In January, I analyzed three macro shifts that are impacting technology PR coming into the new year:

  • Business, technology, and vertical trade media are rising in importance.
  • Objective analysis and data should rule your PR strategy.
  • Mixing PR with social and owned content is imperative.

As we enter 2023, robots, drones, AI, predictive analytics, and RPA are not new. In fact, they are now barely buzzwords. These technologies – in and of themselves – do not possess the whizbang of the past to drive earned media coverage automatically. We are at a massive turning point in adoption and scale of increasingly advancing technologies. To effectively communicate the value of these technologies,  context surrounding their impact needs to be constructed in narratives. The best way to do this using PR is through thought leadership. 

In part two of our PR in 2023 Series, I’ll lay out the 3 categories of thought leadership to center PR campaigns around this year: 

1. Technical Thought Leadership

This type of thought leadership is a baseline must for innovation technology companies seeking to amp up SEO and validate their position in the market. It needs to be the cornerstone of all systematic PR programs. 

Technical Thought Leadership is defined as intersecting industry/market trends with the product narrative in the context of the target audiences’ pain points. It means getting into the industry-specific concepts and then taking it back to the base logic of what differentiates the platform to make an impact. This type of PR is best aligned with decision-making audiences, frequently found in vertical and trade media. It’s important to start here as this type of outreach establishes meaningful credibility within a sector and serves as a platform for driving the campaign upstream to Tier 1 national media.  

Technical Thought Leadership is, by design, intended to drive top of funnel growth and serve as an extension of content marketing efforts. If executed at scale, it establishes a foundation for effectively communicating the company’s innovation to the precise audience they aim to target.

2. Data Thought Leadership

To have an edge and gain Share of Voice at scale, PR programs need to be infused with meaningful data concepts. Data findings often come from the analytics within a platform itself. These analytical findings can be leveraged to create narratives that have deep appeal within vertical and business media. A few strong stats help to explain how sectors and markets are transforming. Any analytical business arguments leveraged to convert customers should be brought to the table and woven into the PR narrative. 

Analytical data concepts can be well-packaged within a press release and leveraged in one-to-one media outreach. Data press releases are the most compelling and highly-covered form of news releases. They serve to catalyze Technical Thought Leadership and add significant traction to a PR campaign. 

While Data Thought Leadership is a heavier lift than other forms of thought leadership in terms of preparation, the pay-off is enormous. Marketers should brainstorm with the PR team on what can be molded into news concepts—don’t leave anything out! Often there are great nuggets that need an outside analysis to shape. 

3. Visionary Thought Leadership

When it’s time to cast a full vision for a sector or market and take visibility to the most highly influential media outlets, campaigns should begin incorporating Visionary Thought Leadership. To move into Tier 1 national media at scale, most often it will be the CEO or other C-level executive that is positioned as the spokesperson. The concept and subject matter must demonstrate massive and far-reaching implications for a sector or business landscape. 

Two key fundamentals of the concept need to be in place: Third-party data bolstering the perspective, along with a quantification of the impact or disruption. Often Visionary Thought Leadership concepts show the culmination of multiple trends converging to dramatically shift dynamics in a market. 

These campaigns are higher risk and thus higher reward. The concepts have to be compelling to convert interest as the bar of impact is much higher. In these campaigns, it’s important to establish a strong relationship with the media. We find that these pieces often require multiple conversations prior to converting into transformative opportunities. 

Bringing it Together with an Origination PR Campaign

If commencing an Origination PR Campaign in 2023, we recommend considering the following roll-out of different types of thought leadership programming:  

Q1 – Kick-off and establish Technical Thought Leadership coverage

Q2 – Publish the first data-analytics concepts and releases

Q3 – Continue Technical and Data Thought Leadership while introducing Visionary Thought Leadership

Q4 – Double down on Data and Visionary Thought Leadership 

In a healthy and multifaceted PR campaign, marketers need to approach PR with a significant focus on thought leadership to shape their market, drive top of funnel through PR, and ultimately redefine their categories.

anthonyBarnum’s systematic methods and analytical case studies serve as a compass for designing PR programs that deliver exceptional earned media results at a predictable and meaningful cadence.