Remember slow news days?
We’ve forgotten what those feel like. From email scandals, to Russian hacking, to the attempted repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act the news cycle has been nonstop – and that’s just domestic news. With no end in sight, communications professionals need to get creative to successfully contact harried reporters, secure interviews, and raise visibility for their clients. Here are PR & Company’s top five tips for breaking into any news cycle – no matter how daunting it may be.
1. Be relevant
While we may want to hide our heads in the sand, the reality is that we can’t ignore current events. Rather than trying to interest reporters in new topics, find ways to link your client to the news of the day. While this may require you to think differently about your strategy and your organization’s work, expanding the topics you can comment on will help you open new avenues and contacts that can have benefits if, as in when, the news cycle does slow down.
2. Get creative with outlets
You might not be able to secure coverage in The New York Times, but that doesn’t been you can’t get your message out. In today’s new media environment, a well-read Medium post or LinkedIn blog can be just as influential as coverage in a traditional outlet. Find out what new blogs, outlets, and platforms are dominating your sector and reach out to them with pitches or commentaries. While you shouldn’t stop pitching traditional outlets, these new options will help you get equally important coverage and can help you reach a new set of stakeholders.
3. Create partnerships
If your organization doesn’t work with issues that are getting coverage, find ways to partner with organizations that do. Host an event together and invite media to cover it. This will immediately link you to the news of the day and will give reporters a new story to cover that hasn’t been written about before. You can even write a commentary about the experience and pitch that as well, getting you two stories from a single event.
4. Be nimble
In this crazy news environment, topics often appear out of the blue and become the issue of the hour. While your organization’s work may not have been noticed yesterday, today the issues you address are on page one. Be ready to take advantage of these moments with pre-approved quotes and statements that you can quickly send out to reporters. These moments can be swift so be prepared to send out materials at any time of day or night, so that you can make your voice heard.
5. Be persistent
Never lose hope! Be consistent in your messages and persistent with your pitching. Follow up two, three, and even four times. Follow reporters on Twitter and LinkedIn and don’t be shy about sending them messages or tweeting at them. It might feel a little uncomfortable but don’t be afraid to reach out early and often! At best, you’ll get their attention at just the right moment, at worst, they’ll simply tell you they aren’t interested at the moment. The more contact you have, the more likely they are to remember your organization and reach out when they need a quote or are working on a story.