Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a reporter who writes for CNET, on the topic of politics. Now, I know what you’re thinking – it’s in bad taste to discuss your political point of view with colleagues and acquaintances. However, this conversation did not involve whether or not I agreed with the values of our new President, but the fact that it seems like every reporter has become a political journalist, no matter the industry they cover!
It’s hard to avoid the political elephant in the room and we’ve seen traditional tech news sites such as, Wired and TechCrunch, reporting on political news on a much more frequent basis. So what’s a brand to do when the appetite for what’s happening on Capitol Hill may surpass other timely and highly relevant topics?
Here are a few tips on how you can break through the political noise and get your brand in front of the media.
- Tell Your Story: Whether it’s healthcare reform or H-1B visa legislation, if your brand has a unique perspective or opinion on what’s going on in the world, this may be the time to share it! Right now, some reporters are eager to hear about real life success stories or anecdotes from entrepreneurs. If your brand is comfortable sharing their personal experience as it relates to recent legislation, or political hot topics – now the time to create a narrative for your executives that get them involved in the conversation. Think about pitching your exec as a day-2 spokesperson, to break down the impact of the political announcements on their industry.
- Pitch Op-Eds and Bylines: If your brand has a firm stance on a specific topic, put pen to paper. Now is a great time for thought leadership ands brands should stand firm in what they believe and contribute an op-ed with a strong POV or participate in Q&A opportunities. Establish how vocal your brand should be and find a suitable platform to share their opinion.
- Story Hijack Appropriately: Lets face it – your brand should not comment on every piece of legislation that arouses a personal or professional connection. Story hijack in an informed way, and in a way that contributes value to your industry. It’s critical to evaluate whether it’s appropriate to get involved and it’s even a good use of executive time – based on whether an opportunity supports your company’s mission.
- Keep An Eye on Politics When Planning Announcements: There’s a chance that at any point, there can be breaking news coming out of the White House – and it can completely blindside your product launch or company announcement, as reporters across all industries will be completely distracted. If you’re pitching reporters under embargo and you learn of an upcoming Presidential announcement, consider pushing the embargo to the next day, if it’s possible to do so. Also keep an eye on major business publications (like CNN and the New York Times) that often provide timelines for governmental announcements – that way you can steer clear of launching your product on the day of an important briefing or as critical legislation is rolled out. You can also re-evaluate your media strategy. While business reporters may have a stronger interest in what’s taking place on Capitol Hill, trade media still need to report on what’s happening in the industry. Think about your audience for the announcement and decide whether or not you can shift your strategy. In most cases, the mainstream media will quiet down the day after breaking news hits, so think carefully about who you will reach out to first and when (e.g. hit the trades first, then move on to business press) – and get in front of those reporters while you have their full attention.
Though it may seem daunting at times, the political news cycle has provided a platform for companies and has encouraged a dialogue within the tech community. Let your brand’s voice be heard if it’s appropriate, and continue to ride the political wave!
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