Inspired by the need for a mainstream consumer technology site that caters to the average user, Tecca has helped bring perspective to people who wouldn’t necessarily identify themselves as Techies, but who are also not afraid to invest in the latest gadget.
Fairly new as a brand, Tecca’s iPhone and Android apps were launched a year ago with the site going live in October 2010. The site attracted staffers who have contributed to a variety of well-known tech sites such as Mashable, Hack a Day, TechCrunch, Joystiq and Engadget.
Barb Dybwad, the former senior tech editor at Mashable, is at the helm of Tecca as director of content and programming. She is responsible for leading the editorial team and the resident “go-to” person for all things social media, gaming, technology and virtual worlds.
“We want to share our love of technology so that everyone can get enjoyment out of it instead of stress-all of these devices should be making us smarter and more productive, not more frustrated,” she said. “Tecca focuses on the practical usage of technology in people’s everyday lives.”
While the heart of editorial leans toward topics for the average user, demographics of the site show that all types of users are tuning in and women are more than usually involved.
“We are pretty close to parity between male and female audience, which we think is unusual for a technology-focused site,” Dybwad noted.
Tecca also indexes strongly in both the 18 to 34 and 35 to 49 demos as well as over-indexing a bit in the 50+ category, which skews the site a bit older than the typical gadget destination.
“I think we actually have a healthy mix of tech-savvy and new to tech audience. We are producing a large volume of content – as much as 350 to 400 pieces per month – which gives us an opportunity to offer news, views and guides for different levels of tech enthusiasm without alienating anyone else,” she said.
The overall voice is very accessible, approachable and upbeat which appeals to both savvy readers and those who aren’t well-versed and sometimes can feel talked down to at other sites. It’s all about keeping a balance in various categories with articles, how-to’s, product reviews, and dedicated columns so that the reader feels at ease.
The various features of the site give audiences a chance to interact with others and customize their experience. Users have the option to register with Tecca to create their own profile page and URL within the site. Also, users can login using Facebook Connect which allows them to use their Facebook avatar instead. Dybwad has noticed that the especially active users and commenters are using this Facebook feature.
Once registered, the user can leave reviews of devices or apps that they own or have used and see both the reviews and the comments they have left displayed on their profile. Through the Tecca iPhone or Android app, users can take advantage of the scanning feature which scans a product barcode to receive information on its specs, photos, reviews and prices.
Another interesting element of the site is Tecca TV, which features two informative in-house produced video shows. TechLife is a five-minute weekly news show where they run down five of the biggest and most interesting tech-related stories of the week. Dybwad is co-host of TechLife along fellow tech guru Ashley Esqueda each Friday. Within the show’s page on the site, users can also find additional links to more information on what was just discussed under Show Notes.
The other Tecca TV show is Just Show Me, a short daily segment that simply shows the viewer how to do one useful thing on a popular device they might own.
“For those we try to focus on the iconic gadgets dominating the marketplace; iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, game consoles, Mac and Windows computers, along with popular online services like Facebook, Pandora, and others,” Dybwad said.
Looking ahead into Tecca’s development, Dybwad gives a sneak peek on what’s to come. “We’ll be launching a new version of our iPhone app soon that’s going to have some really cool socially-enabled personalization features, which I’m really looking forward to,” she said. “We’ll also be launching photo galleries on the site imminently which will be a lot of fun, along with an entirely new video section including not just Tecca TV, but a large collection of other tech and gaming videos as well.”
She added, “It’s kind of funny that the premise of a lot of this technology is to simplify things, but I actually find myself carting around at least five devices pretty much every day: my 13-inch MacBook Pro, iPhone 4, HTC Evo, iPad 2 and 4G Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1,” she said. “What can I say, I love portable devices!”
Making the Pitch
The best way to contact Tecca is through the news email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, as it reaches all news editors.
“Phone is a terrible way to get our attention because we’re insanely busy and it’s more difficult to multi-task while on a voice call, so most of us tend to avoid ‘getting stuck’ on the phone,” she said.
Using Twitter to reach Tecca is fast and will catch their attention. “Twitter can actually be a great way to get in touch with us too, because it’s so immediate and we’re watching it all day. You can tip us off at our main account @tecca, or reach individual editors via the staff Twitter list.” Dybwad’s Twitter handle is @doctorparadox.
The type of coverage wanted by Tecca can crossover into tech. “We have more of a lifestyle focus than most tech sites, so we are always interested to see crossover tech stories that touch on things like travel, health and wellness, design, food, real estate, fashion and so on,” she said. “Parenting is a big lens for us as well, so family-oriented tech products and services are of great interest to us too. Mobility, living room and entertainment-oriented tech, futuristic innovations and concepts, and cloud computing/online services are all very hot sectors for us as well.”
Follow up emails are all right within a reasonable amount of time, but typically if no one gets back it means they are not interested.
On materials sent out, make sure all of the info is concise. Attachments are taken reluctantly. “We prefer all the info at a glance either in an email or via a link to a press release or other resource we can easily access online,” said Dybwad.
Dybwad reminds PR folks to make sure not to use all caps in the subject of any email. Again, calls are not really encouraged. “I always notice an uptick in calls from unknown numbers right before a major trade show which is the very worst time of all, those are some of the busiest times of the year for us and we’re at the very lowest point of our ability/desire to field a cold call.”
Lastly, Dybwad offers advice on originality: “Avoid excessive hyperbole about what your client’s product or service does or delivers because we can be a bit jaded from having pretty much seen it all at this point and if the marketing overpromises and under delivers we’re going to call you out on it.”
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