Can anybody hear me? Tips for gaining media attention amidst a pandemic, economic crisis, and national election.

by | Aug 24, 2020 | Analysis, Public Relations

Whether you are wanting to share the news of a prestigious new client, an innovative new offering, or a successful implementation, it’s never a simple task to get the attention of the right media outlets on your preferred timeline.

Throw in a worldwide pandemic, an economic crisis, and a presidential election, and you may opt to throw in the towel before writing the first word of your press release.

Yet even amidst all the competing noise in the present news cycle, you can make your story heard—if you craft a compelling message that is appropriately sensitive and complementary to the current headlines.

As you plan potential PR opportunities in the coming months, here are a few tips for tweaking your message to ensure the right audience hears your news.

Can anybody hear me? Tips for gaining media attention amidst a pandemic, economic crisis, and national election.

Pitch stories that educate and spark thinking

That’s one of several tips from Amendola CEO Jodi Amendola. When crafting your message to the media, offer information on topics that people want to know about now – or will need to consider in the future when we move past the current COVID surge and the elections are behind us. Even if your current news isn’t worthy of a top-of-the-page headline, it can spark audience interest if it addresses an enduring problem, such as the need to maximize profits, or suggests an innovative approach to new phenomenon, such as how to be fashion-forward while wearing a face mask.

Look under new rocks

As my colleague Chad Van Alstin says, there are great stories, technologies, thought leaders and experts out there—you simply need to find them. Rather than rely on the same tried and true sources and news hooks, take time to step back and brainstorm a fresh angle. Dig deeper into the proverbial rolodex and ask your customers and employees what makes your company and its offerings unique in the market. Everyone has a story and you may be surprised by what you find by searching under new rocks; it could be just the new twist you need to gain the attention you’re seeking.

Find a tie to the news—without being tone deaf

This one can be a bit tricky, because you risk creating a PR crisis if your self-promotion is inappropriate or appears insensitive to society’s current struggles. The pandemic may be a boon to your business because you have a product or service that is suddenly in high demand (think hand sanitizer, food delivery, and in-home workout equipment.) But as you promote the wonders of your offerings, it’s important to remain cognizant that hundreds of thousands of people have died from COVID-19. Similarly, it’s great if you can find a relevant link to the elections, but be careful not to alienate one segment of the population or the other (e.g., any mention of healthcare insurance or the cost of care could be interpreted as a political statement). Messaging that suggests an awareness of the current news is appropriate, but, be wary of anything that suggests you’re exploiting events simply for financial gain.

Finally, if you determine it’s simply not the right time for self-promotion, consider shifting your PR efforts to more evergreen activities that can be leveraged when life returns to “normal.” This could be perfect time to build up a new library of content, such as case studies and e-books, to attract new visitors to your website. Or, rather than announcing a new client, work on capturing details of the customer’s implementation journey and share the complete success story in the coming months. Alternatively, take a look at messaging across your organization, make sure it is aligned, and update as necessary to be current with today’s many new normals.

This article originally appeared on the Amendola Communications blog; reprinted with permission.

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Michelle Noteboom
Michelle Noteboom is Senior Account and Content Director at Amendola Communications.

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