Over the course of the past year, the 2020 presidential election has dominated the news cycle. With the highest voter turnout in the last 120 years at 66.9% (160 million) of eligible voters, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in interest as we draw closer to an official announcement as to whether President Trump or former Vice President Biden will take office in the new year. As a result, we should not expect the news cycle to change any time soon. But that doesn’t mean your end-of-year PR campaigns are dead in the water. There is still plenty of opportunity to generate impactful PR campaigns throughout the end of 2020 and into the new year if you employ the simple media relations tips below.
Identifying your client’s relevancy
Industries such as technology, renewable energy, healthcare, and real estate, have been and will continue to be hot button issues for either candidate to address and implement a plan of action for moving forward. This is a great opportunity for thought leaders in these industries to trendjack and offer forward-looking commentary on how each respective vertical may be impacted in 2021 and beyond.
The question you have to ask yourself is, “what makes my commentary stand out from the pack?” Reporters get hundreds of emails a day offering comments on a variety of issues – don’t be afraid to provide fresh, new (and sometimes out of the box) commentary that offers a unique perspective. It is also important to be able to recognize when a client isn’t a fit and it’s time to explore new story ideas outside of election coverage.
Understanding the news cycle
Regardless of a client’s industry, it’s critical to monitor the daily news. A quick Google search using relevant industry keywords and terms will provide a range of coverage that will allow you to identify important topics being discussed and how journalists and outlets are talking about them. While this is may seem like a common daily task, today’s news cycle can shift any minute as something new breaks across Twitter or other news platforms. Being prepared to monitor and jump into the news cycle quickly is paramount to success.
Even during a time where it seems the only topic of interest is the election and what’s to come as a result, there are many trade publications as well as journalists at top tier and mainstream media outlets who are responsible for covering a specific beat or industry outside the election. Understanding their coverage will enable you to break through with impactful stories.
Know who you’re pitching
Journalists are constantly changing roles, publications, industries they cover and topics of interest – especially at a time when the election is top of mind and newsrooms can be “all hands on deck.” As such, it’s critical to ensure that the reporters you’re targeting are still your best targets. A quick scan of their Twitter feeds or their publication byline pages will give you a solid idea of not just what they are covering of late but how. A real estate writer who typically covers deal flow may have pivoted to cover the industry based on impacts from COVID, the economy, and the election, and as such may not be interested in the groundbreaking of your new property. But they may instead be interested in your perspectives on whether the flight from big cities will be short-term or long-term for residential real estate.
The key to successful PR campaigns is identifying the team’s goals and objectives and having the ability to adapt. As the post-election news cycle is changing daily, it’s all the more important to maintain an understanding of what topics are of interest to the media, what’s relevant to your audience, and how to best move forward in a way that is impactful for everyone.