How to Get Media Attention When You Don’t Have Hard News

A brand or business existing is not news. Harsh? Maybe. True? Definitely. We’ve got some tips on how to make news rather than waiting for it to happen.


We may not be as special and unique as our parents led us to believe. As harsh as it may sound, merely existing is not enough to warrant a gold star. This doesn’t mean you can’t do things to get on people’s radar and set yourself apart, and the same is true of your brand or business.

When you’re the face and name attached to something, it’s likely that you’re living and breathing what you do. It’s all that’s on your mind, how you spend all your time – the business is your baby! In keeping with the ‘Well my mom said I’m the best!’ theme, it makes sense that you may feel as though what you’re doing is the greatest thing since sliced bread and warrants all kinds of attention. This may very well be true, but the media (sadly) doesn’t care about you – you existing is not news. Clients often come to us wanting to get coverage for their business, and while they don’t necessarily have any hard news to help bust into the headlines with, there are a few tips we have on making news:

Thought Leadership

Given that you spend so much time thinking about your industry, it’s very likely you’re an expert on the topic, whether it’s consumer loyalty programs, cryptocurrency, or HR for startups. This provides a great opportunity for you to use your expertise to write a thought leadership piece to be pitched out to media. Not only can you cut out your byline and put it on your fridge, but you’ll be able prove you’re a pro and get your business some attention at the same time. Take our client Derrick Fung from Drop for example. When Air Canada announced its breakup with Aeroplan, Derrick took the opportunity to write about consumer-loyalty programs (like his!) while also commenting on the news. Every media outlet was looking for someone to comment on the news, and Derrick was able to do interviews with the Canadian Press and CTV News Channel about his take on the announcement. This also worked for the team from HR platform Collage. We helped them draft an article for the Financial Post about when to ask about compensation during the interview process after this SkiptheDishes controversy. The key is to pay attention to breaking news or issues in your industry, and find a way to inject yourself into the conversation.

Data

Journalists eat up impressive numbers just like the rest of us. You might have stats baked into your business – for example our client Flixel had great statistics on how much more people engaged with cinemagraphs vs. static photos. Don’t have any stats that relate to your business? Go out and get them! By taking the time to commission a thoughtful survey, you’ll be able to get data that actually matters to people and that journalists will want to talk about. Our client NEXT Canada did just this for Canada 150 – check out the stats they collected for their What’s Now, What’s NEXT campaign, which asked founders and entrepreneurs to share what they thought the future of their industry would look like, and then surveyed Canadians on how likely they thought these predictions were to come true. The survey resulted in coverage in publications including Huffington Post, BetaKit, and Global News. Numbers talk, so find a way to use data to your advantage in your media outreach.

Stunts + Events

In the world of marketing and PR, it’s no secret that a unique event or cool experience – a stunt – will get you coverage. If it’s done right, that is! People LOVE a good pop-up and get excited about new, interesting things they can participate in. Take advantage of this, find an angle that makes sense for your business, and have fun with it! We have some clients that are always up for trying new things – recently foodora teamed up with Burger’s Priest to offer a very Canadian (can you say maple bacon?) limited-time burger offering. To announce this new and fleeting menu item, foodora set up an activation in which you had to provide a password at a window to receive a free burger. The appeal of a delicious new burger, the intrigue of an elusive secret window, as well as the fact that what they were offering was free was enough to get them some meaningful buzz.

Partnerships

You’ve heard the phrase ‘strength comes in numbers’? Well, they’re not wrong. Another way to get more mentions and give your message some extra clout that would pique a journalist’s interest is to partner up. The partnership itself may be news, especially if you’re partnering with a large company, but you can also use that collaboration to strengthen an activation or campaign you’re trying to push out to media – and often leverage your partner’s PR team to help push it out to their journalist contacts. This worked wonders for foodora when they strategically partnered with Durex for their spicy Valentine’s campaign.

 

While it may be a harsh realization that not everyone, media included, cares as much about your business as you do, it doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. There are lots of creative ways to amplify your message and get coverage. Just think about what actually makes sense and go for it! Need help coming up with ideas? Get in touch to book an office hours spot with us, or to chat about how we can help with a larger PR campaign.