September 9, 2013
With a growing number of voices shouting for attention in a shrinking world, it can be a task to get messages across. We have to get creative. But it doesn’t take a headline in The New York Times or a glitzy campaign to score a win. Sometimes, it just takes a keen eye and an opportunistic approach. Here are some “hidden” communications opportunities to watch out for:
- Monitor for Media Response Opportunities
It’s critical that your organization is in touch with what is being covered in the media. You may find an issue you have a stake in has become the news of the day. This is your chance to weigh in.
Some of our clients have found letters to the editor to be one of the best methods of communicating a message. Many outlets crave original content relevant to their readers to print, especially smaller daily and weekly newspapers. Don’t ignore these outlets!
If the issue is big enough, you might even pitch an op-ed or offer to sit down with an outlet’s editorial board to discuss it.
Has someone already written about your subject? You can still join the discussion by posting a reply comment online. Be sure to proofread for accuracy and spelling, include links and write in the proper voice for the audience.
- Announce Your Presence
If you have an upcoming trade show in a certain city, you might not be able to get locals to attend, but they may want to hear about it. Rest assured local media does. Cities hosting your important meetings are not just welcoming you for a few days; they’re also interested in generating future business and reputation. Indulge them!
Send a press advisory to local media letting them know what’s going on. Invite TV and print photographers to visit and chat, and try to position your spokesperson on the local morning radio show. Tying your event in with local news and trends is a huge boost. If your convention has a social media hashtag, share that, too.
Also consider working with the local convention and visitors’ bureau on press outreach – they’re likely to be of help.
- Share Your Successes
Did your association just complete a successful fly-in to Washington? Was your board chair inducted into a Hall of Fame? Leverage it!
Make a list of media in relevant geographic areas and pitch them. Also, nearly every organization fits into a sector with dedicated trade media. These outlets exist to cover their industry or commercial sectors, and they are likely to be interested in your good news. Identify the right contacts at these publications and share it with them. In fact, establish relationships with them.
- Offer Your Group’s Expertise
Develop working relationships with reporters, offering your spokesperson’s expertise as-needed. They may come to rely on your group as a regular, credible source. This holds true for public officials and regulatory bodies, too.
Your spokesperson is an expert; don’t be shy! Websites like The Huffington Post have dedicated space for issue experts to publish their thoughts. Make good on the first submission, and there may be an open invitation to post more. Publications like Forbes and even newspapers also provide similar opportunities.
Sometimes an opportunity may fall right in your lap! Many reporters use services like PR Newswire’s ProfNet™ or Help A Reporter Out (HARO) by Vocus to find particular sources they need. If you receive these email updates, which circulate multiple times daily, pay special attention. Maybe your client fits a reporter’s request.