Hitching a Ride on Current Events by Paul J. Krupin
Current events do present opportunities for media coverage. To see whether you can get involved requires you to analyze what you have and quickly identify what you can bring to table that media needs. Obviously you do not want to be scene as an ambulance chaser. But there are ways to get out in front of news, regardless of what happens.
If you think about what media does in response to an event, they go through several stages of activity. Break these stages down and identify specifically what these activities involve.
On any event of note media needs:
- relevant facts and explanation to provide insights into what this event means to watching public
- expert commentary with an ability to assess and relate history and past to present and future
- analysis of impacts and consequences
- opinion on what individuals, organizations and cognizant governments should or shouldn't do
- evaluation of developing trends and consequences
- prevention, protection, remeditation or financial protection ideas and strategies and remedies for people involved directly or next touched and support network for both.
If you can clearly identify and then flesh out your ideas and credentials, you can send a fax or email and draw attention to yourself and offer to provide information to media for their use.
The real key is to not look backward but look forward. The actual news releases you write do need to contain some key information. Successful event follow-up news releases:
1. Have a short and to point headline
2. they clearly state what, when, where, why, and how ideas benefit targeted impacted group of people
3. it also clearly states why information is of interest to media audience.
4. Provide a quick, solid, easy to use statement of facts, issues, analysis points, conclusions, questions and answers, talking points, or whatever it is you have to offer.
5. Presents your credentials quickly, which qualify you as an expert worth trusting.
6. Provides clear contact information (name, phone and email) that allows for quick booking of interview.
7. Offers media more free additional information quickly (review copies, white papers, pdf files, etc by web site, e-mail, fax, overnight).
You should send out your news release as soon as you can after event occurs because clock is running once event starts.
One key guerrilla tactic, once an event occurs, is to create a likely timeline whereby you predict what will happen over time, and identify key events and opportunites for your timely intervention. Then you pitch and let media know what's going to happen.
For Sunday tsunami and tidal wave situation, an expert in waterbourne diseases would be able to get out in front of media needing this expertise simply because it can be calculated when threat of disease will happen and when media will need help. The need arises two to three days after event. What's next? What else will media need by Friday? Sunday? Day 12 through 15?
The timeline allows you to factor in lead time appropriate for type of media you want to focus on.