News desks around the world are operating with ever-thinning staff numbers, and an ever-increasing pressure to churn out fast and accurate news stories. In an era of 24-hour news, journalists need to react to breaking stories within minutes.
This window of opportunity between the breaking of a news story and publication – usually the next day for print media – provides the perfect opportunity for canny corporate communicators to become the story, airing their expert views on the issue through the media and thereby enhancing their reputations.
For success in this area, speed is essential. Today’s time-poor journalists have deadlines to meet and space to fill. If a business can beat competitors in providing timely comments, inevitably the chance of inclusion in a story increases.
For example, companies able to comment knowledgeably on the VW emissions scandal, implications of the UK Autumn Spending Review and the Heathrow expansion decision have all been in recent demand.
Naturally, the quality of material provided to a journalist is also vital. The journalist will be looking for expert views on the implications of the reported events, or, if a story is long-running, for other ways of adding a dimension to the news. Data is especially welcome, as is a point of view.
The opportunity for the corporate communicator is to provide insightful comments that come from a credible (i.e. senior) spokesperson, are fit to be cut and pasted into an article and contribute building blocks for an informative follow-up story.