What is Newsjacking?

Since David Meerman Scott coined the term “newsjacking” in 2011, our team has written nearly 30 unique blogs on the subject — possibly more than any other topic. 

So what is newsjacking? What makes it so important that we would write about it so often? And why should PR professionals care about it?

David defines newsjacking as “the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story so you and your ideas get noticed.” In doing so, he actually “newsjacked” something familiar to most PR people and packaged it with a clear label – something else PR people do well.

For PR professionals looking to secure earned media coverage, newsjacking provides the opportunity to generate media attention when the organization doesn’t have hard news to share, or when the product roadmap doesn’t contain any new launches or innovations to generate media coverage. Newsjacking can also tie a brand to timely topics that lend themselves to stories in top-tier media outlets that can otherwise be hard to crack with things like company news. 

Top Blog Posts About Newsjacking

Want to learn more about newsjacking? Here are a few of our most popular posts on the topic:

How To Supercharge B2B PR With Newsjacking

Unlike traditional proactive approaches, newsjacking captures reactive media coverage by taking advantage of current news stories. This article outlines how to successfully implement this approach, from advance planning with subject experts to maintaining a library of quotable content. Read on to learn how to take advantage of newsjacking. 

How to “Newsjack” – Ethically 

Opportunistic and insensitive attempts at newsjacking have given it a bad connotation in some circles, but newsjacking doesn’t have to be negative! Dorothy Crenshaw explores the simple tenets of ethical newsjacking in this blog — one of our first on the topic.

PR Tips For Taking Advantage Of Breaking News

When it comes to newsjacking a PR team needs to act fast, but how fast is too fast? How do you know if you’re fast enough? This post explores the timeliness required for newsjacking, as well as tips for how to anticipate trends. 

How To Get Media Coverage When You Have No News

When big things are happening at a company, it makes the PR roadmap pretty clear. But how can you keep an organization relevant and visible in the absence of hard news? From newsjacking to creating your own news with research data, this blog entry explores different ways PR can generate media coverage when your company has no news. 

Unique Ways PR Pros Can (and Should) Consume News

“One of the best and easiest ways to position executives as thought leaders,” says Colleen O’Connor, “is by taking advantage of relevant news stories as soon as they break.” However, successful newsjacking requires staying on top of what’s happening in the news. In this post, Colleen shares tips for how PR professionals — and others looking for the opportunity to newsjack — can stay on top of the 27/7 news game.


Looking for even more newsjacking resources? Check out our recent ebook: Newjacking in the Age of Cancel Culture


Three Barriers To Great Sales Tech PR

Why do most sales tech companies struggle to drive great PR? The sales tech market is incredibly hot. Look at companies like Crunchbase or Drift.

I’ve spoken to dozens of companies and platforms over the last few years — from SaaS for sales compensation to AI-powered sales enablement — to give them guidance on the PR challenges for the sales tech industry, in general, and how they can break through.

Here are three main barriers to consider:

A limited media universe 

There is a glaringly obvious shortage of traditional “sales-focused” reporters and publications for earned media. Adtech brands have publications like Adweek and AdAge, for example, but there is no equivalent Salesweek or SalesAge. There is a Search Engine Journal but no Sales Tech Journal. While there are numerous publications focused on revenue tech in general, there are only a handful of genuinely independent sales-focused reporters, and that’s being generous. Think about it. If you had to name a dedicated sales tech trade, can you name one outside of SalesTechStar? Probably not.

Fragmented news landscape  

The limited media landscape is partially driven by how fragmented news consumption is for the sales audience. Many get updates and insights from podcasts, guest articles in mainstream business publications like Forbes and Inc., and LinkedIn. Others read more tech-focused sales news from enterprise reporters at publications like TechCrunch and VentureBeat. Then there are B2B tech sites like DemandGen Report which cover sales tech alongside other areas like martech. So, the landscape is highly fragmented, on top of being limited.

Everyone drinks the Kool-Aid

Every sales tech company thinks they’re the coolest thing ever. But, when we speak about the situation honestly, the conversation is humbling. Sales-related topics just aren’t sexy to *most* media. This is a key reason sales sees a deficit of conventional outlets, but a surge in insider media (like podcasts by sales tech companies, LinkedIn communities, etc.), produced by the sales community itself. If you want the former, however, for more mass credibility, you need to recognize the soft appeal to most media and identify how to tell a story around that — with interesting angles that aren’t “just” about sales. This is what we do at Crenshaw Communications. 

