“Peak-and-valley” PR: 5 ways to generate media coverage with no news

Oct 21, 2014
“Peak-and-valley” PR: 5 ways to generate media coverage with no news

Do you ever look at your PR results reports and see spikes in media coverage at certain times and major dips at others? For example, you might be securing 10 placements a day surrounding a product launch or funding announcement. But, after the excitement wears off, then comes minimal media coverage and decreased visibility.

I call this “peak-and-valley” PR … and it’s not ideal.

Finding yourself stuck in the valley?

That’s when the fun starts! Get creative to develop additional opportunities to secure media coverage and other PR-related outcomes. 

Here are five ways to generate media coverage with no news and break the "peak-and-valley" PR cycle.

1. Thought leadership. Don’t think you have a story to tell? Think again. Leverage your clients’ past experiences and expertise to secure guest posts, Q&As and interviews. Stories like these work just as well if they’re timely (e.g., what PR pros can learn from Super Bowl advertisers) or evergreen (e.g., tips to build stronger relationships with your clients). Plus, thought leadership pieces drive brand awareness, reinforce clients’ key messages and establish credibility – all critical elements once you do have a true news story to share.

2. Offer a resource. As long as you’ve done your homework and know your client could be an asset to a reporter, it never fails to flat out ask if/how they can help them out. This may not always drive immediate results, but it often lays the foundation for future coverage (and who doesn’t love securing a placement without even having to send a pitch!).

3. Infographics. As PR people, we know media LOVE data. We also know they appreciate when you make it a little easier for them to cover a story. Combine those two with a creative concept and you have the recipe for PR success. For example, we worked with a basketball-related startup earlier this year to create an infographic guide to the top shooters in the Sweet 16. More importantly, we timed the infographic so it became available to media the day Sweet 16 games started. This landed coverage on CBSSports.com (HUGE since CBS had broadcast rights to the tournament and tons of people were going to their site to find news and updates), which led to 90,000+ views in one weekend.

4. Keep the data coming. Since infographics are just one way to view data through a PR lens, let’s look at one more example. Last year, we worked with a client to commission a survey of investors, analysts and executives to gather data about social media’s impact on Wall Street. As it turned out, the findings went against some of the more commonly held beliefs of other key stakeholders in the industry. The data helped secure national media coverage for the client, plus laid the foundation for other PR-related initiatives: speaking engagements, webinars and blog posts, to name a few.

5. Trendjacking. What’s the major trend that media in your client’s industry is talking about? What other current events could they comment on? When you don’t have your own news to pitch, just borrow someone else’s. This can be especially helpful when you want to build momentum for your next “peak.” Not only will you secure non-news media coverage, but you’ll also build relationships with the reporters you’ll likely be pitching when you’re ready to tell your own story.

Okay, PR pros: It’s your turn to share! How do you create media opportunities during “non-news” times?

Heather Whaling (@prTini) is founder/CEO of Geben Communication, a PR firm that helps emerging brands and forward-thinking, established companies excel in a social world. Named one of the top entrepreneurs in Columbus, OH, Heather also serves on the Board of Directors for The Women's Fund of Central Ohio. Connect with Heather through her PR blog, communication trends e-newsletter or Instagram.

Photo: Mountains via Shutterstock

About the author

Founder @GebenComm • @WomensFundCO board, Columbus Women's Commission commissioner • Advocate, philanthropist, mom, podcaster • RewriteTheRules.co

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