With a nostalgic tinge of sadness, I have watched the tech media scene transform in our locale. What then, do tech companies do?
In the 1990s, I was a contributing writer for some technology media, locally and internationally. It was an exciting time where the pace of development in the Internet arena accelerated beyond our imagination, and everything with the word "Internet" in its soul, seemed to take off, got noticed, and attracted investments. Besides consulting and speaking professionally, I too, got into the tech circuit, and managed to develop web properties and software in the Perl, PHP and Java spaces.
Then by 2000, suddenly, the dotcom world came tumbling down, and one by one of the hot Internet startups and emerging companies dropped off the radar, and with them, some tech media as well. I was a contributing editor to some really great magazines, as well as a foreign broadcast correspondent to an American tech channel. With the dotcom crash, those gigs ceased for me very quickly. Fortunately, I was still speaking professionally and consulted as well. But the romance of tech journalism for me, drew to a lamenting close.
Even today, I still harbor thoughts of working with tech media again, but the landscape in this locale is decidedly different. There aren't that many opportunities for old hats like me anymore, with many of my former peers now in academia, or like me, in public relations or marketing. Some have quit the media and communication fields altogether, and have gone on to other unrelated areas.
What should tech companies do?
For some tech companies, especially those with consumer technology products that reach out to the mass market, there are still consumer tech media and general lifestyle media, as well as the broad spectrum of mainstream media such as dailies, weeklies, radio, and TV. There are also emerging online media that are tech-centric, and lifestyle bloggers who write about consumer technology now and then.
For enterprise tech companies, the options for media coverage are far less. Even as some clients might imagine every enterprise technology newsworthy for broadsheets, TV and radio, the reality is that such news are niche and targeted, and have no relevance to the generic public. Clients need to understand that niche and targeted news meant for a small audience, will require vehicles that specifically call out to these small audience groups. For example, there are trade journals, vertical trade magazines, online trade media, trade associations' internal publications and websites, and so on.
There are many ways to approach tech publicity in this new age, and clients can count on us to continue to develop and deploy new possibilities. Beyond options mentioned above, we can also help such clients reach out to their audience groups more directly, through carefully developed microsites featuring good content (textual content, podcasts, and now increasingly, video streaming), and maybe permeate to appropriate social media platforms as well.
Would the tech media become vibrant and expansive again? I sure hope so, as I still dream of the day when I would dive right in again, and be the writer I have always been, all over again.