As PR professionals, we’ve all experienced it before – a client hands us a tidbit of company news and expects every relevant publication to be instantly excited by it and gunning to publish it ASAP.
If only that’s how it worked.
In reality, we know that we need to find a way to make this story of interest to, frankly, anyone else that isn’t the client. So how do you do that?
You attach the small-time company news to something broader, and you do it in a way that makes it a commentary on a larger story. This serves two purposes: 1) It gets that piece of company news out to the public, and 2) It presents your client as a thought leader in a larger space, such as a specific industry or in the business community in general.
Some possible angles to think about:
Is it tied to a larger issue in business or the client’s specific industry?
Maybe the company has just announced it’s implementing a new paid parental leave policy, like our financial services client recently did. You can easily use this announcement to comment on the dire lack of access to paid leave in the industry or overall workforce.
By doing so, you’re essentially stating that the company is not only providing a great new policy, but also they are doing it to combat a prevalent issue affecting many others in the workforce. It’s a way to put the client’s news in context for others who find the issue important, and it provides an important example for how others can combat the issue as well.
Does it include an experience that other companies can learn from?
The news may not aid in solving an industry-wide issue, but perhaps it’s an educational scenario for other companies.
For example, one of our technology services clients (an eDiscovery firm) recently started to integrate its services with a firm that handles complementary services, including juror monitoring and mock trials, allowing their customers to have a “one-stop shop” litigation experience. Rather than just sharing the news, we formulated a pitch that explains how companies can benefit from partnerships like these – with the added bonus of placing the eDiscovery firm at the top of its industry, as it’s the only one that has these services available under the same roof.
It’s one thing to brag about a new service or product, but it’s another to explain how the company found success through that strategy. The latter is a much better and broader story. You attach the small-time company news to something broader, and you do it in a way that makes it a commentary on a larger story.
You attach the small-time company news to something broader, and you do it in a way that makes it a commentary on a larger story.
Is it relevant to a larger story in the news right now?
Generally called “newsjacking,” this is a great way for your client to jump on the commentary bandwagon, while also getting the company’s news dispersed. Putting your client’s two cents into the fountain of hot topics positions your client as an expert, especially if that topic of discussion has some relevance to what the client’s company does or is announcing.
For example, our commercial real estate client is very unhappy with the current Metro school system and its apathy in a time of great growth for the city. The client is building its new HQ office and has its hands in a few large developments across the city, but it’ll begin to see less opportunities for these types of developments if people stop moving into Davidson County due to its not-so-great schools.
The great thing about this method of sharing news is that you don’t have to try to make the client news into a story because the story is already unfolding, and you just have to jump in on it. The school board has been in the news quite a bit, so it gives our client a chance to tell the story from its point of view, while including some small shameless plugs about its latest developments. See how that’s a win-win?
The thing to remember is that just because it’s news to the company, doesn’t mean it’s news to everyone, so PR professionals need to find ways to tie the news to something more relevant. It takes some critical thinking and creativity, but when you get that big placement, it’ll be worth the effort.