Our work with Chili Piper is a great example. Chili Piper is an inbound conversion platform for B2B revenue teams. It tasked our agency with developing a media relations strategy to generate awareness for its brand as a leader in sales enablement. Understanding the barriers to great sales tech PR, our team developed a strategy focused on leveraging founder profiles, workplace culture stories, and entrepreneurial topics to position the company as a socially-continuous global business. One particular campaign focused on an initiative created by Chili Piper to help Ukrainian citizens following Russia’s invasion. The effort drove high-level coverage, including hits in top-tier outlets like CNBC, Forbes, and TechCrunch, and connected the initiative to the founders’ technical prowess, business ethos, and sense of responsibility as leaders who built a global company with people-first values. 

Driving great PR for sales tech has its challenges — a sparse media landscape, a fragmented audience, and self-aggrandizing tendencies within the industry. However, these barriers are surmountable. The key lies in strategic storytelling that extends beyond the conventional sales narrative, reaching for broader, more engaging themes that resonate with a diverse audience. Brand stories with elements of human interest, leadership, and social responsibility can earn high-level coverage and gain much-desired credibility.

How To Manage Being “Ghosted” By Media

As B2B PR pros, we’re always looking for creative ways to tell a story. We look to secure an article or segment that not only hits priority message points, but appears in an influential publication relevant to the company’s business. When pitching a significant news announcement, perhaps about a new product or VC funding, securing a story ahead of the announcement date is critical to a smooth launch. Timing is key.

Depending on the announcement, we may seek an exclusive, meaning one reporter has access to the news before others. Or we may go with an embargo, which means offering the news to a wider pool of media targets at the same time. 

Despite the best strategy and planning, PR plans can be foiled if the journalist goes silent and we’re ghosted. It’s a common term in dating, but when it happens in PR, a job based around effective communication, it’s particularly frustrating.

So what should you do when you are ghosted by a reporter?

Don’t take it personally 

It can be easy to assume the reporter has stopped responding because you did something to turn them off from the story, but that is likely not the case. Journalists are people, too, and sometimes things happen that pull them away from their job. The news item you’re discussing can seem like the most important thing in the world to your team, but for the reporter, it’s just another story. If they need to step away from work for personal reasons, emailing the PR person they’ve been in touch with may not be at the top of their list.

It’s helpful to follow reporters on Twitter, as they’ll likely post if they have to take time off. It can at least provide a reason why there’s no response and can give peace of mind knowing you did nothing ‘wrong’ to lose the story lead. 

Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to an editor. Especially if the publication is highly relevant to your client or company’s business, the last thing the publication wants is to have issues with a company that can bring future news items. An editor can likely clear the air, or at least push the reporter to respond with an explanation.

Follow up, but know when it’s time to stop

The art of the follow up can be its own blog post. A well worded and relevant follow-up often nets great opportunities, but it pays to understand when enough is enough. If a reporter has gone silent, feel free to follow up a few times on the same channel you’ve been communicating through, most likely email. If there’s no response in a couple of days, shoot them a DM on Twitter if their bio says they’re okay with that, or send a message over Signal if their handle is listed. (Many reporters in the security space publish theirs.) If you hear nothing after a few days, it’s probably time to move on.

Give yourself enough lead time

For any type of media outreach, lead time is critical. PR pros don’t always have lots of advance notice because an announcement can come up at the last minute. But if you do have the luxury of lead time, try to build at least 10 business days to secure a strong story — and also to account for being ghosted. That way, if a reporter goes dark, you have enough time to approach other targets you’ve already slated as relevant for the news. This will be more comfortable for the PR team, and it doesn’t force the new reporter to scramble for an interview and rush to get a good story together. 

Communicate with stakeholders 

Our jobs are based around communication. Don’t be afraid to be honest with a client or your internal team about the status of a given pitch or initiative. Being ghosted by members of the media is an unfortunate part of being in PR, so it’s up to us to share the reality of the situation. A client might think their agency is working slowly, isn’t putting in enough care, or is doing a bad job if a journalist has gone quiet. To avoid misunderstanding, have an alternative strategy ready, like new targets or moving back the announcement date to allow more time. At the very least demonstrate that you’re thinking critically to overcome barriers and pushing hard to keep the process moving.

