It goes without saying that regardless of your business focus, innovation isn’t just for January. But when it comes to PR programmes, a lot of companies seem to run out of steam as Q1 creeps to an end. Those multi-tabbed comms plans so painstakingly constructed in the dark days of December may, by February, lay as long forgotten as most new year’s resolutions.
Through experience, we’ve come to know that prioritising your PR goals for the new year is everything. Listing them in a simple, straightforward to keep on hand can be a useful way to keep your programme on track throughout the year.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few innovation-driven goals we’re setting for clients this year:
Break through the Brexit Blanket
The Brexit-fuelled news blanket is hardly of the warm and fuzzy variety, and what’s worse is that it’s often difficult to stand out in such a complex, politically driven news agenda.
The good news is that editors are after feel good stories to break the endless exit deal or no deal diatribe, so come armed with your Tech4Good stories, your UK start-up successes and your creative ideas. What’s more, if you’re willing to talk about how Brexit has affected your business, whether it’s because your earnings have gone up since the referendum, or, if you’ve made moves to diversify your offering or by going global, you’re likely to find a ready and willing audience.
And if you don’t have a huge amount of unique news to bring to the table, there’s still opportunity to newsjack and spin your stories around the daily Brexit negotiation updates – ‘tech leaders speak out on deal or no deal’ is still a valid beat to take to any journo.
Crack New Media
‘Tis the season to review your media targets. If you haven’t updated your magic circle lately then seize the moment, and remember to consider media channels you may not have thought of before. There’s a national story out there for everyone, so get filtering on your niche topics to produce a shortlist of the dailies’ journalists you should be briefing.
Don’t stop at print and online: consider radio. Digital listening is on the rise, with BBC Radio 4 recently posting a weekly reach of 10.91 million. We frequently pitch clients to their local channels because the listener figures are still impressive. BBC Radio Oxford boasts 62,000 listeners a week, with an average of 6.1 hours per listener per week.
Local channels may also be easier radio target to crack, particularly if you can bring expert knowledge to the table. Don’t think you’re an expert? Our experience is that you probably know more than you think, and that you certainly know more than the journalist hosts who need a steady stream of guests.
Stand up: Champion a Cause
According to Mashable, 2019 was the year of the youth activist. Millie Bobby Brown became Unicef’s youngest ever Goodwill Ambassador, and all around the world we saw young people standing up and speaking to the media in order to drive social change.
Is your company aligned with a cause it feels strongly about? Are you volunteering your technology for Tech4Good driven initiatives? There’s a whole new magic media circle of journalists covering the Tech4Good beat exclusively, and they all want to hear how tech is helping to solve the world’s problems.
Get Personal: Meet Your Magic Media Circle
On the topic of magic media circles, when was the last time you met a journalist face to face? It is true that today’s journalists are time poor and frequently don’t have time for the long lunches of days past, but don’t stop the invitations coming. We were recently treated to the company of several journalists at our CommsCo Christmas wine tasting and both the journalists and clients enjoyed putting faces to names and exchanging ideas.
Remember that not all invites need to be custom designed to encourage coverage. While some events may naturally result in media coverage, like anyone else, journalists appreciate invites to events with inspirational speakers and nice food. So make 2019 the year you really get to know your magic media circle.
Celebrate Your People and Pitch Them: Profile First
There’s always room for expert editorial, and we write and place a lot of it. But a balanced PR strategy needs to also be based on pitching your people as this is usually what drives and grows good journalist relationships.
So make sure everyone’s got an updated media bio and photo for 2019, and get pitching your people – especially if they can comment on anything happening on the news of the day. Don’t be afraid to suggest your people take on regular columns, particularly in trade publications – quite often these channels are crying out for content.
There you have it – five of our top tips for priming your PR in 2019. If you’ve got a top tip, we’d love to hear it! And from us to you, Merry Christmas and here’s wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019 (no matter what Brexit throws at us!)