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PR Tactics: Understanding The National News Agenda

10/06/2015

Ever looked at a story which is high on the national news agenda and thought “I should be part of that”? Then look to a PR to insert you in the conversation. News monitoring, news-jacking or piggy-backing is a fundamental tool of a media hungry PR who knows when and how to jump on a story.

But an intuitive, experienced and strategic PR equally knows when to leave a news story well alone. This might seem obvious but whilst being quick to respond to news is a good thing, ensuring it’s relevant, appropriate and considered is vital. Managing a client’s reputation is not ending-up as a case study for bad media management.

There have been some notable disasters in recent times. American Apparel’s nonchalant offer of 20% off for those ‘bored in the storm’ when the storm was in fact hurricane Sandy; not very sensitive but even less considered. A mistake like this can be costly, shared thousands of times before you can even type ‘fail’…

So how should you decide when to piggy-back and when to steer well clear? Begin by sticking with “planned” anniversaries rather than breaking news. The April bi-centenary of Victorian author Anthony Trollope is a good example of a successful ‘planned’ piggy-back for our client The Folio Society who recently published the very first full edition of Trollope’s The Duke’s Children. Using the anniversary as our ‘hook’ we approached relevant media titles, securing a full page in the Telegraph and notable mentions for the new edition in the Independent, the Guardian and other literary-led outlets.

Then if you do want to comment on a news story, like the British weather for example, do your homework, think about your position and most importantly test every idea with a “what if” scenario. If in any scenario your brand could come away looking insensitive, inappropriate or ill-informed, then you know it’s time to leave that piggy-back for another less experienced, strategic or knowledgeable PR team.

If you’d like to know more about build a better media profile for your brand, and embrace the national news agenda – in the right way, please feel free to get in touch with the team info@cherishpr.com.

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