Top Tips For Approaching Cybersecurity Media

In the world of PR, there are few fields more exciting and terrifying than the cybersecurity industry. It feels like every day we hear about a new breach, hack or vulnerability that has impacted an individual or organization. The numbers back this up; a recent cybersecurity report from research firm ThoughtLab found that the average number of cyberattacks and data breaches increased by 15.1% from last year. It’s essential for savvy PR professionals to stay up to date on the latest developments in the space.

However, monitoring the latest data security incident isn’t enough. Even though the number of outlets and reporters who cover the space has increased as the threat has grown, cybersecurity journalists demand more from the PR professionals they know. It’s not enough to share thoughts on the latest breach; rather, reporters are often looking for short and long-term insights and advice about the future of the category as well as the reasons the public should care. 

So, how do PR organizations manage their relationships with cybersecurity reporters to garner coverage and showcase their clients as thought leaders in the space? It’s all in the approach.

Different data security reporters cover different verticals

One of the biggest misconceptions about the industry is that all cybersecurity media contacts are interested in the same stories. While cybersec journalists typically monitor the latest hack or vulnerability, how they cover the news changes from reporter to reporter and outlet to outlet. For example, journalists who focus on privacy and data concerns on big tech platforms may be intrigued by a pitch about a data breach on a major social network. But they would not be interested (and may even be annoyed) by an inbound about a ransomware attack on a local energy supplier. It’s best to prioritize research into the most appropriate reporters and outlets for a specific cybersecurity pitch.

PR teams should organize their contacts by vertical, separating outlets and reporters based on recent coverage. Note specific reporters or media organizations that can be helpful for the future. For example, if a reporter is focusing on stories about cybersecurity threats as students prepare to go back to school, make sure everyone knows that. Moreover, pay attention to the tone of data privacy stories. While data privacy doesn’t always overlap with cybersecurity, often reporters who take a strong stance or position in a privacy story may ask to speak with a cyber expert about the potential consequences of a breach. Monitoring and capitalizing on past interactions with reporters is often the simplest and most effective way to manage media relationships and turn pitches into wins. But pay attention to the broader story – a spokesperson can easily be quoted on the record criticizing a major company, one they may even work with from time to time, for inadequate privacy and cybersecurity measures. Context matters.

All breaches aren’t the same

Not only do the verticals for reporters in the cybersecurity industry vary significantly, but the types of incidents they cover and care about differ as well. Denial of Service (DOS) attacks are not in the same ballpark as ransomware attacks. Third-party data breaches, for example, require different insights and expertise than hacks that only affect a specific individual.  For example, the access of unauthorized information from a telecommunications company by a cyber criminal will potentially affect all of the clients and users while a successful phishing scam on a specific shopper will likely only compromise that individual consumer. Thus, PR professionals need to have a basic understanding about the insights, research and sources to offer depending on the incident. 

It’s often useful to separate the available data, spokespeople and insights into categories for outreach when the next breach happens. In addition, your cybersecurity spokespeople and clients may not actually be experts in all areas. Many have a specific area they focus on in terms of breaches and data compromises. It’s a misconception that cyber professionals already know everything about the industry, so understanding the expertise and focus on each side is key.

Use cybersecurity conferences and panels

Cybersecurity changes all the time, and more than nearly any other tech category, it offers a robust stream of industry conferences and meetings. Nearly every other week there are panels that highlight the cybersecurity landscape, its threats, current solutions and best practices. These panels offer constant opportunities to bring together cybersecurity companies, research firms, reporters and analysts who cover the category.

Always be building relationships 

When conducting outreach for cybersecurity conferences, it’s not enough to simply offer a knowledgeable spokesperson for a panel or keynote. Savvy PR people use all available resources to showcase new research studies, data, and trends. Experts spokespersons can also offer opinions on recent attacks, industry moves, and regulatory issues.

PR teams can get the most out of conferences by offering media briefing opportunities even if they’re not for a specific story and don’t result in media coverage. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes PR people make is foregoing media meetings that don’t guarantee immediate placements. The relationship-building opportunities between media outlets and companies and their executives or third-party experts can generate long-term connections that pay dividends far into the future.

What Does Top-Tier Media Mean In PR?

