What do you do when your client doesn’t have any news? It’s inevitable. Products get delayed, funding rounds fall through or everyone is busy with something else and your client just doesn’t have anything to announce. And when you run a small, tight account (like most of ours here at Voxus) you’d better figure out a way to do something productive with your remaining budget.
The good news is that you probably have more story ideas than you realize – you’re just not looking in the right places for them.
Does your client have any interesting customers who’d be willing to talk to the press? If they’re using your client’s products in an innovative way, you may be able to build a pitch around it. One Voxus client has a customer that uses its IT/networking products to maintain WiFi networks for communication devices in hospitals, where lag time could impact patient treatment and even their lives in emergency situations. That’s a great story, especially given all of the attention being paid to hospitals and healthcare IT since several high-profile hacking attempts.
Does your client have any interesting employees or students? Voxus works with a coding school and we’ve been very successful at pitching stories about graduates and the apps they’ve built or companies they’ve founded. Another technology client has a female CTO who moved to America from Pakistan – a great story that would be interesting to members of the press concerned with diversity in technology.
Comment on the news
Find out the topics that your client is an expert in and scan the news each morning to see if there are any breaking stories in those areas where you can offer him or her as an expert. This is less about promoting your client and more about building relationships with reporters. You may want to consider getting a quote first and sending it to press along with info about your expert and an offer to answer more questions – this makes a reporter’s life easier. Remember to include local broadcast outlets in your outreach – they’ll often want a local expert’s perceptions on a national issue.
Everyone loves data. Even if it’s not worth a story on its own, press can often use interesting or unique data points in larger stories. These pitches can have a long shelf life if the data stays relevant for new stories. If you have the time and resources for a larger campaign, think about running your own customer survey or hiring a firm to do one for you. Even if you’re working with limited resources, it’s worth checking with your client to see if they record any interesting data. One Voxus client had a website monitoring service capturing data from healthcare.gov for the first week after Obamacare went live – that’s a great story hook!
So don’t be afraid when your client says that product launch has been moved back – it’s a chance to get creative and find stories in unexpected places.