Wondering why your product message isn’t connecting with the IoT media you want to reach? Think about it this way: Have you ever been trapped in conversation with a well-meaning dinner partner who spent the entire time talking about a subject in which you have absolutely no interest? (Say you’re a dedicated vegan, and all they want to talk about is the superior taste of free-range beef.)
If there’s disconnect between your targeted influencers and the message you want to convey about your IoT product or service, you’re literally wasting your time—and theirs. Products can be labeled with the “hot” IoT language, but that’s not enough. You must deliver your message with the proper context, to the right people, or it’s almost like you never delivered it at all.
The one-size-fits-all-model has never worked for media relations in any industry, and in a dynamic market such as the IoT, it’s an approach that too often simply squanders your budget. You can get into a vicious cycle of pitching and re-pitching the same message to the same people, and it will never work.
Of course, you should consider the basics, such as how a reporter prefers to be contacted, whether it’s email, Twitter or a quick phone call after lunch. However, with IoT, there’s more to consider. For example, within the IoT, do they have a specialty area? Do they cover your competition often? How deep is their understanding of technology? Do they cover product launches, or is it better to approach them with theme-style article ideas?
It’s not enough just to follow what they write about for their publication and in their blogs. You should also be following their social media posts as well—it’s a great place to connect with what they share, and can be a good conversation starter as well.
Based on Calysto’s experience pitching media and analysts in mobile, wireless, telecom, IT and IoT, here are some observations on how to deliver the right message to the right media and analysts:
Analysts: Messages should revolve around progress made and key milestones in moving the company forward. In addition, analysts speak directly to potential customers and therefore can be strong advocates, so start at a high-level, but go deep to differentiate your products and services.
Sample target? Gartner’s Eric Goodness. Why? Eric is most well-known in the IoT space for his role in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant and he also has a strong voice in choosing the analyst firm’s Cool Vendors for IoT.
Sample target? Carrie McGillivray. Why? Carrie is Vice President for IDC Research’s Mobility and Internet of Things teams. She also co-founded the IoT research domain at IDC. Carrie researches, writes about and speaks about IoT. She was named one of the top 10 IoT Influencers by OnAlytica for 2016, and one of the top 25 most influential women in IoT by the IoT Institute.
National technology media: Company and product messages need to be explained in the eyes of the end user. How does your product help further IoT in everyday life? What unique value does it bring to the user? How is it better than / different from the competition? Where does it fit into the overall ecosystem?
Sample target? Stephen Shankland. Why? Based in Paris, Stephen is a longtime CNET reporter who covers all sorts of tech topics, including IoT. He looks at not only the technology but also how it is benefiting the end user. Many follow his articles and he also has a large Twitter following (~27,500), so his words travel far.
IoT media: Messages can be in the weeds, but be clear how your company and products differ from others. What sets you apart? How does your product make a clear difference in IoT? Why should editors care?
Sample target? Stacey Higginbotham. Why? Stacey has been a strong voice in the industry through her writings for Fortune and via her well-respected IoT Podcast, and is always reinventing herself in the space. She has launched an IoT newsletter, Stacey on IoT, which is delivered every Friday morning to subscribers, and still is hard at work on her IoT Podcast.
The IoT is a dynamic space, with thousands of companies vying for attention from a finite number of influencers. That means survival of the fittest…fittest message, that is. Taking the extra time to tailor your pitch to a specific influencer is worth it—it shows you know their coverage areas and interests, and could very well land you a long-sought-after interview.