Gabriella Smith, Freelance Digital PR Consultant of Gabriella Lucy PR, shares some expert tips on how reactive PR doesn’t have to be last minute.
Newsjacking and reactive PR are buzzwords you’ll often hear when discussing digital PR strategies. They’re tactics that should absolutely be in your press office toolkit, to ensure you’re constantly jumping on to relevant topics when stories break in the news.
These tactics are also key to building trust around your brand with your target audience and new customers, whilst building relationships with key journalists so they know who to come to next time they’re looking for an expert to comment on a certain topic. Reactive PR also shows the world that you are super relatable, and have an awareness of the current trends.
Whilst a lot of newsjacking and reactive PR relies heavily on reacting to trending stories, which, unfortunately cannot be predicted ahead of time, there is a way to get ahead with your reactive PR strategies – by implementing ‘planned reactive’ tactics.
By looking ahead at key dates such as national days, releases of annual reports and seasonal events, you can draft content ahead of time and (hopefully) be featured in the press before your competitors.
How to introduce ‘planned reactive’ tactics to your PR strategy
- First up, identify some key themes that you can offer expertise around as a brand. Consider why these themes are relevant to your brand and the services or products you offer. It’s important not to stray too far away from your offering. As much as we’d like to be, we can’t all be experts on everything – and journalists will only include a comment from a brand that they consider to be much more relevant to that topic.
- Identify key dates and plot these out into a content calendar. For example, if your client offers training in education or tech, these are often topics that are featured in the government’s spring/autumn budgets. A couple of weeks before the date, ask your client to predict what they think will be announced in the budget. As experts in their field, they’re highly likely to have a viewpoint on this. Work with your client to draft a comment, providing their unique stance on the announcement. If there’s a possibility the announcement may have two outcomes, draft two comments and then on the morning of the announcement – you can push out the most relevant one to press.
- To flesh out your content calendar, use sites such as Awareness Days to identify national days coming up, ONS for relevant reports being released, and consider regular seasonal events (such as hayfever season, Easter, Christmas, Black Friday, bank holidays etc).
- Consider what your unique stand point is as an expert. Do you have any customer data that can show a change in behaviour around a certain topic, or have you seen a huge increase in product sales compared to the same period last year? Using data in your content can give you a competitive edge, which other brands may not have access to.
- Don’t try to cram in too many key brand messages. Whilst it’s absolutely important to comment on topics that are relevant to your brand, this is not a sales pitch. Think of this as an in-direct selling tactic, by raising awareness of your brand to a mass audience.
- Consider any existing content you can repurpose to save time. If you have any relevant blog posts that can be adapted and pushed out to press ahead of a key date, take advantage of that!
Once you have all of your key dates plotted out, it’s best to get your content ready to be pushed out to the press a minimum of a week ahead of the key date. That way, you’ll be getting ahead of competitors, and can give yourself plenty of time to follow up with journalists closer to the date itself!
DIGITAL PR CONSULTANT
Gabriella has 10 years of experience across digital PR and has worked for leading agencies in Leeds. She has delivered strategies for household name brands across a range of sectors.