There are two big reasons earning media coverage as an Internet of Things (IoT) company can be a challenge. First, with widely applicable connectivity at its core, IoT touches a vast number of sectors, often forcing journalists to self-educate on new applications and adapt their coverage through specific industry lenses. And second, IoT is an already-crowded market that’s expected to see a continued influx of companies, products, and services. The IoT platform market size is expected to grow by $1.25 billion from 2020 to 2025, accelerating at a CAGR of 26.67%, according to a recent report from research firm Technavio.
Every company wants to earn their piece of the pie by publicizing what they do, how it’s different, and the impact it is making on this growing market. To make it happen, your IoT PR approach needs to include new strategies that resonate with the media and ensure your company’s technology story stands out. When planning an earned media strategy, here are a few tips to consider that will lead to more compelling conversations with the media, and in turn, coverage of your brand.
Tap Into Customer Case Studies
In crowded media landscapes like IoT, you can stand out by offering journalists access to more resources that will add credibility and depth to their story. A great way to do this is by connecting journalists with real customer stories and examples that showcase how your company addressed a challenge, found a solution, and produced impactful results. Use company case studies and customer interviews to connect how IoT technology impacts different markets and provide media with a unique point of view.
That being said, one of the biggest challenges companies face in proving their work is identifying customers who are willing to speak about their experience and partnership. To begin building a database of case studies, work with your sales team to set up a system for asking customers to participate in a case study and collaborate on media opportunities. This should be done at the beginning of the customer relationship to set expectations early and eliminate the need to work out logistics in the middle of your partnership.
Prioritize customer examples that not only benefit your direct customer, but also have a positive impact on the end user experience. This helps build brand awareness for the end user. The more you can bridge the gap between B2B and end user impact, the larger your potential audience is for your IoT public relations strategy.
Build Credibility Through
Data-Backed Thought Leadership
Media are always looking for information that contributes to the big issues they are covering, and companies often have original data that can support those stories. IoT solutions gather a rich set of real-time data that can be mined for this for compelling insights around trends and critical use cases. These not only help to that inform and educate the market and your target audiences, but also serve to underscore your thought leadership in the space.
To establish credibility with influential media, companies need to know how to speak to their data in a way that combines numbers with storytelling. And for the best results, it’s important to have a spokesperson who has a pulse on the overall market and the more technical aspects of IoT technology.
Questions to Ask About Your Data to Craft Thought Leadership POVs
- When aggregated and anonymized, what does your data say about the industry? Or about the world?
- What does your data show that might be new or unexpected?
- What trends does your data show, and what does that mean for the industry?
- Where are the contradictions? If tracked over time, what is shifting and where is this trend headed?
- What intelligence can you arm a journalist with to provide deeper data and perspectives to help with their story?
Newsjack the Mainstream
A tried-and-true way to catch media attention is to connect your IoT application to mainstream conversations through newsjacking, or taking advantage of current events and breaking news stories to promote your company’s expertise and solutions. To determine how you might bring a unique perspective or value to a growing news story, think through questions like:
- How does your solution play into other emerging technologies?
- Is it enabling 5G advancements, aerospace and satellite tech, or autonomous vehicles?
- How can it help solve significant issues, like supply chain setbacks?
- How can it support the public’s understanding of trends or major events?
There are two types of newsjacking to prepare for in an IoT PR strategy: proactive and reactive.
For a proactive newsjacking opportunity, you can plan in advance around moments like upcoming events, key dates that impact markets, or yearly occurrences, such as predictions for the year ahead. To get ahead of these stories, build out a bank of approved quotes from your SMEs you can use in pitches when the time comes. Having this resource pulled together in advance gives you a speed advantage with media, so you’re one of the first emails they receive as they start working on their story.
For reactive newsjacking, you’ll need to get even faster. Speed is the name of the game and a key differentiator in getting recognized and having commentary included in breaking news stories. If you’re too slow, you’ll miss out – there are thousands of PR pros doing the same thing.
Compared to proactive newsjacking, reacting to breaking news opportunities requires that you have efficient and well-coordinated collaboration between your PR team and your SMEs. Educating and ensuring your team understands that they need to collaborate at a moment’s notice is key in making reactive newsjacking work for you. While the turnaround time is tight for reactive newsjacking, the potential coverage gains are massive.
How to Prepare for Reactive Newsjacking Opportunities
- Ensure your spokespeople are educated on the value of this approach and are clear on the expectation that they may be needed for spur-of-the-moment media opportunities with high-value media outlets. The faster they can respond, the more likely it is your company will be included in the coverage.
- Build and expand your bench of spokespeople who are media trained — not just one or two — so there is a higher chance of someone being available to speak. The more spokespeople you have available, the higher the chances are for at least one of them to give you the insight you need to beat the rush of PR pitches.
- Have a library of your company’s major talking points, key messages, and facts and figures as well as a standard briefing document template to help prep spokespeople at a moment’s notice.
- As you build upon your reactive newsjacking comments, compile a commentary bank that you can use for the future. If a similar story comes out, you will just need to tweak the responses slightly.
Whether you are proactively or reactively newsjacking, it’s important to make sure your commentary is timely, relevant, adds value to the conversation instead of being self-promotional, and compelling to grab the attention of reporters you are pitching.
Evolve Your IoT PR Strategy
as IoT Tech and Media Evolve
Using all three of tactics together, you can elevate your IoT PR strategy to maximize results and increase your chances of earning coverage in the sea of connected technologies.
The IoT landscape is seeing nearly constant growth and advancements. For your PR program to keep up, you’ll need to evolve alongside it. Knowing how to position your company, which reporters to track, and how to get your message out there in compelling and unique ways are crucial to helping you stay on top of IoT media. And above all, be prepared to switch up your strategy in response to changes in the industry. That flexibility goes a long way in staying relevant.
For more tips on strengthening your IoT PR program with earned media coverage, explore our interactive e-book: PR’s Guide to Media 2022.