It seems as though the country is finally drawing breath after a month that has seen a relentless stream of major news stories, beginning with Brexit and the subsequent political and economic fallout, moving on to both main parties leadership contests, the appointment of a new Prime Minister and a controversial cabinet reshuffle, not to mention the publication of the long awaited Chilcot Report.
For those of us who work in PR, trying to make space for clients in the media has been challenging, with journalists tied up reporting on the constantly changing news agenda and stories that would have usually been front page headlines consigned to a news in brief.
The most obvious choice for PRs faced with packed news pages is to postpone PR activity. If you have a one off story – perhaps a thought leadership survey or some major news that can wait, this is often the best option. It doesn’t matter how good your story is, you will struggle to get the coverage you might expect on an average news week so your time and money could be wasted.
If your news can’t wait, then manage expectations. Let those involved know what the situation is so that they understand the implications and are not disappointed by results. Pick your journalists carefully and push the story with those who are less likely to be occupied with the big stories of the day.
Alternatively you may be able to turn the news agenda to your advantage and make your story part of the bigger picture. This is what US firm Haynes Boone did when it announced a merger with a London shipping boutique shortly after the Brexit result. The firm made it clear that they had not been deterred and that the strategic reasons for the merger still stood, resulting in a positive story.
For those looking to position spokespeople as experts in their field, pitching in comment that relates to the major news stories of the day, whether it’s the employment law implications of Brexit or speculating on the likely impact of a new Justice Secretary, can yield positive results. It is invariably better to try and fit in with the prevailing news agenda than seeking to make space for unrelated announcements at such a tumultuous time.
Really. I mean it. For the sake of our national health. No more news. We’re overloaded with news. We’ve got news coming out of our ears. We’re all newsed out. A brief recap of the past week alone. In the space of just seven days, Britain voted to leave the EU, the pound plummeted, the markets panicked, the Prime Minister resigned, the shadow cabinet resigned, the Labour leader refused to resign, Labour rebels launched and then halted a coup, the First Minister of Scotland begged the EU to let her country stay, racist hate crimes shot up by 400 per cent, Boris Johnson both began and ended his campaign to become Prime Minister after Michael Gove switched from being his closest ally to his worst enemy