I’ve heard the anecdote that government is the source of 75 percent of the news we consume. While this includes the crime reports you see on your local news, we see a lot of news emerge from politics, foreign affairs, statistics and studies, all of which are generated here in DC.
As a PR firm with strong public sector roots, we certainly can’t complain about the newsworthiness of government and DC, but it can make it difficult to gain the attention of media even with a strong pitch. You never know when the next government whistleblower or political scandal will emerge. As such, we’ve got some experience in getting our clients to stand out in a competitive media environment.
- Eliminate the Known – You obviously can’t predict every bit of breaking news, but you can prepare for some. What is Congress up to? Are there any regularly scheduled reports set to come out? What’s on the President’s calendar? If you’re looking to make a big announcement or pitch and have some time to plan, try to answer some of these questions and others that may be specific to your industry and plan around any foreseeable conflicts.
- Try Something (or Someone) New – If you find yourself working against the hottest government news and not cutting through the clutter, it might be time for a “Plan B.” Depending on the news, it may be better to target trade publications and reporters rather than top tier outlets or government contacts. Or if you’re set on top tier, maybe there are alternate contacts that aren’t being swept up in the wave. Look at various verticals within your industry to try to identify these other targets.
- If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em – The old adage may be cheesy, but it is true. You can’t control what happens and what outlets will be interested in. But that doesn’t have to mean that you’re completely left out. One of our practices – whether we are competing for the news that day or not – is to analyze every breaking national news story for potential opportunities for our clients. Not every opportunity is right, but it is worth taking some time to think about whether you have something valuable to add. Because, if you do, the results could be extraordinary.
There is a constant stream of news coming out of DC, making it all the more difficult to get your voice heard. However, with some preparation and flexibility it is possible to become part of the government media machine. And move the needle for your public sector brand.