April 23, 2014 - why the day the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Elizabeth may not be a good day to hit media with your story.
"There might be absolutely nothing wrong with your media release or the strength of the story you’re telling," says Brian Johnson, Walkley Award winning journalist and author.
"On any other day it would be a walk-up start for massive media coverage. But today, the day you’ve chosen, all hell is breaking loose."
This happens quite frequently when a major story is on the boil. There may even be one, two, maybe even three massive stories breaking, sucking all available oxygen from the newsrooms.
It’s wall-to-wall coverage on these topics. And stories that might otherwise have dominated news bulletins and talk shows have been dropped or ignored.
So what do you do? You’ve been meticulously planning your campaign for so long and now this happens. Don’t take it personally. The media are always reactive. Analyse what’s going on in the frenzy around you and how your information stacks up.
- Is there a possible link between your information and any of the breaking stories? It’s always easier to catch a wave than create one, but be sure you can surf with the happening topic. If so, rejig your release to tie in to the theme of the day and your connection/relevance to it.
- Is this a fast-moving story? One that’s going to be resolved in a couple of hours? If so, consider reissuing your release once the shockwave has subsided. You might want to rework the headline and hook to freshen it up if you’ve already sent it out. Otherwise, change your timing.
- In the body of your release there should be an alternative angle. Dig it up, rework your story around it, and fire it off another day.
Don’t beat yourself up. If your release has been taken down in the crossfire of a busy news day, it’s just one of those things. Don’t get hung up trying to over-analyse it.
Tell your client the reality you came up against and, importantly, explain the steps you’re taking to make the best of a tough situation.
This advice is drawn from The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom by Brian Johnson, an award-winning journalist and leading PR practitioner.