PR tip: how to piggyback on the news agenda like a pro

Jumping on the news agenda can be one of the most effective ways to get your brand heard, often moving from a traditional media space – ie travel pages for a hotel, or food pages for a food brand – onto news or lifestyle pages. The same rule applies for social.  Whether you specialise in food PR, travel PR, or are yourself heading up a brand, I hope the following provides some useful tips and guidelines on perfect piggybacking.

For fledging businesses, smart fleet-of-foot responses to a hot topic can form a key part of your brand-building strategy. For larger companies, clunky sign off procedures can kill a great idea – so prepping is everything. Some of the best things we see on social these days are because a brand’s social agency, or indeed in-house team, has had the freedom to run with a story. That said, you need to know your brand inside out.

A few top tips to ensure your piggyback story is media ready:

If something affects your business that has wider industry or consumer relevance, then the media (traditional or social) could be interested in hearing your point of view.  So:

Plan ahead:

Sounds simple I know – but noting all the key dates that could make an impact on your business is essential. From budget announcements, to the return of a much-loved TV programme that drives conversations – it’s all about knowing the date and time of when it goes live and getting everything ready in advance.

Being a public relations and communications agency based in the southwest, we recently jumped on the Poldark TV series for one of our hotel clients. Following a strong Falmouth focused episode,  The Greenbank Hotel, saw bookings rise by 210% in one evening, between 9.30pm and 11pm. Working closely with the hotel team, we anticipated this booking surge in advance and wrote the essence of the story beforehand, then dropped in the killer stats as soon as we had them.

The story was issued the following morning, with coverage appearing in titles such as the Daily Express, City AM and Lonely Planet. The coverage included a call-to-action to book, with online links being a key part of our release.

Know your conversation space:

What do you want to talk about? What can you talk about?  And what don’t you want to talk? All three are equally important. Do not be tempted to comment on something that doesn’t feel credible, or that isn’t true to your brand. We don’t have to comment on everything.

Agree your tone of voice: 

Whether you are smart, brave, playful or considered – they all have a place, but be consistent and timely.

Remember your brand essence: 

To help shape your communication – remember who you are, and make sure everyone who works for you (from your receptionist through to your sales and comms teams) knows it and understands it. Saves awkward moments later I promise…

Finally – give it a go:

If you have done the hard work above, then the next step is to get out there and get involved. Once you know your subjects and your point of view, you will have the confidence to speak and be heard. Good luck!

Georgie Upton - Divisional Director at Wild West Comms

Words: Georgie Upton

Divisional Director at Wild West Comms