AI Overload – Competing for Share of Voice in B2B Technology Communications

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May 9, 2019
The technology sector has been flooded with news around artificial intelligence lately, and every tech company in existence is trying to capitalize on the buzz. As an agency, OmniScale Media provides branding, strategic communications, and marketing support to advanced and emerging technology companies. We’ve noticed this trend seems to be gaining a lot of new attention for the high-performance computing (HPC) industry, as organizations across every sector are trying figure out how to harness the benefits of machine learning (ML), deep learning (DL), and advanced analytics, and therefore increasingly finding a need for HPC-type infrastructure.

THE CHANGING MEDIA CLIMATE

This comes as we continue to see an increased demand for fresh and relevant content in B2B marketing (e.g. “content is king”). Every organization is tasked with becoming their own media source – constantly competing for share of voice – generating blogs, contributed articles, social posts, etc. at an ever-increasing rate. The content consumer is tasked with trying to decipher what information is valid, and what is biased, or tainted by corporate motives, or political agendas.

At the same time, there’s a storm brewing in the media space. Some reports tell us that 80% of ALL advertising revenue goes to Google and Facebook – neither of whom produce any of their own content. A generation has come of age, raised on an internet they were told was “free”, so the idea of paying for a subscription for quality content seems ludicrous to many. Media companies have been struggling for over a decade, with many going out of business, leaving journalists, ad sales reps, and other media personnel to find other work.

At the end of last month, Bloomberg published a story citing the number of public relations specialists versus journalists according to the U.S. Census. Would it surprise you to learn that there are currently six PR specialists to every one journalist in the U.S. compared to two-to-one 20 years ago? At least on the surface, it appears as though there is a direct correlation between the decline in media jobs and the increase in PR jobs. Whether it’s actually true is beside the point: there is an undeniable increase in noise for both journalists and their readers to cut through.

RISING ABOVE THE NOISE

The results of this situation is increasing pressure on journalists who are being bombarded with press releases and pitches for contributed articles at a rate they can’t keep up with. The trouble at a media organization these days isn’t failing to come up with enough content – it’s deciding what to publish. This leaves B2B marketers with a dilemma: with every PR specialist competing with 5 other PR specialists for one journalist’s time, how does an organization rise above the noise, or “to the top of the news stack”? Many times, deciding what story to run with comes down to some combination of two factors: (1) what content is going to be most relevant to their audience, and therefore get the most traffic, and (2) what story is going to be the easiest for them to package up.

At OmniScale Media, we believe PR success comes from understanding these factors, and leveraging a combination of research, domain expertise, and relationships to make the reporter’s job easier. Domain expertise comes into play when deciding where, how, and who to pitch a given story to. Knowing a reporter’s beat, upcoming editorial calendar opportunities, relevant angles to pitch against competitor’s coverage, and ultimately understanding the focus of their publication and audience needs, builds trust. Our focus on helping advanced technology companies lends us the opportunity to focus on building relationships with a targeted group of relevant journalists, and our experience on their side of the media desk gives us a unique understanding of how to make their jobs easier.

Many marketing and PR agencies work across a variety of markets and move account managers around too frequently for them to become domain experts, or to build any solid relationships in a given niche. Emerging technologies are difficult to understand, and the effective audience, or users of these technologies present their own unique communications challenges. Relationships matter and having representatives that understand the challenges tech journalists have makes all the difference.

Another critical component to PR success is having a methodology that serves as a foundation that adds value to each layer of your communication structure. We’ll cover our methodology, “The Communications Pyramid” in a future blog post.

If you’re a technology company trying to figure out how to cut through the noise, reach out to us. We’d be glad to consult with you on how to break through.

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