If you’re having a slow news day, and the higher-ups are putting pressure on to deliver some media coverage, this is the article for you. Simply put, if you’ve got no news to talk to journalists about, create some!
Not sure how? Here are some ideas. Be warned – some of these ideas can be implemented cheaply, but some will require a portion of your budget. Nor can they be pulled off overnight – these suggestions are intended as part of a long-term strategy, not quick-fixes.
Carry out some engaging research
Pitch your organization as a genuine thought leader by carrying out some original industry or sector-based research. Where will your industry be in 2030 – do you have access to accurate predictions? What are the biggest challenges you might face, and what is the best way to solve them? What are the most innovative things happening in the industry right now?
Use the resources you have available in-house, like data you can mine through to demonstrate trends, with insights from your senior management team. You could also consider combining this with relevant government data, reports from think tanks, and interviews with other organizations that relate to your industry but are not direct competitors to build a big picture view.
A well-written report with useful and engaging insights will likely win attention with trade journalists, business news, and – depending on the scale – even Tier 1 media.
Do something huge for a charity partner
If you’re mainly interested in getting regional coverage, choose a popular local charity that people feel a genuine emotional attachment to, and make something huge happen for them.
Leverage your team – if you’ve got 50 people working for you and they each raise an average of $50 (totally doable), you’ve got $2,500 in donations already. If possible, promise that the company will match whatever your employees raise. Now you’re up to $5,000! This is starting to be a story worth talking about.
To really make it newsworthy and help raise your company’s profile, your charity fundraising should fit two criteria; firstly, it should also raise awareness about the work of the charity, these things are never just about money, educate your audience on the issue as well.
Secondly, it’s important to choose a charity that makes sense. If the products and services you sell are mostly aimed at teenagers, partner with a charity that matters to them, like young people’s mental health organizations, but if you target older people, partnering with an age-action charity might make more sense.
News-jack a massive trend
The 24-hour news cycle means that trends come and go at an exceptional pace. Journalists are constantly looking for experts to comments on these trends. Yesterday, Theresa May triggered Article 50, beginning the Brexit process. Any company that does business in or with the UK can comment on what this means. How will Brexit impact tourism? Car manufacturing? Access to healthcare? International relations?
And it’s not just massive developments like Brexit, journalists will look for industry reactions to many political developments, so make sure to build relationships.
Many major news story will have an angle your spokespersons can provide useful commentary on; if an attack or a natural disaster takes place where your company is headquartered, what impact does that have on how you do business? Make your organization available to journalists in these scenarios.
If a Twitter war is taking place, can you add a twist to it that casts your company in good light? If something like the Ice Bucket challenge is going viral, how can you take advantage of it? Break free from the conventional, the unexpected is what makes headlines and generates shares.
So there you have it, three strategies for generating news in between product launches and other major news announcements. If you’ve got other ideas for generating media coverage during a dry spell, let me know in the comments!
Katie Harrington is a Public Relations professional based in Galway, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.