3 ways PR pros can land media coverage without news

You needn’t have a press release, expensive study or charitable contribution to nab headlines and interest reporters. Try these ideas on for size.

This article originally ran on PR Daily in October of 2017.

What do you do when your organization doesn’t have news to pitch?

You create some.

That doesn’t require a pricey investment in an analyst report or a charitable contribution for the sake of media coverage. It doesn’t even require a press release.

Rather, keeping your brand in the news is all about uncovering stories hidden within your organization, stories that are interesting and meaningful to journalists and their audience.

Looking to develop stories that can help keep your brand in the news? Here are three ways to earn media coverage without a press release:

1. Look to stakeholders.

Getting buy-in and ideas from your stakeholders is the first step to uncovering stories. Not only is it important for you to understand what makes a good story in your stakeholders’ eyes, but their ideas and perspectives are terrific places to start the story-generation process.

Consider holding a story-mining session with stakeholders and spokespeople within your organization, including executives, product leads and senior sales managers. Come to the table with questions concerning your own business and the industry as a whole.

Questions about buyer behavior such as, “Why don’t our prospective customers buy?” and “Why does our competition excel?” can help you to better understand the strengths and weakness of the business, as well as gaps in the industry that your team’s marketing and content generation efforts can address.

The stories that come about as a result of story-mining sessions can be used in a number of ways, including the basis for a contributed article, a quote for a larger story, or a pitch proffering that individual for a media interview.

2. Evaluate and repurpose existing content.

Coming up with topic ideas from scratch can be difficult. You and your team have probably developed compelling commentary in other marketing campaigns and content.

As a result, you probably already have story ideas hiding as marketing content, presentations from founders or even notes on sales prospect feedback. Look to these to extract stories and content you can borrow and repurpose in public relations efforts.

Everything from blogs and e-books to webinars and white papers can be repurposed. Even keynotes and podcasts can provide a direction for topics to pitch to media outlets.

The key is choosing the right content and pulling the most relevant insights for a given audience. Have a few recent blog posts that performed well, either in terms of traffic or on social media? Look to rework that topic for the audience at a target publication. Look for what resonated well and how you can make it relevant now.

3. Comment on breaking industry news and trends.

Staying on top of breaking news stories is an opportunity to insert your organization into the story by responding with comments and perspective. This trend—sometime known as newsjacking—works best when your company can offer not only expert commentary, but also a new or contrarian perspective.

Keep in mind, stealing the spotlight doesn’t have to stop with breaking or major news. Another great time to respond is when your competitors make an announcement (acquisition, product, etc.) that could affect your customers or industry as a whole. When noteworthy competitor news hits, consider offering your commentary about what the news means for the industry at large.

Keeping your brand top of mind for potential consumers is invaluable, especially for companies with long or involved sales cycles. One great to do that is with third-party validation from media outlets. Continue a steady cadence of media coverage between announcements, reports and other big marketing investments by making sure you always have a story to tell.

Anna Julow Roolf is the director of strategic initiatives at BLASTmedia.

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