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Securing powerful coverage on trending topics with an effective PR strategy

Author:

Amy Lawrence

Published On:

February 29, 2024

Published In:

PR & Communications

Securing powerful coverage on trending topics with an effective PR strategy

Making your voice heard on an issue that everyone is talking about can be a challenge.

But brands that have something to say that is unique, people-centred, and even contrarian will find their messaging rises above the competition. Here is how an effective PR strategy allows you can reach your target audience and increase brand awareness when discussing the latest industry issues that everyone seems to have a view on.

Stand apart from the crowd

Working out how to express your unique viewpoint and what PR strategy to use may require taking a closer look at how your competitors are talking about (or not talking about) an issue.

For example, AI is a headline-leader at the moment and everyone‘s keen to jump on the bandwagon to be seen as an expert authority on the subject. However, look deeper, and you’ll see very little has been written about the hallucination insurance that is predicted to become a feature of 2024, and whether it is truly going to be a part of the landscape. Or about AI’s ability to commoditise waste management in the cleantech realm.

Of course, it’s not a case of plugging the gaps and saying something different for the sake of it, but more about identifying a new starting point, talking about it authoritatively, and establishing yourself as a thought leader early on in the conversation.

 

Take a people-first approach

Most humans like reading about humans. Don’t forget the power of storytelling and using it to reach what you may perceive as a hard-edged, business readership. Even within B2B, media outlets want to cover stories about people – they always get the most traction and engagement with readers. Stories about real people help bring tech and business outcomes to life in a much more compelling way.

Consider conducting research that delves into challenges. Statistics can tell a human story and, with the democratisation of data storytelling, they are no longer the preserve of data scientists and CTOs. Visuals can amplify the message, too.

Case studies can be another way to create content that reveals real-life human challenges. These can be told in a powerful first-person voice, and generate data too, on a smaller scale. Ad optimisation, personalised targeting, and attention metrics can still be the star of the show, but the message will be turbocharged by a human interest approach.

Don’t be surprised if you’re surprised by your findings. Case studies and research can throw up unexpected results. For example, in a media world where AI’s benefits are generally unquestioned, confusion among senior leadership about its ROI makes good reading. This is why Forbes’ research that revealed C-Suite leaders struggling to measure AI’s impact stops journalists and readers in their tracks and is well positioned to achieve stellar media coverage.

Embrace, or at least admit, the negative

Companies often feel their PR strategy must have a positive outlook to position them in the best light at all times. While it’s true no one likes negativity, that shouldn’t mean following the crowd on every issue.

Both readers and journalists are drawn to viewpoints that constructively examine an issue and present different solutions. 

Similarly, not every study or case study you produce will give the results you expected – embrace these bumps in the road. Stories that take us from encountering a problem, to overcoming it – such as this story from Michael Boychuk, Co-Founder of Little Hands of Stone featured in The Drum – and discovering new or alternative outcomes are more interesting to readers.

Research and case studies can also be used to address issues that could be considered controversial. You might want to use your research to talk about agencies recognising media waste and how to address this. Or you could talk to employees who fear losing their job to AI, while presenting ways they can harness these new products or services.

Most of these case studies and data revelations will have a positive outcome, but it’s good to discern it once you’ve got the material rather than decide what it is in advance. Your message, if it’s based on facts, will be authentic and that’s the holy grail for most journalists.

Talk with authority about what you know about

Own your niche, because specificity is powerful. In the same way as we like reading about other people, we absolutely love reading about people whose roles and challenges resonate with us. 

One way to throw new light on a subject is to ask someone in your organisation with a unique role to write something only they will know about. It could be the AI prompt engineer, the company privacy-literacy expert, or the person with an early adopter perspective on superapps.

Dare to go counter culture

For journalists (and PR professionals), viewpoints that go against the grain can be gold dust. 

It doesn’t have to be a radical departure from media consensus, and it’s always best to avoid the incendiary, but a couple of sentences that add a bit of nuance to what is normally said go a long way.

When they’re genuine and well-considered, comments that question the status quo, especially when done thoughtfully, instantly come across as authentic, insightful, and conversation-starting  – this is exactly what journalists want.

Achieving cut-through on trending topics can be daunting. However, embracing some of these tactics not only ensures you stand out to journalists in the moment, but helps to build long-term relationships that can hugely benefit your public relations strategy.

 

For more information on how to land insightful coverage in a crowded market and how to craft an effective PR strategy, get in touch with us at hello@teamgingermay.com

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