As we head into year 3 of 2020…hang on, [puts finger on earpiece]… the control room is telling me it’s ACTUALLY 2022…ok, well, in any event it’s time to take a look at what to expect in the world of tech PR. While it might seem like every day lately is Groundhog Day, things are changing. Here are some trends to pay attention to and plan around to maximize visibility and coverage.
The media landscape is still evolving… a lot.
Media companies were hit hard by the pandemic. From January of 2020 to August of 2021, more than 6100 news workers were laid off. While many of those were in local and national newsrooms, tech media was not immune to drastic cutbacks. As a result, fewer reporters are being asked to do more – whether it’s covering more beats or writing more frequently – giving them less time to spend on developing stories. It’s not only harder to get the attention of reporters (and secure interviews), there’s now a premium on providing fully packaged story ideas to help make their jobs easier.
However, that’s not the whole story. In the later half of 2021, media companies started hiring again. The Bureau of Labor Statistics now projects that the media and communications sector is going to be one of the fastest growing employment segments of the economy over the next decade. New media companies like Axios are beefing up coverage of local regions and starting to offer subscription-based targeted newsletters.
In short, the media upheaval is ongoing but it isn’t necessarily all negative. As more traditional media outlets are going away, new ones are springing up or expanding.
You’re going to need more data
Insightful data is essential to grabbing the media’s attention and building thought leadership. In the current climate, data that can tell a story is much more likely to be covered than product or company news. That means being able to supply market statistics to justify the need for products, services and features as well as unique data (from customers, product feeds, research or intelligence) that no one else can provide. Good data can also supercharge a rapid response PR program, helping you stand out in a sea of opinion-based hot takes when breaking news hits.
If you can’t generate data directly from the products and services you offer, think about commissioning surveys. We’ve helped clients leverage survey data to generate ongoing coverage months and even years after a survey was first published.
The media’s appetite for content is booming
With media stretched thin, outlets are often turning news, trend and even product story pitches around with a request for bylined content. Many outlets are more than willing to have vendors fill out their pages with contributed articles or case studies (as long as they aren’t overtly self-promotional).
If you didn’t already have a thought leadership program that prioritizes contributed content, now is the time to start one. You’ll find a ready audience of outlets willing to take just about anything that’s well written, timely and vendor neutral. It’s not only a great way to give your subject matter experts added visibility, and build credibility for your company, it can also help with SEO.
Everybody has a podcast now
At the very start of the pandemic, some assumed that podcasts were doomed. The rationale was that since people were no longer spending time commuting, there wouldn’t be as much demand for long form audio content.
Fast forward to 2022 and podcasts not only survived the pandemic, the market is expected to grow significantly. It turns out that people stuck at home were looking for ways to fill the time.
The number of tech-focused podcasts is growing all the time, with shows that take both a general horizontal focus and some that are very niche. Whatever product or service you offer, chances are there’s a podcast that covers it. And they’re a great way to showcase the insights and perspective of your SMEs to highly targeted audiences.
In-person trade shows are back! Maybe. Possibly not.
After a pandemic-driven hiatus in 2020 and most of 2021, some major tech trade shows resumed in-person at the end of last year and the start of 2022. The normally massive Consumer Electronics Show, which had been virtual in 2021 once again returned to the Las Vegas Convention Center. But attendance was off by 73%, however, from the last in-person show with a little over half as many companies exhibiting.
The immediate future of in person events is still unclear. Some events have decided to once again go virtual or are taking a hybrid model, while others – like the annual RSA conference– have pushed their dates out to later in the year in the hopes that people will once again feel safe being in crowded spaces. We’ll see.
For the time, trade shows probably can’t be relied upon as a way to get in front of large numbers of media.