With every piece of news or tweet that goes out, whatever the subject, you are sending the same underlying message: we’re a company “on the march.” It’s seldom a single announcement that stands out — it’s the steady drum beat of posts and articles and tweets that makes people start to take notice.
But generating news — or simply creating and delivery timely content — on a consistent basis is not always easy. Sometimes companies fall into periods where there’s nothing that’s obviously “announce-able” — no signature client wins, partnerships or major product upgrades…no company milestones that would be of interest to anyone outside the company itself.
In such a case, you have two options: wait for something “newsworthy” to happen…or make them happen. There are a number of ways to be more proactive in finding news where you didn’t think it existed. Here are several approaches we take to sustain the drumbeat and keep our clients active and in the news.
· Casting the net. Over the course of an “engagement” we like to speak with as many company “stakeholders” as we can, beyondthe CEO, marketing director and senior level staff. This could mean occasional exchanges with a product manager or a mid-level staffer — people on the front lines who give you a 360 degree perspective of the company, and a day-to-day idea of what’s happening behind the scenes. This helps us unearth developments or assets that are otherwise under the radar, which can provide the basis of an interesting announcement or thought leadership initiative.
· Make sure clients know what’s newsworthy. Early into an engagement, we give clients an idea of what’s “newsworthy.” This includes the obvious items: new product announcements, important new hires, new and strategic partnerships, awards, etc. But we make sure they’re on the lookout for more “peripheral” developments, meaning topics that can and should turned into news, such as a company milestone (an important anniversary, sales figures reached, etc.); it’s then our job to take this information and make it compelling.
· Repurpose older news. There’s no shame in taking a peek through your archives and updating older, evergreen news pieces so that they stay relevant and fill up your content. If you published a thought leadership piece two years ago, pull it out, dust it off, and see if there are ways to update it and make it more topical. Have an old Halloween-themed post? Take it out of storage and update it with a deeper shade of dark humor.
· Create your own news. While things are slow, come up with a white paper, query, or infographic…which you can announce and widely disseminate through traditional and social media channels.
· Tap into news or trends. Your client’s news may be a bit slow, but you may be able to “hop aboard” a breaking national news story or speak to a key trend cited in a new analyst report. We ask that clients periodically review industry trades and monitor national news, with an eye toward providing their unique perspective — having a timely, insightful response when a relevant news item breaks is a great way to “join the conversation.” Having this available for reporters on deadline, is also a great way to cultivate relationships going forward.
· Make sure you’re always keeping engagements active, ongoing, and even friendly. You don’t always have to be pitching, and in fact, it’s probably better to let that take the back seat sometimes so that new targets and friendly reporters can create a genuine connection with you. If you can maintain good relationships with reporters by reaching out without needing anything, they’ll probably circle back later for a story where they can work with you. For a new target, reach out without expecting anything in return, and it could be a great way to open new doors. Twitter is perfect for this quick, bite-size kind of engagement, so monitor both old friends and new to see what you could connect over.
Bottom line: if you’re focused, creative and fleet, news is never slow. Get out there and make some!