In the PR world, when we kick-start a new engagement we may ask a client, “Where do you want to see your brand? When it comes to media, do you have a ‘wish list’?” Naturally, the initial response may be a preference for splashy stories in top-tier outlets like The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Times, or Fortune. And we agree that nothing is quite as rewarding as securing that one BIG media placement. 

While those outlets are undeniably desirable for B2B PR, the definition of top-tier media Isn’t the same for all programs. The media landscape is cluttered, and it’s always changing. The migration of news to digital platforms has disrupted the news business, and new outlets are always coming on board. So, there’s not a one-size fits all approach to PR or media relations. What may be one company’s tier-three can be another brand’s tier-one. 

To execute a strong PR program and target the media outlets that will work best for your brand, assess your goals. Only then can you make meaningful recommendations on outlets that would be most influential.

Assess your audience

In B2B PR, you come across different audience segments, but the three main audience groups typically are: stakeholders, customers and reporters.

A private company or startup wanting to catch investor attention has different objectives than a public company looking to increase their customer base and market share. The audiences are fundamentally different. Industry-specific publications, whether healthcare, retail, or financial services, may lack the overall readership numbers and broad reach of a national news site, but they resonate with a given target audience and engage decision-makers that can impact an organization’s growth. For example, Street Fight covering local marketing, commerce and advertising may not generally be considered a top-tier outlet, but for our client Uberall, Street Fight is a very valuable trade and always gets the attention of audiences who count. 

Make vertical trades a MUST for PR strategy

While we cannot deny the power of a top-tier national media coverage, vertical media has proven very meaningful. Why? Vertical outlets allow more in-depth and targeted storytelling, focus on stories that may be too complex for a bigger outlet, spotlight the C-suite executive bench and drive demand-gen efforts.

Moreover, these trades are an excellent avenue for vertical-specific reporters at bigger business publications like Bloomberg or The Wall Street Journal. Top-tier beat reporters tend to follow trades in their sector to keep a pulse on the topics beyond the high-level announcements and breaking stories.

With publications like Morning Brew generating multiple vertical-specific publications (across retail, tech, HR and finance among others) and Time magazine’s dedicated business vertical, there are plenty of opportunities for brands to build their coverage pipeline. 

Newer forms of media – a game changer

As with vertical trade press, other forms of media are evolving to yield excellent outcomes. Some of the most important are newsletters and substack, a venture-backed platform allowing writers to connect with their audiences directly through their inbox. They offer new access points for earned media hits. Readers can select the topics and reporters they like, which presumably helps fuel engagement. In the middle of the pandemic, we saw a number of established reporters leaving for newsletters and creating their own ‘mini media empire’. Such platforms have created an industry not only for the writers but also a perfect opportunity for PR teams to connect their clients directly with their desired audience. 

The paywall conundrum

Let’s face it, paywalls are becoming the future. Name any top-tier pub — NYT, WSJ, Forbes, Insider and Washington Post, among others – and they’re likely to be inaccessible to readers without a monthly subscription.  Some allow non-subscribers to see a limited number of articles before directing to the payment channel, but the limits are there. 

During the pandemic, many media groups dropped paywalls for a time, but we’re now seeing paywalls re-emerge. Last year, Reuters restricted its free online content and unveiled a new subscription website. Sports Illustrated also launched its new digital premium membership. Paywall methods like this one weed out many readers that some argue represent a gateway to an engaged, loyal audience. But no matter how you feel about it, this changing business model is important to consider in determining your editorial media plan to secure coverage and maximize reach. Consider exploring and pivoting to tier-two media, as they often can be just as useful, if not better, than top-tier outlets to drive new levels of awareness for a campaign or brand.

PR teams must work with the brand team to shape the messaging strategy to reach the right media and ultimate audiences in a timely fashion. We’re the experts here, so understand the business involved, ask questions and don’t shy away from recommending new media targets beyond the top tier. 

Pitching Podcasts: PR Tips For Success

In B2B PR, we’re always looking for ways to promote client stories, often through interviews with members of their senior leadership team. Podcasts are naturally part of that mix; they’re a great way to secure thought leadership opportunities, and they’re growing in popularity. In 2022, the number of monthly U.S. podcast listeners will increase by 6.1% year-over-year (YoY) to 125 million. 

