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):
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.
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!