You might think tech PR is too hard for someone without an engineering degree. If you don’t understand the technology, how could you possibly interpret news and trends about nanotechnology, microchips, financial technology or cloud software?
However, tech organizations hire communication experts to explain their technology in ways that potential customers, investors and consumers can read and understand.
They also sorely require the very attributes that you already possess, including writing persuasively, distilling facts into key messages and crafting PR stories to gain reporters interest.
Too often, tech startups and organizations suffer from the curse of knowledge. Their leaders are too close to the subject and know all the ins and outs of their software or mobile app.
What’s required is an outsider’s viewpoint.
Communicating tech messages to journalists and analysts requires a broader perspective and a storytelling framework—not more detail on the product’s speeds and feeds. Here’s a quick litmus test: If describe what your organization does to your mother and she doesn’t understand it, go back to the drawing board.
In his book, “ You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Education,” veteran journalist George Anders argued that “creativity, curiosity, and empathy are the job skills of the future.”
Anders used an example of working for IBM and having to explain block chain to non-technical corporate clients. He wrote, “You don’t want an engineer on this.”
A bachelor’s degree in communications or another humanities subject gives you a well-rounded liberal arts education, and many communications degrees also provide added training that can give you a leg up in the technology industry. As a PR lecturer at San Jose State University, I remind students that Silicon Valley’s tech organizations are seeking employees with communication and writing skills.
Technology is a hot topic
If you think that working in technology communications isn’t exciting, think again.
There are the major announcements happening on a regular basis in the tech world that affect practically every organization. Every day, reporters write articles about how artificial intelligence is changing businesses; how sophisticated machine learning replaces the jobs of several people; and how the Internet of Things connects door locks, thermostats and ceiling fans for easy access via an app.
The sports world, hospitality market and even Hollywood movies are touched by technology. Organizations worldwide use technology to connect and innovate.