Broadcast is still a popular platform for reaching PR goals, but lately podcasting has even edged out TV, in part due to the advantages they offer. Podcasts typically offer the luxury of time; leaders have anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to share information, usually in a relaxed, informal setting. Podcasts also offer the opportunity to connect to a specific target audience, engaging listeners who are interested in relevant business or cultural topics.

There are many popular podcasts for businesses, including “How I Built This,” “Snacks Daily,” The New York Times’ “The Daily, and NPR’s “Up First” to name a few. But not every entrepreneur is a fit for “How I Built This,” so consider alternatives. There’s no shortage of options; in fact there are over 2 million of them worldwide. For example, we have many marketing and adtech clients, so we like “DemandGen CXO Conversations,” “AdExchanger Talks,” “The Sales Evangelist,” “Accelerate With Andy Paul” or “Marketing Over Coffee.”

So how can PR teams secure podcast opportunities for their brands? The secret is in the pitch.  

Do your research

When creating a list of prospective podcasts for business executives, be on the lookout for two things – an audience that matches your demographic and a podcast theme that makes sense for the business. 

Then, make sure the podcast aligns with your spokesperson. For example, if you’re promoting a B2B sales enablement tool, you’ll want to focus on sales podcasts and not marketing shows. And it’s okay to think horizontally. For example if the founder of the brand you’re pitching has an interesting story or point of view, you can target entrepreneur podcasts like “This Week in Startups” or “The Entrepreneur Way.”

Another idea is to search by location. If your brand is focused on a specific region, that background may carry more weight with a podcast from the same area than with a national or international podcast where people don’t have access to the product or service.

It’s also important to search where your competitors have been featured. If the podcast host invited them to their show, your brand should be of interest too. Just make sure to stand out with a new perspective in your podcast pitch.

Tailor the outreach

Make it clear why you’re emailing. In the subject line, begin with “Podcast Guest Pitch” then include keywords to describe your topic.

To make your pitch stand out, make sure you know the podcast first. Listen to a few episodes to get a feel for the themes, see who they’ve interviewed previously, learn the types of questions asked, and study the host’s interview style. Consider your client’s personality, too. If they’re new to podcast appearances, you may want to start with lighter, more casual podcasts versus serious ones.

In your pitch include a compelling story that will keep listeners engaged and tuned in. Explain your client’s expertise, experience, and personality and share specific examples of the information they can provide.

Include 5-10 potential topics for the podcast interview in your pitch as this provides the host the option to decide on a topic, making it easier for your client to prepare.  

Position your executive as an expert

Doing the work to guide the podcast host toward accepting your guest can mean all the difference between your pitch being accepted or rejected.

Make it easier on the host by including a robust bio that speaks to this person’s experience and ability. Links to your guest’s website, LinkedIn and Twitter also offer a better understanding of how they might interview. If your spokesperson has appeared on broadcast or spoken on a podcast before, include links to relevant press hits to help your client’s credibility.

Finally, make sure your spokesperson is prepared. Confirm they have a quiet space for the interview and a proper microphone for better sound quality. Prepare a briefing document with background information on the podcast and host, links to previous interviews, a list of potential questions and messaging to help the spokesperson get ready. Set up a call a few days before the interview to walk through the questions and get them talking about the subject matter. This way they’ll feel comfortable on the day of the interview.

Pitching podcasts requires both patience and professional persistence as it’s really all about timing. Just because you may not have received a response after following up doesn’t mean it’s a “no.” Keep that idea handy, update it later, and send your pitch again when the time is right. Remember, there are plenty of podcasts out there to consider so just move on to the next contact!

PR Tips For Using HARO, Qwoted and ProfNet

For PR teams, the most common way to secure media coverage involves announcements, data and proactive pitches. Yet there are always times when proactive pitching doesn’t work, or when announcements and data are relatively light. It’s times like these when PR folks must figure out how to supplement their planned pitching to continue to drive media interest at a good pace. And there are a number of tools – both free and subscription-based – that help generate a steady stream of opportunities. Examples of these include HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and Qwoted, which are both free, and ProfNet, which requires a subscription for those wishing to respond. 

For those unfamiliar, these platforms allow reporters to post requests for commentary from sources they can use for a specific story. PR folks can sign up for e-newsletters that are usually delivered multiple times a day with more information about the requests, including contact info, story description and deadline. Taking a few minutes to browse these lists is a good practice for identifying story ideas and interview opportunities.

