How to Grab Headlines During an Election Year
Everyone’s watching for the next move — make sure your brand has one that stands out.
By Jamie Izaks, All Points Public Relations
It can be difficult to break through the clutter during an election year. Between the debates, op-eds, tweets, news reports and scandals that are flying around, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. While it can be challenging to insert your brand into the news cycle in the thick of election year, the key lies in finding the right angles for your brand and pursuing them at the right time. So, how do you keep your brand in the spotlight and earn positive headlines in the media during an election year? Here are four smart tactics to consider.
1. Do Your Research
Don’t phone in your research. It’s important to understand how the news cycle works and study the most pressing issues of today’s political landscape. Read up on the political stories of the day and take note of what different news outlets are covering. Spend time exploring headline news from unbiased sources to ensure that you’re receiving ample information, and considering the viewpoints from each side. This extra push should help you discover an angle that could be an “in” for your brand.
And, as you’re researching topics and developing your pitch, it helps to think in headlines — and quotes! Imagine how you’d apply your brand’s expertise in business, entrepreneurship or category-specific topics to the trending conversations surrounding the campaigns.
Regarding an example of a hot business topic that could also apply to category specific discussions, the oil and gas drilling issue continues to be contested among candidates. Using this topic as an example throughout this article, as it relates to research, it would be helpful to know the dependency your business, brand and industry place on this resource. Having this understanding, you can comment on stories about renewable energy sources that are emerging through candidate encouragement, the renewed influx of coal production and the rise of U.S. gas production that has turned the United States into the world’s largest producer of fuels.
Knowing the candidates’ stances on this and how that can fit into your brand are key to entering the news cycle and putting a positive spin on it for your brand. Consider how you’d see this information presented as a headline, or as a quote in a relevant piece. These words and phrases could help you craft the perfect hook for your pitch.
2. Add Value
Once you’ve identified and sharpened up your angle, it’s time to find a side of the story that hasn’t been told yet. One way to create a unique storytelling platform for your brand is to capture a human angle. Channel the heart of your brand and tell a story that matters more for the individual in a humanizing way. This adds value for your brand and the audience, and offers a nice change of pace from the flood of hard-hitting headlines. Be sure to offer unbiased viewpoints too for quotable context.
Sticking with the oil and gas theme, perhaps a franchisee in your system has a background in the energy field and can discuss how his or her experience has provided a foundation for success in your band. Or, perhaps you are launching research and development programs in your company to lower energy costs, which would fit well in the election coverage.
3. Time Your Delivery
The news cycle never sleeps — it’s 24/7 and needs to be taken advantage of to ensure your brand captures the spotlight. Be prepared to pitch your brand as a source and establish your viewpoints at a moment’s notice. Grab hold of timely opportunities such as debates, town meetings and press conferences, and be fully prepared to insert a compelling story before and after these events.
You can also time your pitch just right for reporters — study their activity and note what time they respond to your emails. Once you’ve gotten to know the cycle of their day, and perhaps their upcoming deadlines, you can use this “data” to strategically boost your story and hit send when you know they’ll be perusing their inboxes.
4. Utilize Your Channels
Don’t just rely on reporters to help you land good headlines. Take matters into your own hands by creating well-written, shareable content to gain the most mileage out of your story. In today’s social media-driven landscape, especially in politics, the power of online content lies at your fingertips.
From Facebook and Twitter to blogs and online forums, it’s never been easier to “go viral” and spread your story like wildfire. Focus on creating compelling, digestible and unbiased content, as well as visually appealing social posts and infographics, to insert your brand into the conversation. Many reporters from entertainment and news sites such as Buzzfeed and Mashable thrive on viral content and are constantly on the hunt for new stories and social media posts that they can round up in their articles.
Making positive headlines during an election year isn’t impossible. With the right attitude, the right angle and the right approach, you can go a long way. Establish your brand as the authority and a source to consider on today’s most pressing topics by sharing well researched, supported and unbiased stories that command the attention your brand deserves. Just be careful not to fall into a political trap.
Jamie Izaks is the President of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area. Find out more about All Points Public Relations here.