Group Gordon’s Kerry Close shares advice to help emerging technology companies clearly communicate what they do and why it matters.
The term “emerging technology” can encompass a number of constantly-evolving fields, from augmented reality to blockchain to nanotechnology. For companies working in these emerging fields, telling their stories to press in the right way through earned media is critical for strategic expansion, public awareness, and adoption.
Below are a few principles to keep in mind when crafting and executing communications plans for companies on the bleeding edge of technology:
1. Start with the right questions (and don’t be afraid to ask them!)
You’re the expert on communications and media strategy. But on day 1 of a PR engagement, it’s completely reasonable to not yet be an expert on, for instance, virtual reality. Do research and a thorough inventory of the information and resources available to you, and take stock of holes in your knowledge. Then talk to the relevant stakeholders who have valuable insights to share. By doing the necessary homework beforehand, you’ll be able to ask them thoughtful questions that will be valuable in developing your communications strategy.
2. Make media research a consistent priority
Particularly in some fields of emerging tech – such as cryptocurrency or artificial intelligence – the media landscape today is vastly different from what it was a year ago, or even six months ago. Do your due diligence on the key journalists covering the space in trade and industry media, as well as top-tier press. Know the types of stories they tend to write, their style, and the tone of their outlets. Then, stay abreast of trends in relevant fields by tracking conversations in the media, on social media, and among industry leaders. When deciding the media outlets to target, always keep in mind your client’s ultimate business goals and end audiences: Which publications are their potential customers actually reading?
3. Tell a clear, compelling story
Journalists need to make their articles interesting and relatable to their readers, many of whom probably aren’t intimately familiar with new technologies. Make your pitches more compelling by clearly explaining why the technology is unique, fills a gap, or responds to public demand. By helping them connect the dots to see why the tech would be newsworthy, you’ll build valuable credibility with the reporters who need to know your client.
4. Keep the bigger picture in mind
The nuances of technology don’t always drive the narrative. But emerging technologies can have ripple effects for the economy, consumer behavior, and society. Understand how your client’s technology plays into the major trends in their industry and related fields, identify the broader news topics executives can speak to, and focus on features of company leaders’ stories that set them apart. By doing so, you’ll give your client’s company and spokespeople more opportunities to show their expertise and leadership.
5. Be candid with your clients
Your clients rely on your news judgment and advice about the aspects of their companies that can make headlines. Offer honest counsel about the angles and updates that might not excite reporters. Always be proactive about suggesting alternate ways of framing and delivering company news and key messages.
In working with emerging technology companies, you have the opportunity to tell some of the most exciting and as yet unexplored stories in media today. It can be incredibly exciting to watch an emerging technology company develop. By staying on the pulse of the industry and thinking creatively in your communications strategy, you can even to play a role in its growth.