While they’re a great tool for PR people, it’s easy for your submission to be overlooked. With that in mind, there are ways to increase the likelihood that the reporter will see (and hopefully use) your client’s comments. 

Pick your spots

The number of inquiries served up by these platforms, especially when you subscribe to several, can be overwhelming, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to respond to all of them. Nor should you try. When reviewing them, you want to be selective and pick the ones that are the best fit. Since each receives so many responses (anywhere from 10 to nearly 100, depending on the topic or publication), you might think that submitting for as many as possible will increase your chances of inclusion. In reality, it’s likely a waste of time. A better strategy for sifting through the dozens of requests in each newsletter is to search for topics and keywords that you know are relevant to the stories you want to tell. 

Be first to the punch

Queries on these sites are all given deadlines that presumably coincide with the reporter’s editorial deadline for each piece. If you think one of the brands you represent is right for a given opportunity, submit as soon as possible. Waiting means the reporter may have everything they need for the story before they get to your submission. Being first to the punch is one of the easiest ways to improve the chances of being included in the piece. 

Offer a unique perspective 

If your spokesperson has an original or contrarian point of view or an unexpected take in response to the query, by all means submit it. With reporters receiving so many replies, sharing something you think could be different will help it stand out in the crowd. Also, feel free to bring suggestions or guide your spokesperson’s responses in a direction that works for the story. Most PR people spend lots of time reading and researching stories, so chances are they have ideas about the commentary that can improve a story. Use this knowledge to make your submissions as strong and insightful as possible.  

Keep responses tight

Reporters aren’t looking for you to write the story for them, but rather for help enhancing it. They’re on deadline, so they can’t spend time reading pages of insights from a single company. So when submitting, it’s best practice to keep your responses short, punchy and no longer than a paragraph or two. When you bring a journalist query to an expert spokesperson they might look at it as a time to show off everything they know about the topic. Help them trim the fat and figure out what’s most important to include in their response to make it less overwhelming. 

Manage expectations

Just because you submit something doesn’t mean it will be used. In fact, it would be reasonable to assume that more submissions will be skipped than not. When bringing the opportunity to a spokesperson or client, it’s a good idea to use words like “potential” and “consider” so they understand that the reporter is collecting responses from many people to consider for inclusion in their piece. It’s okay if it doesn’t get used! 

Repurpose commentary

It’s smart to limit the time you spend responding to reporter queries through these services by being short and selective. But don’t assume that submissions that aren’t used are wasted. Many can be repurposed into another pitch or byline, or they can spark another idea. Save your pitches for adaptation to your media story calendar, reactive response pitching, or bylined content.

While these platforms will never replace PR plans, they can bring opportunities. Focus on a fresh take, then be short, selective, simple, and swift, and you will see a better ROI for the time spent. 

Navigating Media At High-Profile Events

The bread and butter of B2B PR? Industry events. Whether your brand is making a splash at a trade show or an executive is speaking at a conference, professional events combine direct customer contact with press opportunities. And the biggest of these events – like the Cannes Advertising Festival, the Consumer Electronics Show, or the E3 Expo, attract equally high-profile media. Here are some tips to both landing media interviews and making sure they’re successful.

Target relevant press

If you’re tackling an industry event without a full PR team facilitating outreach, pitching and planning for press interviews can be daunting. The key is to offer a conversation that’s intriguing enough to be worth the time within a busy schedule. First, align the expertise of brand executives in attendance with the news beats and interests of your media targets. You can typically use the media lists provided by the event host to determine which reporters will be attending, whether virtually or in-person. You can also research past event coverage, taking note of which media contacts have covered the event in previous years. Finally, ensure you package the offer in a compelling way that doesn’t reveal too many insights that would potentially preempt any information in the interview.

Plan well and double-confirm

Securing media interest is only the first step. Schedules fill up quickly, and firming up details promptly is important. It’s also wise to double-confirm all information and make sure both parties can contact one another directly. Locations and logistics at conferences and trade shows can be confusing and traveling from one point to another is often slow, so build in extra time. If your executive team is “off-campus” (or on a chartered yacht in the Mediterranean!) you will obviously need to arrange transportation. Make every step as painless as possible. Planning your meeting around a meal, or offering refreshment in a private room at your booth or hotel is often a good idea.  

