It's no secret that people prefer to read about relevant topics. When a headline mentions a recent news item or a trending topic, it is much more likely to be read. Your company may not always be in the news, but it is relatively easy to become part of the conversation. In fact, leveraging current events and interesting news items is one of the best ways to generate press for your business. Many PR strategies focus on what the particular company is doing, but it is often more effective to determine how your business can fit into what is already being talked about.
A good way to become part of the conversation is by establishing a reputation as a thought leader. You can accomplish this with an informative email newsletter, thoughtful blog posts, an engaging online video or podcast, an educational e-book or frequent tweets or Facebook updates with useful advice. If you are seen as an expert in your field, news outlets will come to you for commentary on current events in your industry. This allows you to get media coverage even if your company isn't doing anything particularly newsworthy. Every time you are mentioned or quoted in the news further bolsters your position as an expert in your field.
Another way to become part of the conversation is to figure out how to tie your product or service to the current event. Even if there is no clear connection, be creative. There is always some way to connect your product to the story. At Harbortouch, we launched a campaign called "Ditch the Dongle" earlier this year (a little alliteration never hurts). Mobile payment apps like Square have been in the news quite a bit lately, particularly within the tech and retail/restaurant industries. Square and other similar apps utilize a plastic "dongle" which plugs into the user's mobile phone to process credit card payments. Our campaign included press outreach, a landing page and an animated video explaining why these mobile dongles aren't the best solution for restaurants and retail stores. Hundreds of news outlets ended up covering our story and the landing page got thousands of hits. In this case, we didn't just want to join the conversation - we wanted to change its direction.
Whether you want to simply join the conversation or actively change its direction, these tactics will help you obtain media coverage and gain exposure for your business.