Working in technology PR, in which breakthroughs and advances are moving at lightning pace, it might be tempting to think that the role of the human is being subsumed. From AI and machine learning to robots and an increasingly automated workplace, technology rules our days.
Yet behind every tech story there’s really a human story waiting to get out and this could be the angle that makes the difference between a story with an impact and one which sinks without trace.
We were reminded of this in a recent media training session when we were deliberating over a pitch for a new client and were advised to step back and look at the human angle. What difference will this make to people’s lives – to employees – to the new recruits the organisation is looking to employ, to the IT teams themselves.
In the same way, data and stats can provide evidence of a trend but the human stories can bring it to life. Think about it: behind all the technology there are people, from CISO’s challenged with ever-mounting pressures and stresses around new threats and skills shortage to employees trying to get on with their jobs. Behind the greatest innovations are developers and entrepreneurs who have followed their passions from an early age and built fast growing companies or who have been inspired by mentors to pioneer new ways of solving big problems.
I think it also comes down to this: people are interested in people. We want to know about what the industry commentators and leading figures think the latest cyber threat or data breach. But we also want to see their human side, what gets them up in the morning, keeps them motivated and drives them on.
As a case in point, I’ve always liked the Q and A or ‘day in the life’ sections of publications which dig into the personality behind the company’s executives: how they got started, what music they’re listening to, what their interests are. The questions might seem light-hearted but the responses can be enlightening. They give more colour to an individual, make them relatable and may just inspire someone to find out more about their technology or what makes their company a great place to work. And it can be these bits of information which make a spokesperson stand out from the crowd. We’ve unearthed some great insights into the interests and formative years of our spokespeople sometimes from conversations or things that they’ve mentioned in passing. We’ve learnt that our spokespeople are experts in everything from martial arts to professional footballing and skateboarding.
Story telling – and story selling – are about much more than the technology. They’re about the people behind the stories and the difference that technology can make to our lives.