How to Increase Your Chance of Getting Cut-through with the Media in Times of Crisis.

The practical PR tips you can take to increase your brand awareness with media.

With the current COVID-19 climate, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach the journalists and publishers or cut-through the news cycle in relevant and emotionally appropriate ways. . As PR professionals, we are required to be more creative than ever, be unwaveringly sensitive to those on the other side of our pitch and remember that our clients may not be a priority for those in danger of losing their jobs. y. So how do we get around this in useful and conversation-contributing ways?

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to reach the media, and have your brand heard in time of crisis.

Focus on human connection: When speaking to the media in a time of crisis it is important to remember that they are also human. Just like you, they may also be feeling stressed, scared, unsure and overwhelmed and just like you, they may also be missing the simplest forms of human connection with all this social distancing. A simple gesture, such as asking how they're doing or checking in on what they're currently working on can make all the difference.

It’s also time to drop the ‘hope you’re well!” on your emails or the deep-dive straight into your pitch. We all want acknowledgement of what we are going through at the moment, so in the spirit of the times, first and foremost take the time to pause and connect.

Do your research: Take the time to see what each publication or journalist is writing about. This may be changing on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis right now. Get to know their personal preferences, and what they typically look for in a story and then act accordingly. The better you know your target publication during this time, the more likely you are to make your brand's story right for them. 

This is particularly poignant during this current news climate because many of the mastheads for major news titles have now changed meaning that the journalist who once might have covered purely lifestyle, will likely now cover a few different sectors. Be sure to point this out when you reach out, so the journalist knows you have done your homework and you have been observing and engaged with their hard work.

Stay up to date with the news: Spend 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon reading the top news stories. This is a cheat-sheet into what the current news cycle is looking like and being across this means that you will be able to educate your client on the best way and time to tell their brand story. Also be sure to subscribe to the news outlets daily newsletters as many of them now come with an update from the Editor about their current changes and formats during COVID-19 coverage.

This means that above all, we must be nimble. With the news cycle changing so rapidly, be sure that you and your clients work together to adjust the brand story or angle to ensure it remains relevant. This might mean pushing the launch date forward or back depending on the week, or focussing on an entirely different category altogether. As long as you keep the lines of communication open with your client, it will make a world of difference during this time.

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Think Outside of the Box: Find new and creative ways to share your brand story with the media. This could be exploring different publication titles than you usually wouldn’t have thought to target or providing quirky listicles and story ideas to showcase your brand in a new light. While the news agenda is certainly dominated by COVID-19 currently, there is still very much room for a good news story. Think about how your brand can adapt to the change in an authentic way, like Telstra offering free data or Louis Vuitton making hand sanitiser.

Tell us, what are your tips for reaching the media during this difficult time?