The IT channel can be a confusing subject to many people, even tech PRs.It is however incredibly important to the IT industry where indirect business models account for 64 per cent of all IT sales.
Because channel journalism still seems somewhat of a dark art, it can be easy to get it wrong when pitching to journalists in this field. As a channel journalist, I can confidently tell you that we have a very different set of requirements than that of end-user IT publications. It is therefore critical that PRs know what makes a good channel story (clue: not product news) and are able to accommodate the journalist’s questions.
What makes a good channel story?
Channel journalists write about the B2B IT sales channel. Since it’s a business conversation, the content needs to focus on sales, not products. Channel journalists don’t write about the bells and whistles of the latest technology – instead we want to know:
- What is the market opportunity for the channel?
- How can the channel partner grow their business on the back of this technology?
- How is the IT vendor supporting its channel? (e.g., certification, training, sales incentives, rebates, marketing funds, etc.)
Very rarely a new technology may well shift the entire market, for example virtualisation or the cloud, however – this happens very infrequently.
Here are a number of key questions that channel journalists are likely to ask companies:
- How many channel partners do you have in the UK / EMEA?
- What percentage of your sales go through the channel? Are there any plans to grow this share?
- What type of channel partners are you looking to recruit?
- Do you have a partner programme? If so, what are the key features?
- How are you funded? (this is of particular interest when expanding into Europe for the first time)
- What other companies do you go up against in deals?
- Why should a prospective partner choose to work with you compared to your competitors?
These are just a few sample questions, but they are an example of how they differ greatly to those asked by journalists covering end-user IT.
This guest blog has been written by Christine Horton, a channel journalist and content creator specialist at TechComms. For more information on how to work with channel journalists, please call us on + 44 (0)203 322 8928.