As this was Focused Energy’s first foray into U.S. PR, our Boston-based team started the campaign by identifying the key media and influencers to target. This primarily consisted of top-tier business press, as well as scientific vertical targets and non-traditional media like podcasts.
Since we were starting from scratch with an unknown brand working on new ways to generate clean energy, we took two different approaches to media outreach. We targeted science trades like EE Times, Clean Technica and Science Magazine, among others, to validate Focused Energy’s work, and business press to amplify awareness and generate mass interest in laser-based fusion energy. We also created a well-oiled rapid response machine to jump on any breaking news, in lieu of our own announcements.
With cutting-edge science, credibility is of utmost importance. So, we started off by securing thought leadership bylines and Q&A opportunities among the science trades to build the credibility of Focused Energy scientists. Then, we set our sights on business press. We knew that a strong piece of coverage would pave the way for future opportunities – we just needed our first bite from a big fish.
To achieve this, we had to build trust in Focused Energy first. So, our immediate business press goal was not to secure coverage, but to establish relationships. We initially offered background conversations to discuss the potential for laser-based nuclear fusion technology, which were accepted by Reuters, CNBC, Forbes, New York Times, Huffington Post, and others. We also continued maintaining a presence among the science trades.
To add some sparkle for business press, we organized a virtual tour of Focused Energy’s Texas laboratory and invited a select group of media. Focused Energy also used this virtual tour as an opportunity to invite and engage with state and federal politicians. After several touchpoints, Catherine Clifford, CNBC’s climate innovation and technology reporter, published a feature on the company and its groundbreaking approach.
We knew our strategy had paid off when, following that article, we began receiving inbound media requests from business press we had briefed or simply exchanged a few emails with. On top of that, we were securing even more interviews with our proactive and rapid response outreach.
The value of ongoing relationship-building and background conversations with journalists was proven further following a major breakthrough in fusion energy research in December 2022 when scientists were able to achieve a net energy gain from a reaction. We received multiple inbound media requests from top-tier business press – including the Washington Post, Reuters and Bloomberg – and secured 29 pieces of rapid response coverage on this news alone.
This combination of rapid response and thought leadership content all helped to establish the expertise of Fusion Energy’s team, thereby building brand awareness and growing its influence within the market. The media awareness and momentum helped Focused Energy secure funding from the DoE as one of 10 flagship projects.