Make interactions memorable 

Not that gimmicks are everything, but it’s important to make the reporters’ time worthwhile. Think in terms of not just one, but two or three potential stories. Media spend time at trade events to make connections, but they’re also after daily stories. It couldn’t hurt to give them a sneak peak of an innovative new product or simply introduce them to newly hired (relevant) C-suite members. Make sure all brand spokespersons are well prepared with necessary background and that they understand what the reporter needs.

It’s all in the briefing book

In the craziness surrounding traveling to and navigating an event, executives will likely be preoccupied leading up to their scheduled press interviews. Set them up for success by prepping a comprehensive briefing book well before the event. A briefing book will break-down the appointment times, media attendee’s background and the key topics for discussion. It’s designed to help break the ice, make both parties comfortable, and keep the conversation on track.

Accommodate COVID considerations

Even if you have past experience hosting media interviews at industry events like Cannes or CES, attending in 2022 and beyond will present new challenges. Don’t take them lightly.

The global COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over. And though many IRL events have come roaring back, they can still be tricky. Hybrid events, cancellations and last-minute attendee dropouts due to pandemic spikes have left organizers and sponsors scrambling to maintain decades-long industry traditions. Consider carefully when considering brand presence – in-person or otherwise – at future events.

As you schedule interviews, be sure to make adjustments to reporters or executives attending virtually. Taking time to maintain an organized system of scheduling and information-sharing will make a good impression. Everyone should be accommodated – no matter their location.

Consider the impact on local communities

Any corporate event attendance or sponsorship should consider its impact on the local town or community, particularly if it’s an international gathering. Think through the potential economic and health impact of physical attendance and be mindful that any decision you make may be a topic of discussion with the press. CES 2022 was labeled a high-tech ghost town after brands canceled their travel plans in the weeks leading up to it due to COVID-19 spikes. And maybe it’s better they did. A few months later, Upfronts in May was deemed a superspreader event

Be prepared for protests

More importantly for brand reputation, on-site protests or breaking news can shift the focus of discussion at a high-profile conference. This summer at the Cannes Lion Festival, for example, Greenpeace protesters made a splash in canoes to protest the fossil fuel industry’s greenwashing in advertising. Red-carpet protests against sexual violence and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine followed. Not only do such protests grab headlines, they sometimes invite media to query corporate sponsors and participants about the issues being highlighted. It’s important that any and all spokespersons are ready to comment if appropriate, and that they’re comfortable adapting messages to the situation. Above all, only authorized company representatives should address a controversial issue, and any brand spokesperson should take care not to appear insensitive to protesters’ concerns. For more on media training and brand messaging, check out this post.

With so much to do and consider when landing press interviews at industry events, it’s easy to forget about media or communities outside the “bubble.” But it’s your job to maintain a safe experience not only for your brand, but for all participants. Remaining socially conscious in post-COVID 19 times, while preparing and planning thoughtfully for attendance, can result with a huge win for your brand on the PR front.

Four “Old-School” PR Tactics You Shouldn’t Retire Just Yet

It’s not your grandparents’ PR industry. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, PR was evolving, with most of us replacing time-honored tactics with fresher and more digital methods. For example, media monitoring, once a tedious and time-consuming daily ritual, is now far more efficient given AI-assisted tech. Today content is dynamic; much of it can be created instantly and is more personalized than ever before. Digital technologies have disrupted both journalism and PR, in ways that often help us work together.

But just as digital tech has created opportunities, it has also raised hurdles and headaches. Take the case of social media; what was once a creative space for brands to engage with customers is now so cluttered that making connections is difficult, and paid media strategies are often necessary. Email outreach to media has added efficiency, yet it has also been misused by many PR teams. The list goes on.

But constant change doesn’t mean we should throw out all time-tested tactics. In fact, here are a few “outdated” PR practices that are still highly effective. Don’t put them on the discard pile just yet.

The in-person media tour

Although in-person meetings were all but shut down as a result of COVID-19, they had already been slipping out of vogue by 2000. Yet PR is all about building and maintaining relationships. For all the benefits of Zoom, an in-person meeting is still the best way to build rapport. IRL meetings allow client spokespersons and journalists the opportunity for flexible conversations that are not limited by the boundaries of a screen. In an era defined by transactional conversations, in-person briefings can be a great way for a brand representative to distinguish their story. Maybe it’s not like the traveling “tours” of decades ago, but the face-to-face factor is very powerful.

