Responding to breaking news is the easiest way to get your organization exposure in the media. The story is going to be discussed in the media, so it is really is about how your organization or leader can quickly jump into the conversation. Timing matters, so there is little opportunity for a committee to meet or to have an organizational discussion on the message.
The media often references Twitter trends to identify those who can speak on a topic and have a following. When news breaks, it is important to come out strong with a Twitter message, and to direct messages to journalists.
Editors, talk-show bookers or producers often have the names of subject-area experts who they call on. If your organization is not on a call list, break into the news cycle by letting them know that you are talking about the issue and are available through an email, text or direct message on social media.
There is often has a different format in each country. However, it can be as simple as:
Available for Interviews on (name the breaking event)
Credential (leader, organization, or other relevant information)
Contact: Phone, Email, Skype, social media
(Name) is available for interviews or comments on the (event name) today. Include a quote here from the message and what this news event means for your organization, community or impacted group.
The biggest challenge of getting into the news cycle is timing. There is often an advance warning of the event. In this case, a leader’s availability can be sent out in advance, with a statement to media, such as “We will be providing interviews and speakers on the court decision this week.”
When you are uncertain about the outcome of an event, it is possible to write messages for all possible outcomes, so the organization or government office is ready.
Consider upcoming news events, by creating messages in advance:
- Court case decisions
- Government announcements
- Introduction of governmental legislation or votes
- Government budget battles
- Election comments or debates on your issue
- Government reports or major studies
Some events are difficult to anticipate. However, standard language can be prepared for:
- Crimes that affect your issues
- Controversial comments by political or government leaders that require a response
- Announcements by major businesses, celebrities or cultural leaders that impact your issue
Organization and message preparation will ensure that your leader is ready for the breaking news, when it happens.