Summer can be a sleepy time for businesses, but not the cleantech industry. We maintain a Twitter list of journalists covering the energy sector, and between the Democratic debates, the Clean Power Plan repeal, record-shattering extreme weather and news out of the U.K. about clean energy becoming a dominant source of energy, the list is blowing up.

In our analysis, the following keywords kept emerging between June and July:
  1. Hold on to your hats: “energy” was the most frequent keyword. No surprise there, but what interested us is that the term was usually paired with the words solar, clean, renewable, systems and innovative. As communications pros, this confirms an assumption that engaging journalists on energy topics requires some focus on innovation. The word “systems” surprised us – we’ll be watching if that terminology continues to enjoy such high use by the media. It’s a useful phrase but could apply to so many different things, like smart grid tech*, power grid operations, and much more.
  2.  “Oil” is only the second most popular keyword, which confirmed our assumption that general fossil fuel stories are not driving the conversation at the very top. Most of these references were about economics, politics and emissions reduction.
  3. “Solar” continues to enjoy outsize portion of renewables discussion, with journalists tweeting about anything from M&A deals, incentives and solar panels. We think solar conversation by journalists will stay high through Solar Power International in September at a minimum.
  4. Water is still a painfully small portion of the journalist dialogue, but a handful of tweets mentioned rising water levels/flooding and climate change. We’d like to see more stories about water purification and efficiency.
  5. “Electric vehicles” and “electric buses” were briefly mentioned, but the main focus of those tweets is Tesla (of course!). Seems that pitching any EV* story to a journalist is going to evoke some kind of comparison, no matter how subconscious, to the Elon Musk brand.

It can be hard to stay on top of a Twitter feed comprised of journalists – is there any profession that tweets more? Naturally, though, some threads demand attention. The keywords above show us what’s trending, but the best convos are in the “emerging” category.

We’re followinga thread about the 2020 “climate debate” hosted by Gizmodo. The New Republic had been co-hosting the event until it ran an offensive article about Pete Buttigieg, after which it decided to pull out. This dashed some of the hopes for the event and led other partners to pull out. Witnessing the support these event organizers received from their journalist peers is heartening – and a reminder of how much journalists follow each other on Twitter.

Implied lesson: if a journalist tweets about you, chances are other journalists will see it and trust it.

The journalists of “energy Twitter” give us a good window into how best to approach them. We believe clean energy businesses and organizations should be part of the “energy Twitter” conversations, but of course their stories might not fit the trends perfectly. We advise clients to look for the common ground between 1) brand values and 2) conversation trends for their content. Too much of either category leads to ineffective activity.

While a company might not have much to say directly about some of the trends, they serve as guideposts of where the energy hive mind is giving its precious attention – leading to a much stronger media pitch from communications pros!

#EnergyTwitter #SolarEnergy #Hydroelectricity #SmartGridTech #Renewables #ElectricVehicles #EVs #ElectricBuses #CleanEnergy #Efficiency #Trends

*P.S. Yeah, these stories are examples of our work!