Rise Above The Noise: Three Proven Strategies for Breaking Into The News Cycle
By actively participating in timely news narratives, your business has the opportunity to address topical issues, showcase your expertise, and establish a distinct and reputable voice that will resonate with your target audience.
However, breaking into the news cycle is not an easy task. You’ll have to vie with competing sources, navigate resource constraints, and weigh ethical considerations. The news cycle is like a bustling metropolis with countless competing voices. To stand out, you need a well-crafted plan and a bold voice that cuts through the noise.
So, what’s the key to breaking into the news cycle? There are three proven strategies:
Prepare in Advance
To increase your chances of breaking into the news cycle effectively, it is essential to plan ahead. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Predict significant news cycles: Study repeat patterns and trends in your industry to anticipate potential news events. For instance, a comms team in the security industry may identify national hacks as an upcoming news item based on historic patterns. This predictive approach will give you a head start in planning your media strategy.
- Develop pre-approved commentary: Create pre-approved statements or commentary based on anticipated breaking news categories. Having this in place enables faster response times and ensures your messaging aligns with your brand values.
- Prepare B-roll footage: Identify likely scenarios that could drive broadcast coverage based on your industry. These scenarios will need to be tied to hard news and have a strong visual component. Gather B-roll footage of activities or processes that are related to breaking news in your industry. For example, if you’re in the manufacturing industry, you can capture footage of production lines, workers or machinery in action. Being prepared with visual assets can significantly increase your chances of getting media attention.
- Hold mock sessions: Conduct mock sessions with your executive team or spokespeople to prepare them for potential live interactions with reporters. Focus on how to deliver key messages quickly and effectively. Avoid self-promotion at all costs. It will turn reporters off from re-engaging when relevant breaking news hits. You will also want to prepare executives on how to use bridging and flagging techniques to maintain control over the interview.
- Prepare tough questions: Anticipate challenging questions that reporters may ask and prepare your spokespeople to respond confidently and accurately. This proactive approach will help to build trust and credibility with journalists.
One example of how preparation paid off is the case of securing timely press coverage for Brevo ahead of Valentine’s Day. Prior to Valentine’s Day, the KC team pre-pitched a story to TODAY offering expert insight from the CEO of Brevo on how small businesses are reimagining Valentine’s Day during the pandemic.
Provide Real Value
To break into the news cycle effectively, it is crucial to provide real value to reporters and their readers. This means understanding and prioritizing what journalists might need from your company, rather than just focusing on what your company needs from journalists. Here are some strategies to consider:
- Reach reporters at the right time: Understand the current phase of the news cycle and identify the best opportunities to connect with reporters. There are three main phases to consider:
- First wave: This occurs when a major event takes place. Journalists are racing against the clock to gather facts and publish reports. Providing essential facts and preliminary insights during this phase can position your company as a credible source.
- Second wave: As new developments emerge, stories take on a new shape. Journalists dive deeper into the topic, seeking insights from subject matter experts and exploring the larger implications of the news. Offering unique perspectives and expert commentary during this phase can help push the story forward.
- Third wave: This phase involves reflection on the news, in-depth analysis, and evaluating the widespread impact. Different types of news outlets, such as The Atlantic, ride this wave by focusing on in-depth reporting. This phase presents opportunities for bylines that offer thoughtful perspectives that go against the grain.
- Tips for reaching reporters: Meet reporters where they are. Use various communication channels such as Signal, email, or phone calls to connect with reporters. Remember to always be respectful of a reporter’s communication preferences. If they say don’t call them or don’t pitch them on X, don’t do it.
- Ensure executive qualification: Make sure your executive or spokesperson is qualified to speak on the topic at hand. When pitching reporters, highlight their background, current job focus, and strong connection to the issue. Reporters are interested in speaking with business leaders who can provide clarity and unique insights.
- Strengthen your offer: Provide multiple sources and resources to reporters, showcasing your network of experts who can offer unique perspectives. Tap into internal data or research to support your executive’s perspective.
- Be flexible and accessible: Be adaptable to journalists’ needs. Offer the option to draft and share commentary or connect them directly with your executive. Giving journalists access to key sources eliminates unnecessary back and forth.
One example of how providing value paid off is a Fortune byline the KC team secured for the CEO of Subtext. Immediately following news of a Facebook outage, the KC team offered the Fortune commentary editor a byline from Mike offering a unique perspective on the news. This byline fell within the second wave of the breaking news cycle and offered a new narrative that tied back to Mike’s business expertise.
Think like a Journalist
Understanding the motivations and needs of journalists is vital when trying to break into the news cycle.
Ask yourself the following questions before approaching a journalist:
- Why does it matter? Clarify why the perspective your offering is relevant for the journalist and the journalist’s audience.
- Can you provide the right expertise? Explain why the spokesperson your offering has the right qualifications and can offer something of interest to the reporter and their audience. Journalists look for sources that can provide unique and compelling insights.
- Is the timing right? Timing is crucial. If you’re approaching reporters long after the news has gone live they have likely moved on to cover a new story.
- Is your spokesperson accessible? Make it easy for journalists to reach the spokesperson. If the spokesperson isn’t willing to jump on the phone at a moment’s notice, you may want to reconsider your offer. Journalists need to move quickly and may only have a few minutes for a quick phone call.
Adopting a journalist’s mindset and considering these questions will help you better prepare for the next news cycle.
These strategies will help you optimize your approach to breaking into the news cycle and enhance your chances of capturing media attention. Remember to stay on top of the news cycle by monitoring relevant news platforms, TV stations, and going directly to trusted sources like official press pages to respond to developments promptly. Finally, avoid being overly promotional as journalists seek sources that can provide genuine insights rather than shameless plugs for products or services.
By mastering the art of breaking into the news cycle, you can establish your brand as a credible and influential voice in your industry. It can also open the door for future opportunities where reporters come back to you for commentary time and time again.
Remember, success in breaking into the news cycle is a continuous process of staying informed, adapting, and building relationships with journalists. By thinking like a journalist and providing value, you can become a trusted source and gain a competitive edge in the media landscape.
If your company wants to learn how KC can elevate your media presence, please contact email@example.com.