Making Your Story Stick in the Summertime
It’s that time of year when the days are long, but the time is oh, so short! We are all eager to maximize the weeks with no school regimes or weather snafus. But despite summer and all of its glory, the show must go on! Clients still have stories to tell and us PR pros are still pounding the pavement to get them noticed. Like many of us, journalists are also taking advantage of that accumulated PTO so it’s more important than ever to convince them that we have the story worthy of their time and attention. A few suggestions for landing that sought-after story even when it’s 85 degrees and the pool is calling:
Relevant news will always matter. Whether it’s announcing a new product, opening a new property or hosting a unique event, a timely story has the power to resonate with media. Work carefully with your PR team to frame the news in a way that clearly conveys its timeliness and creates a sense of excitement and urgency when it comes to telling the public. Timely announcements can still warrant a traditional press release coupled with a customized email pitch for a targeted group of media. Ensure the media on your list are the correct targets and don’t bury the crux of what makes this story newsworthy. If you’re promoting an event, remember to include key details (date, time, location, cost) as media may not have the time to conduct follow-up to gather this information.
Do you have a story to tell that relates to heat? Wildfires? Seasonal food or drink? How about last-minute summer travel tips and destinations? Tying an evergreen storyline into a relevant trend opens the door for media interest. Journalists are constantly working on stories and many of them are in need of additional resources or anecdotes. Be mindful of these low-hanging fruit opportunities through platforms such as HARO and Qwoted. When the pace slows it can be easy to lag with it; however, take advantage of the quieter summer months and conduct outreach around some of those creative storylines you thought of months ago! You never know which one might strike a chord with a journalist also looking for some fresh thinking.
3. Thought Leadership.
At our firm, we get excited to learn about what makes our clients tick. What are they passionate about, and what are they willing to put a stake in the ground about in order to make their points heard? Thought leadership storytelling is a powerful way to secure earned media coverage and doesn’t rely on a media outlet’s own writing resources. Once a subject matter expert’s (SME) opinions have been gathered, a PR team can develop an abstract on that particular topic. This abstract is then pitched to identified editors (start with your top pick as once it’s secured, it can only be published in one place); once an editor expresses interest, the SME, or PR team, will develop a bylined article that tells the broader story. That article is then submitted to the outlet and will appear online or in print. Bylined articles are still earned coverage, meaning they aren’t paid and therefore can’t be self-promotional in nature. The point of these articles is to showcase a SMEs expertise on a particular issue/challenge/trend, ultimately sparking interest with the end-reader who can trace that author back to a company. Thought leadership angles are typically evergreen and can be pitched and secured during any season. If the timely news engine is quiet right now, consider what thought leadership angles might be waiting in the wings.
The press doesn’t stop just because it’s summer and the reality is that stories are still being produced. If you aren’t landing any, consider whether you’re exhausting every avenue or if perhaps there’s one not yet being explored.
Happy pitching and happy summering!