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Sydney Ochoa

Published on

December 15, 2023


content marketing, media relations, public relations

As a public relations professional in the technology industry, product storytelling is a key pillar of many successful communications programs alongside thought leadership and customer storytelling.

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With 25+ years of global experience, we know how to build lasting narratives through the power of skilled storytelling, strategically integrated marketing activations and tactical media relations initiatives.

There is nothing a client loves more than telling the world they have a great product on their hands. And people are constantly being converted into customers every day by effective product narratives that not only tell us what a product does but demonstrate how said product will disrupt our lives.

Prior to the pandemic, before publication newsrooms shrank, landing a product story with a reporter was an easier feat than it is today. With innovation moving at the speed of light over the past three years to develop vaccines and unleash artificial intelligence, the bar set for a “good product” has significantly risen. Reporters receive so many pitches a week about new products but what they are more interested in is a compelling product story that is differentiated, new, or disruptive. Part of our job as PR people is to work with clients and their product teams to bring these stories to life. However, it is also important to note that not every product will have a story that ends up in Forbes or The Wall Street Journal. Good product led storytelling is also about knowing when your product news or story is media worthy and when it is not.

Related: Creative Ways To Step up Your PR Game Through Social Media

So how do you know if you have a good product story on your hands? Test your product narrative through the different product storytelling techniques below:

Unique Founding Story

Not all products are born out of garages with Steve Jobs at the helm but that doesn’t mean your product’s origin story won’t have legs with media. A question my teams and I have asked clients repeatedly throughout our careers is, “Any unique story to tell about how the product came together?” For many companies, the answer is rooted in upgrading the customer experience, “This is something our customers have been asking us for.” While this isn’t a differentiated or compelling story in itself, our role as PR pros is to dig deeper into the story to find a thread that sparks a larger dialogue. Did the product require the company to build its own in-house platform from scratch? If so, why didn’t you outsource? Is the product leveraging any emerging technologies to better the customer experience? Was the product started as a grassroots effort that then evolved into its own division? Taking the time to understand the product’s journey before, during, and after implementation, can give you the ingredients you need to tell a compelling product story.

Grounded in Momentum

A good news article, especially in the likes of a tier one business media publication, can rarely operate on a standalone product story. This is why I recommend many clients bundle any business momentum storytelling opportunities with product news pieces as they can serve as an added layer of interest should the product story be not very differentiated for the industry but important for the company vision or bottom line. Product narratives that tie into business success or spur a business strategy shift are the stories journalists want to tell, especially if you are a publicly traded company or a high growth startup. Pulling back the company curtain on how the product vision came to be and how it is driving strategy and/or growth can serve as an industry example for peers to either be inspired by or learn from.

Industry Disrupting

One of the most compelling product narratives that can be told is one of disruption. With new products coming to market every day, it is hard for your target audience let alone media, to decipher how the pair of headphones that launched last week are so uniquely different from the ones launched this week. Product features or updates that simply catch up with what competitors are already doing are not going to land you a full-page feature and a demo. My PSA to all companies is to do your competitive research first to truly understand if the product you are launching is an “industry first.” Media are constantly being inundated with stories about products that are “the first of their kind” yet once they’ve done some digging, the narrative doesn’t turn out to be as fresh as it seems. What is critical about telling a disruptive product story is the ability to show and not just tell. Offer a product demo that shows that your new phone case can save a phone from the weight of a semi-truck or user stories that highlight the various degrees of value that your product can add to their lives. It is hard to be disruptive when everyone is in the business of disrupting, so remember that if your product doesn’t have strong proof to back up your claim, media will be quick to poke those holes and pass on your story.

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It is an exciting time to be in the tech industry during this era of innovation, but telling a unique product story that can cut through all of the noise can be tough to do. By challenging your PR and product teams to dig deep and identify what makes your product stand out among the rest is what will separate a good product story from a great one.

Ready to uplevel your product marketing? Drop TEAM LEWIS a line today to learn more about our product led storytelling capabilities.

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