At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicting information about masks and social distancing caused widespread chaos and confusion. But once medical and science professionals reached a consensus by analyzing data, we adjusted to a new reality.
Analyzing data to inform insights is a crucial skill, especially for tech marketers, and it’s a key learning to take away from our current pandemic challenges. Communicators who stay focused on telling a good story by leveraging data-driven tools will continue to create accurate and compelling content, even in uncertain times.
Those of us in tech PR like to think that everyone has the same comprehensive knowledge of the sector as we do. But the reality is that most people don’t because jargon and policy get in the way. When we make our clients sound like know-it-alls, readers stop paying attention.
We can bring them back, however, by showing how technology impacts their everyday lives. If we know the audiences we want to reach before we start writing, we can tailor content to fit their needs.
|This article is featured in O'Dwyer's Nov. '20 Technology PR Magazine
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Of course, we can’t do this alone. We need to work with our clients to make our work more approachable and straightforward. That means we need to understand what audiences need and develop compelling stories that convey a distinct perspective to capture their attention.
Humans have cherished stories since they drew them on cave walls, and while the medium may have changed, the message remains the same. Creative content rules if facts and data-driven insights back it.
Because of this, it’s important to gather accurate information as part of the storytelling process. Data and insights are part of the secret sauce that ties everything together. Tech marketers who combine good storytelling with credible statistics will help their clients secure a much-needed advantage in today’s competitive world.
Information can be a powerful tool to make impactful change, and the good news is there is more of it available than ever before. But tech PR professionals also need to know how to use it. By selecting the right data points and combining them with a compelling story, they can help their clients address their customers’ needs.
A powerful toolbox
The importance of data-driven storytelling needs to be part of every organization’s culture. That means training teams to find meaningful information, so they can craft compelling messages that inspire action.
We first need to understand what questions audiences are asking, so our stories can address those needs. We should use analytics tools to determine what problems or keywords users search for online around a given topic. We can then verify that our content addresses those queries and offer solutions that make it easy for audiences to act.
We also need to understand any data that our clients have to support a given topic, as well as any primary research they’ve fielded that can add credibility. For example, companies that provide cybersecurity solutions often track attacks made against I.T. network infrastructures. They also often survey I.T. decision-makers about the issues that keep them up at night. These insights can help make content more relatable and reinforce storylines.
Through news and social listening tools, tech PR pros can see which sites are most popular among the audience they want to reach. They can then get insight into the topics that readers are interested in or follow on social media. By helping their clients aim relevant content at these specific groups, PR teams can ensure they target the right people at the right time.
For trending news, it’s crucial to use specific hashtags for cross-platform campaigns. Through access to social listening tools that harness information about diverse topics, account teams can target the right influencers with very broad or extremely targeted outreach as appropriate.
There are also plenty of evergreen issues that have a longer trajectory. Industry leaders should search these topics frequently to determine engagement and strike when the iron is hot. Jumping on a story early and sending a well-researched proactive pitch at just the right time will ensure your clients are in a reporter’s head when they need that expertise.
These tools are not just relevant to tech clients. Agencies can use insights and strategies in many sectors to address relevant issues or create specific points of view tied to breaking news or industry issues. That way, they’ll have this valuable information at their disposal whenever they need it.
Tech PR pros who know how to find and use data-driven information can better craft impactful stories that generate interest and ultimately translate to more sales opportunities. By selecting the right data points and combining them with a compelling narrative, they can solve clients’ problems and make any subject more exciting or relevant. When done well, this is a winning strategy that will continue to pay dividends for clients.
Brian Sinderson is Senior Partner and East Coast Tech Practice Lead at Finn Partners.