If you’ve got no news to pitch to journalists, create some.
Some of the ideas below can be implemented cheaply; some will require a larger portion of your budget. Nor can they be pulled off overnight; these suggestions are intended as part of a long-term strategy, not quick fixes.
1. Conduct relevant research.
Where will your industry be in 2030? Do you have access to reliable predictions? What are the biggest challenges you might face, and what are the best ways to solve them? What are the most innovative things happening in the industry right now?
Use in-house resources—such as hard data and insights from your senior leaders—along with relevant government data, reports from think tanks, and interviews with executives at other organizations to convey the big picture.
A well-written report with useful information and enlightening insights will garner attention from trade journalists, business news reporters and possibly even writers for top-tier media outlets.
2. Do something huge for a charity partner.
If you seek regional coverage, choose a popular local charity to help in a high-profile way.
If you’ve got 50 people working for you and they each raise $50, you’ve got $2,500 in donations. If possible, promise that the company will match whatever your employees raise. Now you’re up to $5,000. This is starting to be a story worth talking about.
To really make it newsworthy and help raise your company’s profile, your charity fundraising should fit two criteria:
- It should raise awareness about the charity’s objectives; don’t focus on money alone.
- It should be a strategic choice. If your products and services are aimed at teenagers, partner with a young people’s mental health organization, for example. If your primary audience is older people, partnering with a charity benefiting seniors makes sense.
3. Newsjack a trend.
Many major news stories will have an angle for expert commentary from your spokespersons.
Does Brexit affect your dealings in or with the UK, for example? If an attack or a natural disaster takes place where your company is headquartered, what impact does that have on how you do business? Make your organization available to journalists in such scenarios.
If a Twitter war is taking place, can you add a twist to it that casts your company in good light? If something like the Ice Bucket challenge is going viral, how can you take advantage of it?
Break free from the conventional; the unexpected makes headlines and generates shares.
Katie Harrington is a PR pro and the author of “Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art.” Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. A version of this article originally appeared on her blog.