How to Do PR When There Is Nothing to PR
Your client’s new product launch is delayed, they don’t have the internal data they promised, and they are struggling to find a partner for a newsworthy joint case study.
There are times in every PR’s career when it seems the world is against you and there is quite literally nothing to shout about on behalf of your clients.
We’ve all been there. Luckily, there are some tried and tested tactics to help you continue creating engaging and exciting content, even when opportunities seem limited.
There are plenty of tools PRs can use to support their quest for media coverage and links. Some are paid for – like ResponseSource – where you are given access to live media requests from journalists. These provide endless opportunities, from telephone interviews to Q&As, written comments and feature mentions.
There are plenty of free options too. For example, some providers offer free, as well as paid for, media request alerts, like HARO.
Journalists also regularly reach out for experts over social media. Following hashtags like #journorequest on Twitter alerts PRs to possible media contributions, without costing a penny.
While looking out for media requests or news opportunities, think about how your client can be linked to topical stories or events – even if it isn’t immediately obvious.
For example, we recently secured coverage for our client Milk + Blush by writing reactive commentary on the Gorilla Glue TikTok challenge .
We reacted to this trending topic by providing advice from Milk + Blush to media on what consumers should do to keep their hair looking good (without the risk of having products surgically removed after!)
The result? Our client’s comments received viral coverage across all major nationals and women’s consumer sites within hours of the original story breaking.
If there isn’t any chance of creating new content or stories for a client, consider auditing existing client content to see if it can be reused.
For example, repurposing blog posts allows you to breathe fresh air into past content and reach new audiences, without having to think of or write brand new material. You don’t have to prepare new content day in and day out. Sometimes, it can be just as effective getting the content you already have in front of a different audience.
Why not see if your client has written any relevant blog posts, which tie into something topical currently happening? We outreached some advice written by Nuffield Health on six medical reasons which could explain why you feel tired and low on energy all the time . We did this in response to seeing a survey in the media about one in five experiencing serious fatigue.
This resulted in a journalist from the Press Association using the comments, which were syndicated across multiple newspapers and news sites.
Alternatively, you can regularly check a National Awareness Day calendar (there are plenty of free versions online) and find out what events are coming up. Your client may have previously written some useful advice, which can be linked to this, which will make your original copy relevant again and of interest to a separate pool of journalists.
Be a Thought Leader
Thought leadership is a go-to way of creating exciting opportunities, which does not have to be driven by immediate news flow.
Our clients are experts in their fields and as PRs we should use that to our advantage by suggesting article topics directly to journalists.
Why wait for them to come to us when we have plenty of strong ideas to share?
Proactively pitching to relevant media often results in journalists asking our clients for full articles and editorial commissions on their chosen subject.
Not only does proactive thought leadership pitching mean you get to call the shots when it comes to topics, but it leads to longer commissions – usually several of them – of at least 600-800 words each.
The more articles you secure, the more chances you have to increase your client’s share of voice and links, so they stand out from their competitors.
FOI and Government Requests
Internal data is an excellent resource to create news stories.
However, sourcing this is often time-consuming or impossible. Smaller businesses are unlikely to have a bank of data to create news flow from, too.
In these cases, government or FOI data is a great way to find interesting news hooks. For example, we issued an FOI request to uncover the regions with the highest number of parking fines. This resulted in viral coverage from national and regional press as journalists knew readers would be keen to read about ‘ the areas in the UK where you are most likely to be hit with a parking fine ’.
While data requests can be time-consuming – thinking about newsworthy information and which government or association can provide it – once this is done, it’s relatively quick to collect and analyse the results.
So, there you have our five top tips. Let us know what you do when you feel a PR drought looming in the comments below.