Manual media research

Many databases promise up-to-date background on media targets and trends. But for all the hype, there truly is no substitute for manual research and human analysis. Journalists are very busy, so giving them relevant information is key to PR success. Yet, many PR teams look for technology shortcuts. While there are tools that may help with analysis, manual scrutiny is the only way to correctly approach media. Without it, PR professionals not only may fail, but they risk burning bridges by spamming reporters with irrelevant pitches and information.

Getting on the phone

Email has significantly improved the speed at which journalists and PR professionals work. However, there is very much a place for the old-school phone call. And sometimes there really isn’t a better option for closing the loop on a project than hopping on the phone. For example, why wait to pass on a few additional instructions to conference coordinators on sponsorship partnerships when you can easily just give them a call? A simple phone conversation can sometimes make things easier and save time, so don’t give up on it just yet.

Wire distribution

Given our regular sticker shock over the cost of newswire distribution, more businesses and PR agencies are moving away from posting announcements on the wire. But there’s still a place for newswires in our business. It should never be the sole distribution method, but it’s an efficient way to put out key announcements and can sometimes offer an SEO boost. Granted, costs for newswire distribution for each and every announcement can be prohibitive, and the international distribution costs are insanely high. But there are several budget friendly options that can offer more targeted SEO reach for a gentler cost.


5 Ways To Amplify PR Efforts

The right public relations strategy allows brands to build visibility while creating or deepening connections with key audiences. But tools like press releases and feature story placements are just the beginning. Here are five ways to amplify PR efforts.

Social media adds value

Social media posts can be more than company news and updates. Brands get creative on social channels. For example, if your brand just put out a report with interesting stats, the information can be turned into engaging graphics or charts to engage not only customers, but journalists. Brands can also use social media channels to share thought leadership insights. It’s common for journalists to pick up something on Twitter to incorporate into an article or research for further commentary, for example. Capturing interest from followers can also strengthen a brand’s relationships with key press.

Always be building…media relationships 

Media relationships, of course, are at the heart of PR plan execution. And social channels are a strong avenue for connecting with journalists and other news influencers who might be a resource for a future story. Engage with them on social media, email them offering kudos on a recent story, or schedule a coffee meeting or a virtual check-in. It’s useful to gain insight on planned stories and to let them know about your clients informally, but most importantly, you want to get to know them.

If you create that trusted relationship with journalists, they will start coming to you for help on stories – which is why it’s not only helpful for PR pros to have good relationships with journalists, but to also use the tried and true PR tool of reactive response, otherwise known as newsjacking, to amplify PR efforts.

Newsjacking seizes opportunities 

In responding to a breaking story with your own commentary or news, you can create additional, opportunistic coverage to augment proactive media efforts. But you need to be quick and efficient and  you must offer useful information. Breaking news happens fast, and reporters writing stories are looking for a quick reaction. Something we practice here at Crenshaw is having a document for our clients with approved commentary on several topics where they have expertise. That way we already have the shell of an approved response, and we can tweak the quote to fit the story. That’s how we can get as many as three clients quoted in a single piece on Apple’s announcement of new features for its SKAdNetwork. The key here is not only to be reactive but to offer insightful commentary to grab the attention from reporters. 

Data pulls go along way

There may be a month or two where a company has no immediate announcements or is in the middle of closing on a partnership deal or similar news item, which can take months. In short, there’s no hard news. Data pulls are a great way to get a quick hit, especially if the data reveals something new and relevant to targeted press. 

Last month, our client Innovid put out an annual benchmarks report examining key trends in streaming CTV advertising and more. The report is full of nuggets of information that we plan to use for multiple PR efforts. We have press releases, media alerts, bylines and prepared commentary lined up from all of the data, for the next three months. 

Email marketing connects the dots

Who says email is dead? In fact, it’s more effective than ever as a way to help brands amp their PR efforts. One best practice for email marketing is to push out a newsletter at the same time as a press release is published and news is posted on social channels. Even when there’s no announcement, PR pros should work to create newsletters with valuable content to share with subscribers. Quality and relevance will always get a positive response.