Technology has never been a more popular business topic, as cities across the country work to add tech jobs and attract technology companies to help bolster and diversify their post-recession economies.
Startup culture has also been thriving and expanding beyond Silicon Valley — and so is the money — providing many opportunities for technology stories in your local markets, even if it doesn’t immediately appear to be the next big tech hub.
Local technology associations, like the Arizona Technology Council, have always been great sources of information for expert comments, but they can also lead to future story ideas. The president or CEO of the group would be a great guide to what technologies are actively being developed in your area.
These associations also tend to host plenty of events throughout the year, which often bring speakers to talk about many different topics and trends businesses are actively dealing with. These types of events can help you localize national story angles while also learning about companies that are doing interesting things in your own backyard.
Personally, my eyes skipped over the articles about a KFC Snacker going into space before I finally figured out that one of these events had a local angle: an Arizona company supplied the space balloon that sent the chicken sandwich into the stratosphere.
These events can even give you a great idea as to how personable a CEO of a company is for possible profile interviews, since you’ll be meeting them in person.
The local associations also act as great political advocates for the local technology industry. It would be a good idea to check out if your local association releases an annual Public Policy Guide, which could help you track down local technology issues and emerging technologies that are happening in your coverage area.
The entrepreneurial and technology communities have been obsessed with fast-pitch competitions. Some are like the popular TV show Shark Tank, or are bracket style events like March Madness.
All of these events call for a wide-range of startups to bring their ideas and showcase them in front of an audience in an effort to win some much-needed cash.
The companies that participate might just be the next “unicorn,” so it’s always a good idea to profile some of the companies that participate in these competitions, even the companies that don’t win.
Business incubators and collaborative workspaces
The competition floor isn’t the only way to find out about local, emerging startups, companies and concepts. Business incubators and collaborative workspaces have been rising in popularity, and these places can be a treasure trove for stories to cover.
Take some time to meet these companies and speak with founders and find out if there’s interesting angles and topics to discover at your local incubator. The leaders behind the incubator could also be great sources and advocates for your community.
When you get involved with your local technology communities, you might just be surprised at what you’ll find out. The local commerce authority or university can be another local advocate and resource for possible story ideas on your local technology community.
Sometimes the tech community can be hiding in plain sight, but once you start a little digging, you’ll find a number of possibilities.