No News, No Problem: How to Keep a Steady Media Relations Drumbeat

Last week: Hired a former internet prodigy as CTO. This week: Launching a first-of-its-kind product. Next week: Announcing $100 billion funding round. This caliber (and frequency) of announcements are what PR dreams are made of. But, in reality, we understand that news cycle ebbs and flows. A product launch date shifts, an acquisition deal falls through or it’s simply summertime and everyone is on vacation. We can’t rely on having “new” news to entice the media.

Those sluggish times—albeit frustrating—provide a perfect opportunity, however, to get scrappy and creative in brand narrative and storytelling. Here are a few of the ways our team keeps a steady media relations drumbeat all year long.

Leave no stone unturned: From UX designers to the head of HR, setting up input calls with non-traditional spokespeople can help uncover a host of ideas. For example, asking a product manager what it takes to be in that type of role and pitching a careers reporter on skills to succeed. It’s a win-win: You still promote the company’s technology, but by showcasing the talent behind it instead. Be sure to inquire about topics that executives are particularly passionate about, as well.

Reduce, reuse and recycle: Leveraging existing content is common practice and a surefire way to score coverage fast. Don’t be afraid to dust off assets from months or even years ago—there are always hidden treasures to be found. Take last year’s Halloween-themed post and give it a new coat of paint. Or, use that speaking abstract you wrote for last year’s SXSW and update it for a byline or case study. Nine out of 10 times, reporters—especially at trades—will be more than happy to accept pre-drafted content.

Embrace the newsjacking movement: Just because your company’s news cycle is slow doesn’t mean that the national news cycle has stopped. Using general industry or national news topics as a jumping off point is a great way to weave in your brand’s perspective and join the conversation. At the very least, rapid response opens the door to new reporter relationships. So, if your team isn’t already conducting daily industry scans, start immediately. Keeping a finger on the pulse will ensure you take advantage of timely opportunities.

Not pitching reporters: Seems counterintuitive? Rather than reaching out with a specific angle or announcement, send a non-pitch to friendlies and new targets, just to find out what they’re focused on currently or have in the pipeline. Even if they don’t have something that aligns with your brand, many times we’ll see reporters circle back later for a different story. Also, instead of pitching and expecting something (coverage) in return, position your email as you helping them by offering an executive’s expertise. No commitment introductory briefings, like rapid response, are a great way to open new doors, as well.

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