Technology & Innovation

Tech PR and Policy Decisions: How to Join the Conversation

Joe Ciccarello

September 30th, 2021

The transition to the Biden administration has brought a new set of laws, policy proposals and agendas that are poised to impact every industry, especially the tech sector. 

We’ve seen several extensions of the eviction moratorium to protect those most in need, billions in funding to electrify the country’s auto fleet, and continued emphasis on rebuilding and electrifying the energy grid making it a perfect time to spotlight innovation that can help solve pressing issues. But with such a nonstop, ever-changing policy news cycle, how can companies be part of the policy conversation in an impactful way?

Here are a few tips on how to work with a PR partner to break through and be a part of the policy conversation for companies of all sizes. 

Act Fast

When it comes to newsjacking across trends in your industry, it’s in your best interest to move fast. With ever-evolving federal, state and local policy, quickness is a must. 

Policies coming out of Washington or statehouses are guaranteed to be covered, and not just by reporters who cover government. Policies of all kinds—those that affect energy, transportation or national infrastructure, for example—have major implications for industries, businesses and people across sectors, and as a result, will be a topic of interest for reporters across the spectrum. Working with your PR partner to ensure you know which policies relevant to your business are coming down the pike and develop concise and unique commentary on said policies will enhance your chances of being a part of critical conversations and position you as a thought leader on the topic.

We recently did this with our client Octopus Energy, a renewable energy retailer based in Texas. Following the devastating winter storm in the state this past February that caused an unexpected surge in electricity bills, there were calls to end variable rate electricity pricing, where the cost of energy is based on demand. In an effort to educate the public, including the media, on the importance of this pricing structure in accelerating the use of renewable energy, we moved quickly to connect Octopus Energy’s CEO with key press covering the issue, earning coverage in major outlets including Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, and developed a rapid-fire op-ed that was placed in a high-impact local publication to reach key stakeholders across the state. 

Propose Solutions That Enable Policies

Most federal policy proposals have broad implications for numerous different stakeholders, on both a public and private level. To position your business at the center of national conversations, you’ve got to make it clear how your solution is unique to a specific policy. 

Take, for instance, the national push to adopt electric vehicles that received backing from the Biden administration just last week. With greater investment in mass EV adoption comes greater demand for technology that can enable this goal—this includes more accessible and affordable EV charging infrastructure—as well as planning decisions that are made through the lens of transportation equity.

To share their new report on EV-charging deployment, URBAN-X alumni company Mobilyze.ai leveraged the Biden administration’s plan to deploy 500,000 public chargers to land a hit in Axios and garner new business inquiries. The report offers a detailed analysis on access to public EV charging in the United States, how equity of access to charging varies across U.S. cities and where more chargers are needed to support growing EV adoption, making the team an expert source for achieving equitable deployment recommendations.

Add Something New to the Conversation

Another way companies can take part in national policy discussions is to think about how they can add a unique and relevant wrinkle to the conversation. Approaching policy-based discussions from a new, unexpected angle is a surefire way to build credibility in the eyes of key stakeholders, including media, prospective partners and customers, and other peers in your space.

Our tech PR client UrbanFootprint, a leading urban intelligence platform that uses ground-level data to help cities target and distribute relief, did just that throughout this summer. While uncertainty about the national eviction moratorium swirled during the past few months, UrbanFootprint challenged traditional relief distribution processes by offering a new data-driven solution to providing rent relief to those most in need. By reframing the way cities and government agencies can approach these types of crises, UrbanFootprint earned coverage in CNN, NBC News and Government Technology, to name a few.

Offering smart commentary and opinion on policies is a valuable opportunity for your company to differentiate itself from competitors, become a thought leader in your industry and engage key stakeholders, including partners, consumers and more. The policy newscycle shows no signs of slowing down, and with a cohesive PR plan to approach policy-based news, companies in the tech sector can reap the benefits that come with more frequent, impactful and fruitful media coverage.