So, no breaking of the Internet for you, huh?
Despite your latest round of rock star-worthy funding, best-seller-to-be, fancy new CEO title, or launch of the most innovative campaign or product upgrade since Apple Watch pre-orders sold out and Jeff Bezos announced Amazon Dash, you’re just not as newsworthy as you had hoped—or to put it in a more cultural perspective, you’re not clickable.
Let’s face it: Most of us aren’t clickable (not even if we were naked!), no matter how fascinating Mom and Dad claimed our every move was while growing up. They were biased. Reporters aren’t.
As the director of media relations for a PR firm, I’ve been there with many clients. And I lived to tell you there are definitely ways to effectively position yourself as newsworthy—enough to weigh in on the headlines that matter to you.You just need to exercise your zeitgeist “nowism” muscle.
I think of it as a cousin to newsjacking, the process of injecting your brand into the day’s news, without the reliance on breaking headlines. It’s more of a trendy now-spotting strategy that takes your expertise and molds it into stories journalists want to write or are already writing. I have found that hyper-customizing stories is what works. Example? I mean, gluten-free is a trend! So now everyone is on that bandwagon—what’s going to differentiate your gluten-free press worthiness?
Now-spotting is like trendspotting but takes place at the speed of Twitter and often happens inside a bigger trend. Achieving that highly desired “media darling” status, the one that gets key-press opportunities to come a client’s way, requires a two-part strategy:
1. Know who you are and what you can bring to the conversation.
2. Have a feel for the cultural climate and what ideas are about to have their 15 minutes—and get about 30 seconds ahead of that.
Here are a few tips and tools of for getting your now-spotting radar up to speed:
• Feedly is my personal version of Candy Crush because I thrive on new info. So I develop a customized group of disparate idea sources and keep them here.
• Hashtag searches; Reddit surfing; and Google, Facebook and Twitter trends can reveal what’s being said across the Interwebs. By the time they’re trending, though… 15 minutes is just about up.
• Having a sense of the timing of industry events, announcements and economic calendars are all ripe for the picking.
• Knowing what people will be focused on and when, based on seasons, is also gold that can be mined, i.e. the Olympics, Super Bowl, Oscars, TV/Netflix season premieres, holidays, Silicon Valley and Wall Street.
Assembling all of these pieces, along with the professional expertise, experience and knowledge of what works, can translate into media relations gold.
Here are two real world examples of now-spotting that delivered:
Game-changing breaking news meets retailing tech trends… and an expert who works across fashion, retail, finance, professional sports and more.
What happened: On March 31, Amazon announced Dash, and mainstream outlets instantly started posting articles. As soon as I learned about it, I communicated why my client, an entrepreneurial founding partner at a digital strategy agency, was an ideal expert guest to explain this push-button instant shopping technology.
Result: Because I knew what topics my client could credibly serve as an expert for when Amazon broke the announcement, I knew what high profile media outlets might be interested. The next day, a Bloomberg West TV segment on Amazon Dash aired—featuring a previously unknown-to-press expert.
I needed to figure out how to get my client, a marketing services CEO and co-author of a business book about the new mindful consumer trend, on national TV. And having a CEO title or a new book are not news on their own—press unlikely, TV impossible. Cue the more creative now-spotting.
What happened: In summer 2010, the premiere of the best-selling book-based movie Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts was exploding—and so were the marketing tie-ins, from travel tours to spa packages.
I had read Eat, Pray, Love and my client’s consumer trends book, so I had in-depth knowledge of the themes in both, and I saw a connection. So I created a segment idea positioning my client as an expert.
Result: Within six weeks of beginning work with my client, I secured a CNBC Power Lunch segment and it aired live.
Moral of the story? There’s nothing like being in the right place at the right time. So if you want to spot some relevant trends, just walk around with your eyes and ears wide open and think about how you intersect with what you’re seeing and hearing. Seriously, it’s that easy.