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PR 101: Becoming the top voice in a niche industry


Nathan Patel

When I first entered the world of PR, a wise(ish) man told me:

“You’re about to learn so much useless information in this job that you’ll never be able to use again.”

He wasn’t wrong. When it comes to PR, sometimes you’ll find yourself at 3 am wondering how and why you’ve ended up knee-deep in a research project on the use of faxing in modern-day enterprises. Not exactly a topic that’s the perfect icebreaker for happy hour drinks.  

Whilst the stereotype of PR may be a lot of late-night networking events, drinks aplenty, and the odd gift package to seduce a national journalist into covering a client, the reality is that every company, even the most esoteric, needs a brand voice and impression for audiences. In B2B tech this is especially true, as client’s products or services often operate behind the scenes – be it AI-powered monitoring systems, or the cybersecurity supporting your cybersecurity to provide an extra layer of protection most won’t ever realise is there.

There’s someone out there for everyone

To paraphrase, there can be 100 publications in a room and 99 aren’t interested, but all it takes is one to pay attention and it can change your whole life. The amazing (relatively speaking) thing about the world wide web, is if there’s news of any kind, there’s usually someone willing to talk about it, and definitely someone boring enough to read about it. This can range from tabloid gossip to tech breaking news, but when it comes to taking on a PR client, your well-established gardening tech brand isn’t going to grab the attention of BBC News on a weekly basis.

But there’s something out there for everyone, and it’s up to you as a PR to find the perfect home for even the most unique of thought leadership articles. Research into your topic and industry is critical – you need to know who is talking in the space, where your competitors have already made roots and identify which placement will create the most ripples. An online readership of just under 10,000 may not compare to national coverage at first glance, but when it’s the go-to magazine for your target buyers, suddenly that makes a massive impact in starting a conversation.

Seeing the bigger picture; from macro to micro

Whilst initially, it might appear difficult to find an angle that reads as interesting and not just niche jargon, looking into how your client’s experience relates to wider world issues can hold the answer. As PRs, a general awareness of the news landscape is important – tech news even more so as it is a constantly evolving industry – so finding innovative and interesting links to current news topics can propel your CEO’s voice into stardom and boost brand recognition.

Knowledge of your client’s core messaging and how you can link that to wider world issues is also key. Sustainability, cybersecurity and AI are all massive topics of discussion, so using those as a gateway to get your CEO a seat at the table can provide more avenues to then talk about their more niche topic of expertise. Alternatively, using these wider issues as the basis for an industry-specific article helps keep up the appearance that your client is aware and knowledgeable, not just when discussing their company’s prime area of expertise, but also when considering how they can impact and improve the world at large.

Commenting on what’s mainstream whilst staying within what your client can feasibly talk about can be a balancing act. It’s up to you to provide a unique insight and perspective – something a journalist will definitely appreciate more than the thousands of generic quotes they’re likely to receive a day.

Constantly learning, rarely reusing

Industry experts for niche topics provide an opportunity to think more creatively about how to innovate to increase brand awareness and get their messaging into the wider conversation. But unless you take the plunge and dive head-first, you’ll miss the nuance and innovation that only a marketing brain can find. Keep researching and embrace the journey of learning about how a part of the world you never knew about works, even if you’ll never need that knowledge again in your professional life. Who knows – you might just end up using it to answer an obscure trivia question that wins your pub quiz team £50.