News Generation: How to secure national headlines in a changing media landscape
By Jasmin Hannington
The past few years has seen some of the most significant and rapid changes to the media landscape. The influx of new media platforms and evolution of existing ones has seen the way we digest media change and has meant PRs have had to evolve with the times.
What once felt like a ‘one size fits all’ media model, we now must access every demographic, society and class via a rapidly growing number of channels. Trying to keep up with the pace, we are constantly challenged to alter our story-telling.
Our creative thinking must be attractive to both broadcast, print and online publications. Stories that not only appeal to the old-timer that has manned the news desk phone for decades, but also the fresh out of university student who has just entered their career in journalism.
However, it isn’t just the media we have to think about – it’s the readership. Our story must be understood by the young, the old, the health conscious, the foodie – to whomsoever our client needs to reach. It is essential that we must master all media.
We are fighting harder than ever for column inches. Newspapers are increasingly getting smaller due to the downturn in newspaper advertising – resulting in fewer stories making the grade. However, I am a firm believer that if news generation is done properly and executed well, it still works – and works well.
However, sending something out and hoping for the best isn’t going to cut it. If I had a fiver for every story I have seen over the years that has been designed just to secure coverage for coverage sake. No relevance to the brand or the campaigns reason to believe.
Here are some examples of how Wild Card and Wild West have ensured our clients are at the heart of the story:
News generation doesn’t have to be a standalone activation. It can act as a solid foundation and golden thread to any campaign. This was the case for our client, the New York Bakery Co.
Breakfast is a key usage occasion and opportunity for the bagel brand. Yet, the consumer insight showed that breakfast is allocated the shortest thinking time out of any meal. We took a fun look at breakfast and proved that the nation isn’t giving it the time or effort it deserves. The results showed that we’re spending too much time thinking about our to-do lists and not enough time on the things that really matter – a great hook for our target media.
We packaged this together with humorous vox-pop collateral, asking brits what they think of first thing in the morning. The team secured 139 piece of coverage, with live tweeting and retweeting the day the story broke. Resulting in unprecedented key messaging, the story was picked up by the likes of the Daily Mirror, The Sun and the Independent to name a few.
The news story set the scene. Now we had to deliver the solution.
We invited the nation to join us for the New York Bakery Co.’s ‘Bagel Breakfast Break’ over the May bank holiday weekend. Inspired and rooted in Edna’s bagel shop – the fiery New Yorker at the heart of the brands TVC – the direct-to-consumer event positioned the brand as the motivator and facilitator of carving out time to break from the norm and enjoy breakfast.
In addition to the two days open to the public, we hosted an exclusive media preview, with over 90 media attendees, including Stylist, Shortlist, Daily Mail and Vogue. This drove social buzz, excitement and ultimately coverage in key titles such as the Evening Standard, The Sun, Metro and the Independent. To ensure we still engaged with key journalists that were unable to make it down to the event, we hand delivered over 300 bagels to over 150 media around London, aiding in achieving over 50+ social posts.
By Hannah Amos
News generation can be a great tool for brands that fall outside of the traditional media categories – food, sport, travel, health – and gives them a place to voice issues affecting their category or wider consumer affairs in relation to their customer base.
At Wild West, the team work with Devon-based natural dog food producers, Forthglade. There are very few pet pages in the national consumer press, so we need to think creatively and laterally when it comes to achieving media coverage… and research and news generation can tick both these boxes.
The most recent campaign supported the launch of the brand’s new Puppy Packs, designed to help prospective puppy parents prepare for being responsible dog owners… much like you would prepare for the arrival of a baby. Wild West flipped this concept on its head and commissioned research to look at how many people didn’t prepare before they got a puppy. And tah-dah! A killer insight, showing that Britain was in the grips of a puppy dumping epidemic, with one in ten puppies requiring re-homing within just one month of pet ownership.
Team that with a celebrity vet, and you’ve got yourself a campaign that achieves widespread national print and broadcast coverage in the likes of Daily Express, Metro, Daily Mirror, The Sun, The Notebook, Sky News Radio and London Live… to name a few.
News desks are under huge pressure to make sure that every story counts. We need to make the job as easy as possible, by mastering the craft and finding the sweet spot in between what works for media and what will deliver success for the client.