By Alex Hesketh, Broadcast PR Executive, Shout! Communications
You would be forgiven for assuming a PR generated story doesn’t stand a chance of making airtime in the run up to the General Election on June 8th.
While the fever pitch around campaigning builds to a climax it may feel like there are just too many political news stories to compete with. During many years’ experience running broadcast PR campaigns during similarly politics-heavy periods and I’ve found this to be a common misconception. But before you pull the plug on a campaign, you may want to consider our reasons for why you should go ahead.
- The appetite:
Just because a broadcast journalist is busy with political content this doesn’t mean they won’t take a PR story – in fact they can often be grateful for alternative content. That said, air-time is always hard won and you should still make your story as attractive as possible to a broadcast journalist. For example, make sure you have an accomplished and available spokesperson, offer B-roll for a TV story, and time your sell-in to perfection. Given the right ingredients your story could be snapped up.
- Competition with politics:
That said, however good a PR generated story may be, it is still unlikely to top the news agenda. The political news will dominate the top headlines, but journalists will be looking for other stories to compliment and contrast this further down the bulletin. Broadcasters are trying to reach as big an audience as possible so to give your story the edge and try and make it as relevant as you can – case studies always help with this. If possible try and pitch and accommodate stories for breakfast bulletins – politics stories often don’t get going until much later in the day.
- Competition with other PR stories:
If a lot of brands hold their campaign back until after the election you’ll find there’s LESS competition for those mid bulletin slots now. Conversely, the week after the election journalists will open the floodgates for PR stories that have been pushed back. Don’t let your story get lost in the mix!
- The fatigue:
Not every radio listener or TV viewer is obsessed with politics. Yes, it is important, but sometimes we want to hear what else is going on in the world. We’ve had enough of depressing news and politics over the last few years; now is a good opportunity for PRs to mix it up. Journalists also suffer from election boredom – make your story the one that brightens their day!
- The unpredictability:
Who knows what the election result may be? In the current climate, anything is possible, and the fallout may rumble on and on, by which time you may have missed your chance. Likewise, it is impossible to predict when a huge, unexpected story, such as a terrorist attack might land. Sometimes great coverage can come down to luck.
Particularly with broadcast news, letting a story grow old is a cardinal sin. Delaying a PR story until the middle of June could present far more problems than you had anticipated, and in the long run the story could lose coverage. Ultimately, a good story will sell whether there is a General Election rumbling or not, so we advise to always strike while the iron is hot!
If you’re considering what to do with a campaign we’re happy to chat it through. Drop a line to our media relations team on 020 7240 7373.
Image courtesy of wikimedia