France is a big market for technology, with some of the most powerful companies in the world, a bustling startup scene and an engineering culture which makes adoption of new technology easier than in other change-averse countries. On the flip side, there are new startups launching every day and it seems that there is really an app for everything these days. Grabbing the attention of French tech reporters is no easy feat, but with a tailored strategy your B2B Tech company can get some high-quality coverage on TV, radio, online and print.
Know the local media
Media is like dessert, to each country their own. Getting a hit in TechCrunch or WIRED is great, but it won’t help your awareness much in France. Local outlets like Silicon, Frenchweb and Maddyness have millions of French readers every month seeking out information about companies like yours. For business stories, Forbes isn’t going to cut it: look for coverage in Les Echos or Challenges Magazine instead. But knowing the outlets is the easy part. It takes months of relationship building to know which editor writes about what kind of topic – which at JIN is our bread and butter. Another challenge is that to get coverage in the French media, you need to…
The English skills of the French population have definitely improved in the last decade, and it is also true for reporters. Nevertheless, French reporters won’t be bothered to translate your tech language to French, so that will be on you (or your agency) to make it intelligible for a French audience. Therefore, don’t bank on getting an interview without a French-speaking spokesperson. This can be a miss because interviews are the best way to build a relationship with reporters and have them remember your CEO as a source of expertise, and stories. Unless your spokesperson speaks fluent French – which French reporters would greatly appreciate! – make sure to loop in your PR agency to facilitate communication.
Set the right tone
There is a preconceived notion that the French and especially their press hold anti-American feelings. While this could have been true in the early 2000s, it is no longer the case nowadays. The French are always eager to see what innovation is coming from the other side of the Atlantic, so being American is often a strength when it comes to communicating your story. However, the are a caveat to keep in mind: the French preferred communication style is radically different from the US. Success is frowned upon, and the more “salesy” your messaging, the more pushback and criticism you will receive. Make sure your message is factual while telling a compelling story, and the reporters will love you for it.
No pay per play
Another radical difference compared to the US is that in France, there is no real pay per play in the media. Sure, you can buy ad space, but there is a clear line between earned and paid media which does not typically confuse readers. You can’t pay the local Ellen $250,000 to talk about your product during her show! This puts the onus on your agency to know editors and presenters really well so you can get invited on air or get a great (unpaid) story in the media that matters to reach your audience.
Interested in launching a media relations campaign in France? Click here to contact us, we’d be happy to help!