- Richard M. Williams
The Story Next Door
Adjacent stories are some of my favorites to help a company tell, but they are also often the most elusive. Adjacent stories focus on the impact a company’s products have on a specific customer. These aren’t necessarily stories about the company, or their product, but about what is enabled or created by the customer. What’s exciting is these stories focus on the value created by the product and how it positively impacts a customer or person’s ability to do their jobs. One great piece of coverage from an adjacent story pitch can open the eyes of a potential customer that might not have considered it before and motivate them to reach out to learn more.
One of the great things about an adjacent story is how it opens up the opportunity of pitching someone who doesn’t normally cover your company, but instead covers the industry or market specific to the company’s customer. Often, the company isn’t even interviewed for the story, just the customer, but the customer will discuss the company as it explains the benefit it has realized because of the company’s product.
Adjacent story pitches are not a type of broad pitch. It’s selective, finding the right reporter at the right publication that might be interested in how it might fit within their coverage. Some examples of how the team at Connect2 has leveraged the adjacent story pitch to generate coverage outside of the traditional media that cover our clients, include:
Client: Verne Global, Client Customer: RVX
Visual Effects Studio RVX chose Verne Global’s Icelandic data center as part of the visual effects rendering process, saving them time, money, and presenting a carbon-neutral option that it hadn’t considered before. We pitched the story to the reporters covering the technologies used in film production to tell the RVX story. We earned coverage in TechRepublic, Newsweek, and several other publications.
Client: Cradlepoint, Client Customer: Coachella Unified School District
Coachella Unified School District deployed Cradlepoint’s LTE wireless routers in school buses parked throughout the district overnight, so students had access to broadband for studying and homework. This story was shared with reporters covering education technology and rural broadband connectivity. Coverage included stories in Network World and the BBC.
Client: Clearfield, Client Customer: IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center
The IceCube Particle Astrophysics Lab is located at the South Pole and the harsh conditions that equipment must function in are unmatched. We wanted to tell this adjacent story to underscore how Clearfield’s equipment could function in any outdoor environment. We pitched one outlet, ArsTechnica, who covered the story.
Client: Adtran, Client Customer: Douglas FastNet
Douglas FastNet, a community broadband operator in Oregon, deployed fiber broadband to Douglas County Fire District 2 headquarters and a remote fire response camp for firefighters battling the wildfires that were sweeping the west coast. This story was shared with Adtran’s traditional telecom media outlets to help provide color and context about unique applications the company’s equipment can serve. Coverage included stories in Cabling Installation & Maintenance, Telecompetitor, among others.
One of the challenges with the adjacent story is that you must be able to discuss the end customer. If a client sells through the channel, or to an intermediary such as a broadband operator, that can create additional challenges. The goal of the adjacent story is to make people aware of the company and the value its products or services can bring to a customer. If a reader understands the value, they might seek the company out, looking to realize the same benefit within their own programs.
Adjacent stories can be a powerful addition to the regular drumbeat PR program that most companies embrace, adding color and context to how a product or service can have an impact. It can drive more people to a company’s website or inspire them to read other coverage that might give more detail on the company, its technology, team, and products.
At Connect2, it’s one of our favorite types of stories to tell.