There’s no gentle way to say it: as communications professionals, we face an increasingly challenging earned media landscape every day. Keeping abreast of the latest media trends and reporter interests is a key way Method builds reporter relationships and secures coverage for our clients. These insights provide a foundation for developing communications strategy and drive results.
Recently, we undertook a research project to understand the most popular topics in tech trade and business publications with an executive audience, using the tools Method invests in to discover trends and track publications. We looked at coverage across publications including Bloomberg, CNBC, Forbes, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, CIO, Protocol, TechCrunch and ZDNet. We chose these publications based on their reach within tech, the quality of their reporting, the number of visitors these sites receive and their social media presence.
What We Found
As expected, the main themes recurring across publications were COVID-19 and the pandemic. Over the last year and a half, every publication was working within the context of COVID-19, and their stories reflect that. However, the way COVID-19 has impacted business has evolved as time has gone on. At the beginning of 2020, it was driving an acceleration in cloud adoption, and recently the focus has shifted to how the pandemic has transferred power in the workforce and the future of work.
Digital Transformation & AI
A consistent theme we saw was digital transformation and cloud adoption. Publications have been eager to explore unique ways that recognizable brands are using technology. One technology that saw a lot of attention in these use cases was AI. Reporters needed evidence to write stories and commonly highlighted applications of the technology, often requiring a customer. Innovative implementations of products and offerings are valuable media assets for our technology clients.
As always, hard news is top of mind for reporters. Financial news like deals, funding and IPOs are consistently covered across business and tech outlets, but that doesn’t guarantee coverage for every hard news announcement. In our day-to-day outreach, we’ve received feedback that reporters are looking for exclusive stories and are needing longer timelines to write. As the tech space continues to grow, exits and funding rounds happen more often, and reporters have to prioritize. Early pitching and exclusives make it easier for reporters to consider writing about financial announcements.
The Future of Work
While the conversation around COVID-19 has shifted toward the future of work, the discussion of work and the job market goes beyond the pandemic. Reporters are writing about how leaders are thinking about future workplaces, the challenges of talent acquisition and the employee experience. For tech companies, these conversations have centered around the permanence of remote work and what returning to the office will look like from a human and policy perspective, alongside hiring challenges. Companies willing to talk frankly about their policies and plans have seen positive coverage emerge.
Top tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon and Microsoft are consistently covered across publications for their own news or another organization’s news that is tied to them. Their decisions about remote work have had industry-wide ramifications. Additionally, government skepticism of tech has been consistent over recent years, carrying through administration changes. Policy surrounding tech appears to be a rising priority, and as legislative actions begin to take hold, this will likely stay a hot topic in coming months.
With these topics top of mind for reporters, we advise that as you develop announcements and pitches for tech media, you:
- Identify innovative ways customers are using your products, as well as innovative ways you’re using technology
- Give reporters as much time as possible to write your hard news story
- Share your policies and plans for remote work and how you will return to the office
- Find links between policies designed for big tech and the impact on your company
We use our thorough research to help us tailor our approach to individual publications and be more relevant to reporters, based on what they’ve found interesting in the recent and long-term past. As a result, when we approach reporters with more relevant stories, we build better relationships and secure better results for our clients.