In tech PR, storylines change quite a bit from year to year. The rapid shifts are inherent to technology, with both products and software evolving swiftly and with frequent changes in direction.
So, it can be challenging for PR pros, or companies DIY’ing their PR efforts, to stick their finger in the air to determine the tech wind’s direction. Still, that doesn’t stop us from trying. Here are the top 5 tech trends I think will impact PR in 2014.
This one was all over CES. From smartwatches to Google Glass, wearable technology includes Internet-enabled products that are being integrated into previously routine daily human interactions. Can your product or application fit into the wearable storyline? Even for those products that aren’t a “true” fit into the category, it’s possible to link your offering to the trend/narrative with some creative thinking around potential applications and possible use cases.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things and wearable tech are similar, if not related, concepts. The Internet of Things, as McKinsey & Company would define it, is the idea that “the physical world itself is becoming a type of information system,” with everything from pacemakers to refrigerators being online-capable. By anchoring a product or service to this tech PR trend, even seemingly dull offerings can become sexy stories. Need proof? See these venetian blinds.
Man Versus Machine
Making complicated operational tasks easy at scale doesn’t sound all that sexy. But if you look at the coverage in 2013 leading into 2014, it most certainly is for both media and the enterprise industry. If you’re in tech PR—which often overlaps with digital ad/marketing PR—you’ve likely heard about programmatic buying and marketing automation, two tools that streamline project efficiency for advertisers and marketers. In reality, these two buzzed-about categories speak broadly to an umbrella narrative about automating previously human-driven functions through software and technology. It’s the timeless man-versus-machine debate, reframed, and it’s going to have staying power in 2014.
Growth hacking, as a concept, has been around forever in PR. TheNextWeb defines a growth hacker as someone who can “utilize analytical thinking, product engineering and creativity to significantly increase their company’s core metric(s).” It’s basically figuring out how to scale your startup quickly and creatively through tactics like email marketing, SEO, content marketing, paid acquisition, etc. Every tech PR pro has pitched a “growth hack” story, but the term has only recently come to the fore as a more compelling phrase for a common media angle. By incorporating it into pitches about your business, you can more effectively “growth hack” your coverage.
I’m cheating here. Open source isn’t a new concept by any means, but it remains one of the sexier tech trends available to PR pros and the companies they represent. If you can highlight the way in which an aspect of your technology, marketing, business, etc. was driven externally, by end-users, you can develop a captivating and fascinating story for press. We’ve done this quite a bit for our client skobbler, which led to a recent $24M acquisition, as covered by The Wall Street Journal. Take a look at our skobbler: PR Case Study here.
These obviously aren’t the only tech trends we’ll see in 2014, but they’re some of the most compelling.