Blockchain reaction – making the link between trending topics and tech PR

Michelle By Michelle

Technology is a field that often seems awash with buzzwords and much talk about the ‘next big thing’. Whether it’s GDPR or big data, the latest security breach, or breaking news from Facebook and other tech titans on how they are handling (or indeed mishandling) our personal data – it can sometimes appear that just a handful of topics dominate the narrative.

Many companies will have a view on these topics and want to comment on them by offering their own opinions. While tapping into the latest trends is a key tactic to make PR pitches and content more appealing and topical, it’s important to remember that you must pitch something interesting that actually adds to the debate and moves the conversation forward. In other words, journalists can’t and won’t write the same stories every day, so offering something novel is crucial.

One of these hot topics is blockchain. Ever since the emergence of the ‘distributed ledger system’ (catchy!), it has had near-constant exposure in enterprise tech and IT media, along with business and national publications. Now the initial rush is over, many journalists naturally express fatigue at receiving the ‘same old, same old’ pitches on blockchain that fail to offer anything new. We’ve even seen something of a backlash against blockchain happening already (tech moves fast!) – with some going as far as to call it the new snake oil.

While much of the talk around blockchain has related to cryptocurrencies, at Spark, we’ve been working closely with our clients interested in commenting on blockchain to come up with angles that haven’t been done to death. For example, we worked with The Pistoia Alliance to survey the opinions of life science professionals on blockchain. Lauren blogged about those results, here. The story was well received by the life sciences press because there wasn’t already lots of similar research out there, and it offered something new to the media.

Another successful tactic in ensuring our pitches make the grade is not just talking about the theory but using real-world applications of technology. For Dynatrace, that meant offering an opinion on how blockchain can cause performance issues and how to prevent them. For Virtusa, coverage came from giving advice to the C-Suite on overcoming the ‘hype’ around blockchain, and citing practical examples of blockchain in action – from agricultural financing, to monitoring machinery. For Servion, visibility was achieved with a video interview on how blockchain will disrupt customer experiences.

The range of tactics available – interviews, opinion pieces, features, proactive pitches, research – show the wealth of opportunity there is to ensure clients are linked to trending tech topics. The key thing to remember is not to just be another link in the chain; be relevant, topical, and practical, and you can help journalists write stories that offer new ideas to the field, as well as securing that all-important coverage.