As many brands have adjusted how they are caring for employees, customers and the community during COVID-19, there are several questions to consider before reaching out to media to highlight brand actions. Here are some considerations to ensure a brand’s effort to share news and updates is considerate, informative and on message.
Current State of the Media
Before you consider pitching brand updates + actions, consider the current state of the media:
- Media newsrooms are smaller than ever.
- Reporters are covering more beats and filing more stories than ever. Research who you are pitching and what they are writing about right now as it may be shifting.
- Reporters want new angles and story ideas through a COVID-19 filter.
- When you reach out to reporters, ask these questions:
- Are you taking pitches right now?
- What are you working on and what angles/sources can I provide?
- Think beyond this one pitch. Do you need access to sources you don’t already have? What industries/angles?
- How are you conducting interviews right now? Phone, Zoom, email, other?
Provide News Not Noise
Share only news that is relevant to the world and the brand right now.
- Reporters want to see and share GOOD news on corporate responsibility + innovation.
- Share news about how the brand is caring for employees (more PTO, pay, benefits, executive salary cuts, safety measures).
- Share news about offering free goods or services to those on the front lines (coffee, food, clothing, inspiration).
- Share innovation about how the brand is helping solve major problems (manufacturing shifts).
- Share news about giving back (PPE donations, monetary gifts, volunteer efforts).
- Avoid tone-deaf pitches about irrelevant product pushes or brand actions (ie, fashion trends, travel plans, social activities).
Press Release vs. Pitch
Many brands are ditching the press release right now because they are too crafted. Instead, brands are sending out emails directly to reporters in the geographic region or industry they are targeting.
- Keep it short and informative — reporters are getting bombarded with news.
- Answer the Journalism 101 questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
- Provide any images, b-roll or assets right in pitch email.
- Be ready to GO if they have interest. Reporters may need to engage very quickly to conduct an interview or get a story filed.
- Think through your pitches and audiences. Consider the pitch through these lenses: National mainstream media, business media, local media, and trade media.
The Right Channel, The Right Time
- Not all brand news will warrant or gain media coverage, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Consider other channels to share brand updates, including your website, social channels, internal/external newsletters, email, store signage, app and others.
Like what you just read? Check out this simple, but useful planning framework, designed to help brand leaders like you create an action plan that will guide brands through now to recovery.
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