Sometimes there are plenty of things for your organisation to shout about and use to try to gain crucial media coverage.
But what happens when you don’t have any new products, services or major announcements to discuss?
While there are often ebbs and flows to any organisation’s news cycle, wouldn’t it be good to make the quieter periods a bit less quiet?
Here are six ways you can keep your organisation visible and in the news when you don’t naturally have any news to discuss.
Place your brand in news stories
One way to gain more coverage when there isn’t much happening in your organisation for you to promote is to involve it in the stories that are currently being covered. You’ll sometimes hear this referred to as ‘newsjacking’.
Could you offer an opinion on a current hot topic in your sector, or beyond, that would help journalists move the story forward and create a new angle?
If you can provide something surprising or that differs from what has already been said on the issue – what we refer to on our media training courses as the ‘unusual’ element’ - then you are more likely to secure coverage.
If journalists have worked with your spokespeople before and found them to provide strong interviews, they may already consider them to be thought leaders and naturally seek their opinion on wider issues.
Another option is to put some quotes together on a particular news topic and send it to some of your media contacts, offering them interviews.
Think now about the sorts of issues your organisation would be willing to discuss and begin to track them so you can act quickly when they are in the media spotlight.
Improve your news gathering
It is not just new products or services which make good news stories.
Some of the best stories – the ones with the strong human angle that, as we discuss on our media training courses, are crucial to something being newsworthy – happen as the workforce goes about its day to day activities.
These are typically spontaneous events and can easily be missed unless there are media-aware colleagues on the ground who have an understanding of what makes a news story and know how to bring it to the attention of the comms team.
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To help organisations capture these stories, we have launched a new interactive, online course – Identifying Positive Media Stories. It helps improve news gathering across whole organisations. It takes around 20 minutes to complete and prices start from £2,000 (+VAT) for 50 delegates.
Journalists love data and it is a great way of gaining some coverage during quieter times.
The data could come from a survey you have created which has resulted in some interesting or unusual insight.
It could come from metrics that you already record and that you are comfortable sharing externally.
You can even re-purpose data that is already out there.
Not only do data-driven stories help gain coverage, but they can also help position the organisation as a leader in its field.
As well as the breaking news stories, there are also many annual events - usually referred to as 'on-dairy' events in newsrooms - you can use as a hook to offer your insights and gain coverage.
And it is not just the obvious things like Christmas, Easter and Halloween.
You may have experts who could provide some insight into the impact of the latest government budget or spending review.
There’s also an endless supply of ‘awareness’ days, weeks and months. September, for example, is Stand Up For Food Month, Blood Cancer Awareness Month and World Alzheimer’s Month among others. International Bacon Day also takes place this month, as well as National Read a Book Day, Migraine Awareness Week and National Fish and Chip Day.
STAND UP FOR FOOD month of action is here; the month-long challenge in September where heroes from across the hospitality industry join forces to fight food waste. Find out how you can take part: https://t.co/8nubVWS8MH pic.twitter.com/yyAN4QAh1i— Food & Drink Expo (@FoodDrinkExpo) September 1, 2020
There is pretty much something for everyone.
Additionally, there will also be key annual dates in your sector, such as conferences – even if they are currently held remotely – and annual reports.
Your people are also a potential goldmine for stories.
As well as capturing the good deeds of those going above and beyond, as we mentioned earlier in the blog, national business journalists and trade publications – particularly those focused on HR and leadership – are always looking for people to feature and talk about their careers.
These might be ‘day in the life of…’ type articles or profile pieces.
For this to be successful, they need to have a compelling story to tell and be willing to share personal examples, anecdotes and stories.
Bylined articles are another great way of gaining some coverage, building visibility and showcasing your expertise.
Perhaps there is a big issue in your industry you can discuss. You may want to talk about the impact of a new government policy, or maybe there is a particular cause you want to highlight.
Whatever the issue, your article needs to move the story forward from what is already known and offer some fresh insight.
You also need to avoid it sounding like an advertisement if you are going to get it published.
Again, do some research first. Some publications will want regular contributors, for example, rather than one-off articles.
Ultimately, you don’t need new products or services to make a big splash and keep your organisation in the media spotlight.
Media First are media and communications training specialists with over 35 years of experience. We have a team of trainers, each with decades of experience working as journalists, presenters, communications coaches and media trainers.
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