Erin Duff

Embracing Technology PR as a New Specialist

June 30, 2015

Graduating from college is one of the hardest transitions a person can make.

Starting work in the tech industry with no tech background right after graduating? Whoa! Being in the real world, waking up every morning to go to a “big girl job,” moving to a new city with all new people – it can be very intimidating. As I left a small town and moved to the big city, there were a lot of things I was nervous about, but what’s even more intimidating is working in an industry you know nothing about.

I am a public relations professional working in-house for a mobile application development company called stable|kernel. Crazy – right? As I reviewed all of my career options, I discovered the amazing possibilities that are involved in the fast-growing, competitive tech industry.

According to Business Insider, “behind every high-powered technology company and executive is usually a man or woman (and often a team) making sure the company’s message is coming off correctly.”

This just shows, public relations is a growing industry that has more prevalence in our society because of social media. Because software companies are at the forefront of technology, it is so important to use innovative tools to build your company’s brand and establish your thought leadership position.

After working for stable/kernel for only a few weeks, there are numerous things I have already learned that I wanted to share with any new technology PR professionals.

 

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You will not understand the language….. for a while

Developers have their own language and ways of describing things, and it’s amazing. As a trained communicator, it is still difficult to understand the lingo and jokes within a group setting. But PR practitioners are born to move at a fast pace – so you will catch on, but it takes some time.

How well respected you are in the industry

We are fortunate at stable/kernel to have leadership who understands the importance of PR and marketing. Not all do. Part of our job is to show the value of communications and brand building within the company. The industry is always changing, with brands innovating on everything from wearables to mobile payments, so it keeps development companies in constant competition with each other. Having a technology PR specialist on staff who can help publicize an emerging tech company’s credibility and leadership position will put them ahead of the competition.

Helping with editing

We all know that technology PR professionals can’t help developers with coding, but we are great at writing. It is always helpful to have a second round of edits on developers’ blog posts, articles and proposals to check for AP Style and grammar.

The flexible environment

Working at stable/kernel has created a flexible environment for me to enhance my PR and marketing skills. Even though I am still a fairly new professional, I am able to try new things and find different ways of using my skills which is something not found in a lot of agencies and corporations. I have the freedom to do my work while sitting at a coffee shop or contribute my ideas during project meetings. A lot of companies stick with the “old ways of doing things” because it’s the way it has always been done. At stable/kernel, we thrive off innovation and having multiple opinions expressed by a diverse staff.

Experiencing an industry you know nothing about

There are lots of different tools, languages, software, elements and more that a PR specialist obviously knows nothing about – Pivotal Tracker, Slack, SDKs and IDEs! Being in this industry opens your mind to all of the new things and helps you understand the technology our society uses on a daily basis. It is a pretty amazing experience being behind-the-scenes on mobile app development projects.

Sharing knowledge with non tech-savvy people

Now that I work for a mobile app company, friends and family are starting to turn to me for tech advice or news about Apple/Google products. I love being able to bring some knowledge to outsiders about all of the cool things I am learning.

Useful articles to help keep up with the industry

Every morning when I get into the office, there are a few tech websites I read to keep up with the industry news: The Verge, TechCrunch, USA Today and NY Times tech sections. There is also a free online guide called Code Conquest that helps beginners learn code and provides free tutorials on the different languages for mobile and web development.

As a technology PR specialist, it definitely takes some getting used to, but all of the positive things I have experienced outweigh fears I had going into the internship. There are so many PR and marketing possibilities to bring to the tech world, and I am truly being valued for my skills. My time at stable/kernel has brought some amazing opportunities, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

Published June 30, 2015
Erin Duff

Marketing and PR Manager at Stable Kernel

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