When I was a journalist, we called them slow news days. Now as a PR professional, I recognize those periods that our clients just don’t have new deals to announce or products to launch or customers to publicize as a sort of summer doldrums period — appropriate for this sultry July day. In an industry in which everyone is checking minute by minute for news, you certainly don’t want a lot of minutes to go by without your client’s brand being promoted in some way. And we all know PR is the most cost effective and influential way to keep your brand fresh in the market. So what do you do?
Here are a few tips you might want to consider:
(1) Speak on behalf of the industry. As a representative of your marketplace, you can provide expert commentary on industry happenings and events. Even if they aren’t all about you or your company, your brand will benefit by you being included as a source of valued information or interpretation.
(2) Get into your competitors’ coverage. We love to do this when our clients are willing to. It’s great fun to go after the larger competitors in particular and infiltrate their coverage — get ahead of it by keeping your ear to the ground to determine when they are making moves. Provide quick responses to their moves in the market. It’s not only good for your brand, but it drives your competitors crazy. Bonus points.
(3) Build your relationships. As Ed Finn, editor of Barrons, said recently at an FH Meet the Media event, it is so much better to build a relationship with a reporter than to send them a press release. He urged companies to build that relationship before they are bringing news to the reporters who cover them. It’s good advice. And it applies to the new types of influencers such as bloggers.
(4) Write and speak. Bylines, blog postings (on your own blog or comments on others’ relevant blogs) and speaking opportunities help keep your name out there. And you may bump into some great reporters or bloggers at key venues for that all important relationship building for when you do have news.
So it’s not really a dry period. It’s a creative, proactive period. We have managed to keep some of our clients’ relevance in the media as high during these non-news periods as when they have news, partnering with our clients to do some combination of these techniques. It’s all about the right strategy and a glass half full kind of approach to PR.