 / Capterra / Product Hunt to figure out how they work and whether to invest the cycles to pursue them, and similar ongoing random fetches in pursuit of increasing their company / client's exposure. There are so many avenues for promoting tech companies, and so many of the basic skills that the average PR pro develops (or soaks up through osmosis being around smart colleagues) translate beautifully into these pursuits. The harder the challenges, the more valuable the impact of smart PR people who have the right sensibilities for what type of content is interesting and how to get it to stick.

Thanks everybody who took the survey, and glad to see all the optimism even in the thick of this crazy year we're having!

A Year Later: Media Interest Across Gartner's Cloud Hype Cycle Call-Outs

For the last few years Gartner has released its Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing in August, so we thought it would be interesting to take a look at media interest across each of the cloud hype topics Gartner called out last year.

These numbers reflect the total number of authors who covered each topic during the time period. It probably goes without saying, but the pandemic has disrupted news cycles to the extent that declines in coverage should be taken with a grain of salt (but the relative numbers are still interesting):

"On the Rise"

Distributed Cloud

  • 205 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 304 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • +48% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "distributed cloud"

API-Centric SaaS

  • 134 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 185 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • +38% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "API SaaS"~50

Cloudlets

  • 22 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 12 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -45% Change
  • Search in TechNews: cloudlet

Blockchain PaaS

  • 141 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 93 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -34% Change
  • Search in TechNews: blockchain AND paas

Cloud-Native

  • 1209 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 1429 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • +18% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "cloud-native" OR "cloud native"

Site Reliability Engineering

  • 144 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 177 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • +23% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "site reliability engineering" OR "SRE"

Service Mesh

  • 204 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 222Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020 -9% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "service mesh"

"At the Peak"

Repatriation

  • 200 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 200 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • 0% Change
  • Search in TechNews: “repatriation”

AI PaaS

  • 40 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 27 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -33% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "AI PaaS"~50

Edge Computing

  • 1212 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 1358 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • +12% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "edge computing" OR "edge network"

Serverless PaaS

  • 56 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 39 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -30% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "serverless PaaS"~50

Container Management

  • 284 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 238 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -16% Change
  • My search in TechNews: "container management"~5

Multicloud

  • 581 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 536 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -8% Change
  • Search in TechNews: “multicloud”

Cloud Managed Services

  • 56 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 72 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • +29% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "cloud managed service”

"Sliding Into the Trough"

IoT Platform

  • 1036 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 875 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -16% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "iot platform"~10

Hybrid IT

  • 372 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 354 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -5% Change
  • Search in TechNews: “hybrid it”

Hybrid Cloud Computing

  • 1435 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 1278 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -11% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "hybrid cloud"

Cloudbursting

  • 29 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 20 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -31% Change
  • Search in TechNews: “cloudburst”

"Climbing the Slope"

Private Cloud Computing

  • 1005 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 914 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -9% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "private cloud"

Cloud Access Security Brokers

  • 282 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 276 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -2% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "cloud access" AND security

Cloud Computing

  • 2920 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 2902 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -1% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "cloud computing"

Cloud Management Platforms

  • 442 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 399 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -10% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "cloud management" AND platform

Platform as a Service

  • 802 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 780 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -3% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "platform as a service" OR "PaaS"

Infrastructure as a Service

  • 792 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 709 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • -10% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "infrastructure as a service" OR "IaaS"

"Entering the Plateau"

Cloud Office

  • 59 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 128 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • +117% Change
  • Search in TechNews: "cloud office"

Software as a Service

  • 2227 Authors Covered from Aug 2018--Aug 2019
  • 2364 Authors Covered from Aug 2019-- Aug 2020
  • +6% Change
  • Search in TechNews: “"software as a service" OR "SaaS"

Gains / Losses YoY

  • +117% Cloud Office
  • +48% Distributed Cloud
  • +38% API-Centric SaaS
  • +29% Cloud Managed Services
  • +23% Site Reliability Engineering
  • +12% Edge Computing
  • +18% Cloud-Native
  • +6% Software as a Service
  • 0% Repatriation
  • -1% Cloud Computing
  • -2% Cloud Access Security Brokers
  • -3% Platform as a Service
  • -5% Hybrid IT
  • -8% Multicloud
  • -9% Private Cloud Computing
  • -9% Service Mesh
  • -10% Infrastructure as a Service
  • -10% Cloud Management Platform
  • -11% Hybrid Cloud
  • -16% IoT Platform
  • -16% Container Management
  • -30% Serverless PaaS
  • -31% Cloudbursting
  • -33% AI PaaS
  • -34% Blockchain PaaS
  • -45% Cloudlets

Final Thoughts

For each of these topics, we could have expanded them to include additional associations that would have increased the volume of results, but did not (because we were more interested to see the relative volume of how these topics were referenced as-is). For example, on the “Container Management” topic, we did not add Kubernetes or K8s (which would have greatly increased the number of authors).

If you’re interested to define your own “collections” of topics within complex subject matter domains in the tech industry, the new Topics functionality in TechNews is specifically designed for you (and you can sign up for a free trial here).

**Correction: originally we showed API- centric SaaS with a decline of 38%, when in fact it had a growth of 38%.

FAANG's Dirty Laundry is Keeping Media Very Busy

Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet/Google (aka "FAANG") have grown so big and so popular that their PR fires are constantly driving news cycles. Facebook will be under constant scrutiny in the run up to the presidential election (see: Facebook closes political ads loophole ahead of U.S. presidential election). Amazon is showing cracks in its ability to meet retail demand and shipping logistics in the midst of the pandemic (see: Will We Forgive Amazon When This is Over?). Apple is losing appeals and racking up fines related to a series of iPhones "deliberately slowed down by Apple" (see: Apple Must Pay for Silently Slowing Down iPhones, Italian Court Says). The Fed antitrust case against Google is sure to draw a ton of media coverage (see: U.S. is Said to Plan to File Antitrust Charges Against Google). FAANG is a newsjacker's paradise with this ongoing carousel of complaints against the world's most written about companies. If you're building story ideas against controversies and trends related to these companies, searches in TechNews will let you interact with the full set of the thousands of authors covering each of them.

IPO Coverage is Heating Up, Led by Airbnb, Palantir, Snowflake

More than 1,000 authors covered the class of 2019 IPOs that included Zoom, Slack, Pinterest and Uber. This year, Airbnb, Palantir and Snowflake are the most anticipated IPOs, and here's a rough distribution of media interest in those IPOs to date. Airbnb's IPO performance in particular is going to be of extreme interest to the media in the run-up, because the company is so susceptible to pandemic travel restrictions. If you're interested to monitor the media coverage around these IPOs, this is the search you want to use in TechNews: (Airbnb AND IPO) OR (Palantir AND IPO) OR (Snowflake AND IPO)

Apple WWDC Kicks Off Next Week -- Always a Major News Driver, Even During a Pandemic

For most event organizers who have had to make the shift to "virtual" -- trying to maintain an audience is going to be an exceptional challenge. Probably not so much for Apple, whose annual WWDC draws 1,300 to 1,600 authors who cover the major product news that comes out of the event each year. Lifehacker runs down the details on How to Live Stream Apple's WWDC next Tuesday. In addition to the Apple product news, no doubt there will be a lot of coverage critiquing the event itself and how well Apple ran the show virtually. Search for WWDC on TechNews to check out the thousands of authors who cover it each year.