So, no breaking of the Internet for you, huh?
Despite their latest round of rockstar-worthy funding, bestseller-to-be, a sporty new CEO title, or release of the most innovative campaign or product upgrade since...well, since Apple Watch pre-orders sold out and Jeff Bezos announced Amazon Dash...they’re just not as newsworthy as you (or they) had hoped. Or to put it in a more culturally meaningful perspective, they’re not ‘clickable.’
Let’s face it, most of us aren’t ‘clickable’ (not even if we were naked!) no matter how fascinating Mom and Dad claimed our every move was while growing up. They were biased. Reporters aren’t.
Truth is, I’ve been there (with many clients). So I’ve done that. A lot. And lived to tell you there are definitely ways to effectively position any client as newsworthy enough to weigh in on the headlines that matter to them. Selfish book ‘authors’ and their fame game Internet breaking addictions aside, you just need to exercise your zeitgeist ‘nowism’ muscle.
I think of it as a cousin to newsjacking, without the reliance on breaking headline news every time. It’s more of a trendy now-spotting strategy that takes a client’s expertise and molds it into stories journalists want to write or are already writing. I have found that hyper-customizing clients’ stories is quite effective. I mean, gluten-free is a trend! Well now everyone is on that bandwagon so what’s going to differentiate this gluten-free client’s press worthiness...now, not next quarter?
Now-spotting, is like trendspotting, but takes place at about the speed of Twitter culture and often happens inside a bigger trend. Achieving that highly desired ‘media darling’ status that gets key-press opportunities to come a client’s way requires a two-part strategy:
Know who the client is and what fresh angles they bring to the conversation.
Second, have a feel for the cultural climate and what ideas are about to have their 15 minutes and get about 30 seconds ahead of that.
Here are a few tips and tools of for getting your now-spotting radar up to speed:
Feedly: This is my personal version of Candy Crush because I thrive on new info. So I develop a customized group of disparate idea sources and keep them here.
Hashtag searches, Reddit surfing, and Google, Facebook, Twitter trends can reveal what’s being said across the Interwebs. By the time they’re trending, though...15 minutes is just about up.
Having a sense of the timing of industry events, announcements, and economic calendars are all ripe for the picking.
Knowing what people will be focused on and when based on seasons is also gold that can be mined i.e. the Olympics, Super Bowl, Oscars, TV/Netflix season premieres, holidays, Silicon Valley and Wall Street.
Assembling all of these pieces together along with the professional expertise, experience and knowledge of what works, can translate into media relations gold.
In fact, I thought it best to share 2 real world examples of Now-spotting that deliver.
Retail Game-Changer: Amazon Dash TV Segment on ‘Bloomberg West’
This is where game-changing breaking news met retailing tech trends...and an entrepreneurial founding partner at a digital strategy agency client who works across fashion, retail, finance, professional sports, and more, I knew had this expert insight in spades from a fresh angle.
What happened: On March 31st, Amazon announced Dash and mainstream outlets began posting articles. As soon as I learned about it, I was immediately able to communicate why this client was an ideal expert guest for an online retailer’s push-button instant shopping technology.
Result: Because I knew what topics the client could credibly serve as an expert for when the headline-making announcement broke from Amazon, I knew what high profile media outlets might be interested. The next day, a Bloomberg West TV segment on the Amazon Dash aired featuring this previously unknown-to-press client.
Consumer Mindset: Eat Pray Love Shop Segment on CNBC ‘Power Lunch’
This was a situation where I needed to figure out how to get my client, a marketing services agency CEO and co-author of a 2nd business book, this one on the new mindful consumer trend, on national TV as a goal of the account objectives.
Being a CEO with talking points or a new book are basically not news on their own - I gave that a shot. In fact, many of my professional colleagues took one look at that situation and thought of the most obvious news angle: Book/Author PR. Press unlikely, TV impossible. That’s where the creative now-spotting has to step in.
What happened: In the summer of 2010, the adult marketing tie-ins for the premiere of the best-selling book-based Eat Pray Love movie starring Julia Roberts were exploding. From travel tours to spa packages, the marketing was unprecedented outside of children’s movie marketing tie-ins.
I had read Eat Pray Love and my client’s consumer trends book, so I had in-depth knowledge of the themes in both. Based on this, I was able to see the connection. So I created a segment idea positioning my client as an expert in this marketing trend story.
Result: Within 3-6 weeks of beginning work with my client, I secured the Eat Pray Love Shop CNBC Power Lunch segment and it aired live. National TV? Check. Let’s do that again!
In conclusion, there's nothing like being in the right place at the right time. So if you do want to spot some relevant trends yourself, it's quite simple. Just walk around with your eyes and ears wide open and think about how you and your business intersect with what you’re seeing and hearing. Seriously. It's that easy.
- Tracey Boudine, Director of Media Relations, WISE Public Relations