There is no doubt that the news cycle has felt extra heavy recently.
While news of horrific international and local stories have personally evoked feelings of helplessness and disappointment with the world, the impacts have also been palpable when trying to achieve earned media coverage for our clients.
It is a difficult time to break through the news cycle — for good reason.
While I’m not sitting in a newsroom myself, I can only imagine that much of current reporting would be out of necessity rather than desire. As a result, pitching blatant promotion of organisations, products, and services isn’t going to cut it.
So what should you be considering with your media outreach in a heavy news week?
Bring a fresh perspective to an existing topic.
Utilise your spokespeople to bring fresh perspectives to existing narratives — journalists are always on the hunt for additional experts on the issues they are covering. This could include an industry thought leader in the C-Suite, or someone with lived experience.
However, it’s important to remember that the person you are pitching needs to genuinely contribute to the story — it’s a bad look to exploit bad news for your own good.
For example, if new statistics are released about the dire straits of the rental market in Sydney, and your organisation is a not-for-profit supporting homeless Australians, it may be a good time to provide comments from your CEO of a homelessness, and perhaps a client with lived experience impacted by Sydney’s rental crisis. This would not be a time to pitch news celebrating somebody who owns 33 rentals across the eastern suburbs.
💡 Three ways that additional spokespeople can positively impact a story are:
- Helping the public understand complex issues
- Providing a voice from a minority group
- Calling for increased government support to help these issues.
Keep your targets realistic.
It’s time to manage expectations about which writers will be interested in your organisation’s story at this time. For many stories, it’s probably not the breaking news reporters at The Guardian.
Shift your focus to local and trade media outlets whose primary goal is to tell the stories of their audience, and who are likely to have the capacity and interest to be covering your story.
💡 Never underestimate the power of a stellar article or clip in a local news outlet — they generally have a highly engaged audience, reading and/or listening to every word, and often syndicate to larger outlets.
Give (the right targets) some good news.
Given you’ve found some contacts who are likely to have the capacity and interest for your story, providing a heart-warming, inspiring, or inherently ‘good’ story could be exactly what the outlet is after. While they can’t always be prioritised in times of big news, small pockets of light to restore faith in goodness are certainly what readers want at the moment.
💡 As part of their ethos, The Daily Aus reports on at least one good story every day, often including quirky and interesting stories from around the nation. If you think your story could be a great fit for an outlet’s good news section, be sure to include that in your subject line!
Pay extra attention to timing.
Consider how the timing of your campaigns and outreach aligns with events happening outside of your organisation. Agility is vital to ensure your messages are received at the right time, by the right people. Ask yourself if this is the best time to be communicating this piece of information — does this urgently need to be expressed to your audience right now?
💡 Particularly relevant if your story tackles heavy topics, journalists are unlikely to want to bring another negative, upsetting topic to readers’ minds if it isn’t urgent.
If your organisation requires support for media relations at this time, we’re happy to help.