Maintaining a Media Presence in a Challenging News Cycle

Aug 26, 2020News

Traditional media strategies? Not this year. 

Carefully crafted media outreach programs for coverage, events, and launches fell by the wayside as many plans were sidelined, postponed, or cancelled altogether.

As the perfect storm of political, cultural, and health-related events continues to dominate the news, there’s little or no room for segments or stories related to your business. 

The primary shift to online communication has inundated audiences with content, making it even more difficult to stand out.

This content deluge has increased demand for entertaining, visually appealing bite-size content (hence the surge in popularity of platforms like Tik Tok). 

While it’s certainly a challenge to harness the media and connect with your audience right now, it’s not impossible. And maintaining media connectivity is essential for building and sustaining a positive, recognizable brand identity. 

Reaching the media in this unusual moment takes patience and creativity, but there are ways to break through and promote your company. Below are a few guidelines (and some client success stories): 


Be Patient

Chances are your PR plan for 2020 hasn’t gone according to schedule—but that doesn’t mean you have to scrap your plans entirely. Stay patient and wait for a break in the news cycle to promote your business or cause.

Case Study: Gastroenterology Practice

A PR-savvy gastroenterologist wanted to tie his media efforts into colonoscopy awareness month, which happens in March. This March, however, news channels were focused almost exclusively on COVID-19. Many medical facilities were shut down for all non-emergency activities. It clearly wasn’t the right time to highlight the importance of getting a regular colonoscopy, especially when there were more pressing global concerns.

Several months later, however, we’re in a new phase of re-opening. As coronavirus cases decline in Massachusetts, people are able to think more proactively about their health. We capitalized on that opportunity with a TV pitch about the rising colon cancer rates among young people. By being patient and staying connected to the news cycle, we found the right moment to promote the client’s important work. 


Get Creative

With so many industries in a state of flux, expect some hiccups in your outreach efforts. Leverage your creative thinking to discover new angles or interested media partners. If your usual contacts or media outlets aren’t options, who else might be interested in the type of story you want to tell?

I’ve got a client who was all set to have a story run (the publication was getting ready to send over a photographer) when they cancelled last minute. It turned out that the reporter covering the story had been laid off—an unfortunate situation for everyone involved. Without a dedicated reporter, we brainstormed different ways to get the story out, like co-writing with the publication or hiring a ghostwriter. When your media strategy runs into challenges, tap into creative problem-solving to keep moving forward.


Promote the Positive

News can feel overwhelming these days; unsurprisingly, many people are thirsting for some good news. The best way for your business to stand out in a positive way is to be positive.

Case Study: Man of the Year

A third client was supposed to be the guest of honor at a “Man of the Year” ceremony—until COVID hit and the event was cancelled. While disappointing on many levels, we focused on the positive, and wrote a press release about the scholarships that were still being awarded even though the event was postponed. He said, “The pandemic may have postponed our celebration, but not our purpose.” The story, that ran in one of the client’s trade publications and was highlighted on his company website, was a timely reminder of the institution’s philanthropic mission at a time when “promoting the positive” is sorely needed. 

With the right strategy, media coverage is possible. When you run into obstacles, being patient, getting creative, and promoting the positive can help your business gain earned media traction. 

Interested in keeping your business connected to the media? Contact me to set up a free consultation.