International·Public Relations

“Pure PR events are boring”

Luca Caracciolo is the chief print editor at t3n, one of Germany’s most important magazines about innovation and technology. His job involves meeting regularly with companies from different cultures and with different communications activities. In particular, he’s in regular contact with tech giants, innovators and startups from the US. Luca spoke to us about what companies should pay attention to when communicating with technology journalists from Germany.

Luca Caracciolo, chief print editor at t3n

Björn Eichstädt: The most important question straight away: What does a company need to bring so that you get interested in it?

Luca Caracciolo: The company has to bring a certain relevance. And of course it should have a product that’s interesting for our readers: entrepreneurs, web workers and decision makers in the digital economy.

BE: What’s the best way for a company to get in contact with you?

LC: Ideally through personal contact – face to face. Or through recommendations. Press releases or emails that are not personalized seldom work.

BE: What are your experiences with Americans specifically? What doesn’t work well for you as a German magazine?

LC: In the communications of many US companies, everything is ‘amazing’ (laughs). You can easily leave that word out when talking to us. We are very fact-oriented. Rosy marketing materials where I first have to search for information and data don’t work with us.

BE: Germany is pretty decentralized. That distinguishes us from Great Britain or France with their very strong capital metropolises. Does this have any impact on the work of a tech journalist?  

LC: Yes, you’re right. In Germany the event venues are often more spread out across the country. We’re located in Hannover, which has the advantage the you can be in Berlin or Hamburg relatively quickly. The fact that locations are more spread out makes the technology scene here in Germany more exciting and diverse because every city is very different, which also has an influence on the companies based there.

BE: So in principle location is not important when selecting an event. What does an event have to offer so that you’ll go there?

LC: Exciting topics, interesting speakers, the possibility to speak with senior people in the company. Pure PR events like press conference are usually boring. That’s why we seldom go to them.

BE: Our American clients are often surprised that news is often taken up rather slowly in Germany. In the US, a news item is already outdated the next day. How do you explain that?

LC: First, you need to consider the time-zone difference. In the US a lot of news goes live when we’re ready to go home from work. And because we’re rather late with a pure news release, we try to treat the topic more broadly—including a more comprehensive analysis. Of course, you need a bit of time to do that.  And in Germany the selection is very meticulous; not every ‘news’ item has ‘news value’.

BE: Global or local content? What’s more important for you?

LC: That depends on the topic. We also report on the activities of large tech companies like Google, Facebook or Apple without any local angle. If, for example, an American startup that still doesn’t have a lot of customers in Germany organizes some charity activity in Silicon Valley, we’re not really interested in that.  But it’s very different story for startups that are already active in Germany. Then it can definitely be worthwhile for the communications to further work out the connections to the German market.

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