Turning the negative news agenda positive

News jacking and rapid response in technical PR
Mmm... A cup of tea and the paper
It’s a weekend ritual of mine to leave the television on whilst I get ready to leave the house. I used to do this simply for the comfort of background noise but just recently I’ve been forced to pay more attention. In the few hours it took me to get ready, (yes, I said hours, I am female) I heard three different news bulletins. It won’t come as a surprise when I tell you that I felt considerably less enthusiastic about my day after having listened to all three. 

By Ashleigh McLeod

I heard negative news stories about bankers, politicians, illnesses and at one point, a disease that will kill my dog if I take her for a walk. National news is driven by an overpowering negative agenda. Of course, I don’t believe that it shouldn't exist – informing, warning and educating, in my eyes, is ok.

But where does that leave us in terms of PR? Here are my top tips for making the most of negativity:

1. News-jacking
If the news topic that’s negative is directly linked to the industry you work in, it may not be as difficult as you think. Companies can use this opportunity to be portrayed as a thought leader. For example, just lately, we’ve heard from Government about the engineering skills gap. There are such a small number of young people who aspire to work in engineering at present that the UK’s economy is really suffering.

If you’re an engineering company this is bad news, right? Wrong. There’s nothing more newsworthy than speaking out about on something already in the limelight. Take this opportunity to express your opinion on the topic, what you think the Government should do and most importantly, what YOU are doing to help resolve the situation. This is exactly what we did for our client, Harmonic Drive, on the subject of the engineering skills gap, and so far we’ve generated print 13 clippings in local and trade media.

2. ‘And finally…’
The words we long to hear from the news reporter on the TV - ‘And finally…’ If you hadn’t already noticed, at the end of every news-based TV programme there’s always a slot for a positive story. It’s not all blood, sweat and tears fortunately. ITV’s News At 10 is a particularly good outlet to target.

3. Use positivity as your angle
Believe it or not, journalists can get just as sick of hearing the depressing stuff just as much as us. Try using phrases such as, ‘here’s something to brighten your day’ or ‘with all the negative news at the moment, I thought you might want to hear something positive’. But remember, to engage your audience, you must first engage the journalist. In other words, don’t tell the journalist it’s positive if really it’s not anything to shout about.

Of course, PR is a very time consuming and specialist tactic, so for those of you who just don’t have the time, why not call in the experts?

"Image courtesy of Apolonia / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

No comments: