The PR Value of a Rapid Response
The media industry is fast-paced and journalists are hungry for expert commentary on a variety of topics. This is especially true when a breaking news development, like a data breach or a disruptive product announcement occurs. Companies have an enormous opportunity to provide thought leadership surrounding industry news in the form of a rapid response. It’s a way to offer best practices and industry perspectives to national business press, trade magazines, local newspapers and influential bloggers.
Often times, reporters look to industry experts to break down the situation or challenge at hand in layman’s terms so that readers/viewers can digest the news easily and have a better understanding of what’s happening in the industry.
But before you respond, have you thought about what resources you’re offering to the reporter?
Some say the early bird gets the worm, and in this case, it’s true. When breaking news occurs about a topic that impacts your bottom line, industry or product segment, you want to have the ability to quickly offer a media-ready expert before the competitors do.
Have a list of accessible spokespeople and their contact information readily available at your fingertips so that when you identify a potential rapid response opportunity, you can coordinate a brief phone interview or send an approved statement by email with lightning speed.
- Don’t just jump on the bandwagon; have a plan. It’s useful to have a list of magnetic themes prepared. These are topics that you feel comfortable discussing with the media and require little to no preparation in advance. This list will also help you avoid topics that may be too sensitive.
- Send an approved, canned statement to the media outlet via email if your expert is nowhere to be found the morning of major news. Have your spokesperson approve a 1-2 sentence quote in advance to have on hand so that you don’t have to miss out on an opportunity. For example, if your expert frequently discusses HIPAA compliance or network security, make sure to have a general statement with his or her perspective on the topic in your back pocket.
- If your expert isn’t available to comment within the next five minutes, don’t fret. You can offer the reporter recent survey results or data points that tie into the news at hand. Journalists love any report that can contribute further validation on the subject matter. When the coverage finally appears, the data findings will be attributed to your company.
Rapid response campaigns are a great way to establish credibility with your beat reporters. If you are able to connect a journalist, who is most likely on deadline, with a credible expert, quickly, then you will build strong rapport with the reporter. Because you offered a valuable resource in a short amount of time, the media outlet will most likely remember to use your expert for future, related news stories.
And as a result of your quick work, your company spokesperson will be included as the quoted expert which enhances the visibility and integrity of your overall brand, and increases your share of voice as an industry leader.
Not sure where to start when creating an effective rapid response campaign? Come find us at MSLGROUP.com and we’ll provide you with the right tools to get started.