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22 Nov 2016

Autumn Statement: Top tips to achieve media cut-through

Posted on November 22, 2016 by

By English: Glenn Fawcett [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By English: Glenn Fawcett [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For those who work in professional services and B2B comms, the Autumn Statement and March Budget always involve a bit of a bun-fight when it comes to gaining coverage in news and trade titles, and the mad scramble to turn around post-speech opinion or reaction.

Journalists and editors are overloaded with pitches and press releases, with a hugely disproportionate ratio between the media opportunities available and the number of experts vying to get their comments heard.

But, despite the limited opportunities, it is still possible to get media coverage.

As Philip Hammond prepares to give his first Autumn Statement as Chancellor, we’ve put together some tips for SMEs to help them get that cut-through.

 

  1. Be prepared

There is now almost as much coverage in the run up to the Chancellor’s statements as there is post-event. Identify your target media outlets and the journalists who will be covering it and have a conversation well beforehand to understand what they are planning, what opportunities might exist for you and what deadlines they are working to. By having early conversations, not only will you build a better relationship with your contacts, it will also ensure you provide them with relevant content, which might be the difference between securing space and missing out.

 

  1. Get to the point

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given was ahead of my first Budget as a keen account exec planning for my client – an accountancy firm. Five words have stayed with me: “Don’t be a busy fool”. There is no point spending hours crafting a press release containing your reaction and thoughts. You need to be short, sharp and to the point, with a clear and strong opinion – and in less than 100 words.

 

  1. Put a package together

Don’t try and go it alone.  If you can offer a journalist an expert package with three or four spokespeople from companies that complement your own offering you can give the journalist a rounded reaction piece – saving them the time and leg-work of putting something together themselves. Like everyone else, journalists are time and resource poor, so the easier you can make their job, the better.

 

  1. Think outside the box

Don’t lose sight of who you are actually trying to reach, and why. While it may be nice to get a quote from the CEO included in a news piece, it’s more important to talk directly to your target audience. Think about where they are. We are operating in a world of self-publishing platforms – don’t forget these offer you a direct line of communication with an audience who want to engage with you and hear what you have to say. A specific industry reaction or targeted comment on LinkedIn may be more influential than a generic quote in a regional news outlet.

 

  1. Pictures speak a thousand words

Budgets and Autumn Statements are full of facts and figures, making the information hard to distil. The easier you can make it for the journalist and the audience by providing a visual response, the more likely you are to get cut-through. Infographics are still a great way to convey dry information in an engaging and meaningful way. Even if you don’t have the resource in-house to do this, there are some good websites, like Pictochart, for creating graphics specifically for use on social media channels or online.

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