Merritt Group Blog

Understanding the IoT Media Superstorm

Over the years, we’ve done a lot of trends tracking for clients - from the evolution of cloud computing to the rise of big data and analytics. Based on our media research, the Internet of Things (IoT) is by far the fastest growing media trend we’ve seen in recent years.

So, we did a bit more digging into the spike and found that media coverage of IoT first started steadily rising during 2013. The trend really took off in 2014, showing a 139 percent year-over-year increase in press attention. This growth accelerated early last year (2015) and since then the volume of coverage has remained fairly steady. On one hand, the market’s focus on the topic is great news for anyone with an IoT story to tell. On the other, it’s a major challenge to find the right plot twist that will capture the attention of a reporter, and ultimately their audience, when they have so many willing sources to tap for “the latest IoT insight.”

So what’s driving the buzz?

No surprise, the heavy hitters in the tech world, like Microsoft, IBM and Amazon, have been pushing aggressively into IoT discussions over the past year. Microsoft, for example, gained media attention for product announcements that are aimed to help customers embrace IoT. In the case of IBM, the company announced in the last year a new division focused on IoT, and a $3 billion investment in broadening its IoT products and services. Amazon made an IoT acquisition to bolster its offerings and launched its own new IoT platform for AWS. Tech giants left and right are unveiling their corporate strategy for IoT and scrambling to create new products to address such needs.

How do I jump into the conversation if I’m not a tech giant?

But not everyone is a Microsoft or IBM, companies whose size naturally attract a media following. So, how can a company of any size or stage of growth secure a seat at the table? We’ve done a bit of research that might help map out that very answer:

Most Popular Articles and Topics

Publications of all types - business and trade - are covering IoT. Looking at stories covered in business press over the last year, our analysis of media coverage found that product news, IoT security and the technology’s future dominated the conversation. Please note that the vast majority of articles focused on the “how” of IoT.

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This means that while readers of business publications still want to understand what IoT is, they’re more interested in how companies are using and deriving value from the technology. They want to read use cases that provide concrete examples of how IoT could be applied to their own companies and industries. Delivering your IoT narrative with this insight in mind and  in a format that is known to resonate with readers could mean the difference between your piece falling flat or landing on the front page of your target publication.

Media Generating the Most Popular Content

In addition to looking at the type of content that is resonating with readers, we also conducted an outlet analysis to gain a better understanding of which publications are most frequently covering the topic, and how their audiences are seeking out IoT content. Telling a good story is half the battle. Telling it to the right audience seals the deal.

Below is a chart depicting major media outlets generating the most popular (viewed and shared) content focused on IoT. You’ll notice a healthy balance of tech-focused and business outlets are diving into the discussion, which reflects readers’ desires to read about a mix of the technical, operational and market challenges when considering an IoT strategy.

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Search Trends Among Business Readers

Next, we took a look at what readers are searching for in relation to IoT. A handful of these are still linked to specific vendors who were first out of the gate with their marketing pushes, but searches are beginning to expand to cover more specific technical issues, like security and sensors, as well as business opportunities. So if you’re an IoT company looking to cut through the noise, take the opportunity to comment on macro trends and tech giant news to insert your point of view into highly visible conversations.

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Media focus can change on a daily basis based on breaking news of the day, and these insights can help any communications professional be more strategic about bringing their IoT narrative to market. For IoT providers hoping to insert themselves into the media conversation, focus on developing the right type of content (for example, “how to” articles and case studies), and tie to trends and topics business readers already have on their radar (from breaking news to evolving standards to the latest security hack). These considerations will help differentiate your content and deliver to reporters what they their readers want.

Topics: IoT