ARYZE spoke with Laura K. Inamedinova, tech communications and PR consultant, entrepreneur, and successful writer, as she shared her top 5 advice for getting press and publicity for tech companies.
If there’s one thing that is clear about Laura Inamedinova, it’s that she likes to get things done. She has written for Forbes and Huffington Post, worked with tech companies small and large, and started her own consulting firm, ‘LKI Consulting’, in London. Laura shares her expertise with many different tech companies and through this has helped firms raise over $200M USD cumulatively. She has truly put herself forward in the communications industry and in our conversation, Laura gave us her top 5 tips of approaching press and publicity for tech companies.
1. Make yourself notable
Laura started her journey as a college student wanting to establish herself in the tech industry. At the age of 18-19, she noticed that being taken seriously by other professionals was a challenge and so she decided to take things to the next level. She researched other communication specialists to find out what they were doing to differentiate and make themselves known, and that is what Laura chose to do herself.
I noticed that a lot of other communication and PR specialists were putting themselves out there. A lot of social media posts, conferences, and thought leadership articles. And it worked for them, not only to create their own personal brand, but also to get clients. If you establish yourself as someone who is notable, you can establish your clients as well. If I can get myself on Forbes, I can get my clients as well. You are the best example of your work.
Her message is clear; a company’s publicity can benefit significantly from having a PR specialist who has developed their personal branding to a sophisticated and credible level. Laura had a clear strategy when building hers:
I realized I needed to put out my thought leadership articles. I needed to start writing about what I was doing. But if I started writing on my personal blog, while no one knew me, why would someone read it? I knew I needed a platform that already had visibility and readers. So I started to do unpaid work for ArticStartup, a small media outlet that covers start-ups in the Baltic and Nordic regions.
2. Play the long game
Over the years, Inamedinova has grown her professional relationships by getting out there and meeting experienced editors and journalists. One of these meetings led her to Forbes, where Laura became a contributing writer for several years. She shares with us how she managed to speak to the right people:
ArticStartup, the company I was working for, went to Web Summit and invited me to come along. Before going, I reached out to all the journalists who were also attending the conference and wrote them an email saying; ‘’Hey, I am a starting journalist, I would like to meet you and get your advice.’’ The message appealed to their sense of authority so they were happy to share their experience with me.
During the conference, Laura was able to speak to editors and journalists from several big media outlets, such as Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Forbes. Without pitching anything to the journalists, she focused on building relationships first, which led to some friendships later on. Only after a while she would pitch some of the companies she worked for. Laura emphasises the long game you have to play within PR to build the right network.
3. Decide: badge or visibility
Now, after several years of building her network, Laura runs her PR and communications company LKI Consulting in London. When working with her clients, the main question she asks is: ‘’What are your objectives?’’. Within PR, she explains, it is crucial to know why you are approaching the media. When you have clear goals, you can target the right media outlet and the right journalist.
Some of my clients say to me: ‘’We want to be in Financial Times’’, or ‘’We want to be on WSJ’’, and I ask them: ‘’Why do you need that?
If you are aiming for visibility, sometimes it is more effective to write to a few local or medium sized media outlets that will generate the more publicity than a big media outlet. Another way to maximise exposure is to approach staff writers, as their articles sometimes generate more publicity than those written by contributing writers. Some media outlets only feature articles written by staff writers on social media.
If a client’s main objective is to gain the ‘as seen on’ badge, pitching to a contributor of a big media outlet can be the best way to go.
4. Get to know the journalist’s swim lane
There are around one-hundred and fifty to two-hundred journalists covering the tech space, where each media outlet has around two to three staff writers working for them. This proves the importance of valuing these relationships and making sure to not waste any opportunities by pitching the wrong story.
There were cases even in my early days of PR, where I would send tech news to a journalist covering fashion, because somewhere in some database, I would find their email. This meant that in the end I was just wasting both my own and their time. Therefore, make sure you are pitching to the right writer. So, if you are pitching something related to technology, usually journalists in technology still have their subcategories; their swim lanes that they’re writing about. You wouldn’t want to send an Apple-related story to someone covering Android only…
She continues by explaining why targeting the wrong journalist can cause long-term difficulty:
If you pitch one news article that does not correlate with a journalist’s interest, they will remember it. So, even when you write to the same journalist a second time with the right message, it might just be ignored. They could mark your email as spam which means they won’t receive any of your emails.
5. Don’t pitch yourself as ‘another interesting tech company’
Laura can’t highlight enough the importance of pitching the right story, as it can make or break your chances of getting featured. There are billions of companies out there, so simply telling a journalist that your company is great won’t do the job. She explains how to find the right angle when pitching your company:
When working with fintech, you have a lot of interesting financial information available to you. Something that is unique and you would not be able to just find online; package it, and send it to the journalist. People like numbers, they want to gain some kind of insight when they are reading an article.
Laura’s expertise in the field has made her the success she is today. By building the right network and pitching interesting articles to suitable journalists, she helps companies elevate their communication and PR practices generating great results.