Reactive PR: How Preparing for the Journey Will Help You Reach Your Destination

If you’re heading off on holiday this summer, you’ve likely followed all the necessary steps to ensure it will be one to remember, such as researching and booking the best place to stay, the best modes of transport and things to do while you’re there.

But while you might have made a plan, nothing beats some spontaneity – after all, it’s these spur-of-the-moment decisions that can make your break from reality even better than expected.

Does that sound like something you can relate to as a PR professional?

While it might be hard to compare the daily grind to planning a dream vacation, it’s time we discussed how we can bolster some of that super organised yet relaxed holiday planning energy into our PR planning, and reactive PR in particular.

Think of your month-to-month PR plan, such as scheduling content for your client, as your holiday plan. This contains the things you’ve booked but can’t afford to take risks on, such as press releases or key topics your client wants to cover. Then, think of reactive PR as the spontaneous moments of your trip that are good at filling the downtime, come about randomly and enrich your campaign.

You’ll probably agree that being spontaneous all the time can be exhausting, especially if you’ve already got a jam-packed schedule. To sustain a reactive element within our client campaigns, we need to start preparing for it and being familiar with what’s coming up that we can react to.

You might find that preparing for the reactive journey will make reaching the destination even more worthwhile.

Doing Your Research

Before booking your holiday, you might like to familiarise yourself with hotel reviews, check social media and look at events happening in your area. This can help you decide on where you go, when you go and what you do while you’re there.

As a PR professional, it’s a good idea to be aware of the general news flow, check for planned awareness days or review trending topics that your experts can jump on in advance. This helps you prepare for the potential pieces of content your team can produce.

But while you might use tools such as TripAdvisor, Google Reviews or local guides to find out more about where you’re planning on going, there are ways you can utilise online tools to discover what topics are trending in the news.

Look to social media sites like Twitter, Instagram or TikTok to see what people are talking about. This helps you keep up to date with the latest headlines and provides an opportunity to look at what your competitors are doing.

Just as finding things to do on your trip is a good idea, getting to grips with the kind of content journalists are looking for sets you up for a successful month. While jumping on these might mean diverging from your original plan, you’re much more likely to position your client’s expert opinion right where it needs to be.

While the nature of reactive PR is not to be planned down to the final detail, being aware of what’s going on in your client’s sector means you can react quickly to relevant stories as and when they come up.

Getting There

We’re all booked, we know where we’re going and the best things to do while we’re there. But it’s as much about the journey as it is the destination.

With reactive PR the goal is to get the content out there as quickly as possible. For a smooth ride, we need to have all the components in place, such as knowledge of the client’s sector, their target audience and an idea of which publications and journalists are most likely to publish your content. Our media lists are what pull this all together.

As reactive PR often means improvising new content, this may mean your existing media lists don’t quite cut it. Be sure to review them before blindly sending out content. Check the relevancy of your contacts and search for new journalists that have been writing about similar topics, using research tools to make sure it’s getting to the right place at the right time for maximum coverage.

Remember that how you pitch your idea to journalists is just as important as who you send it to. Rather than sending a blanket email, consider how you can tailor your pitch to suit different outlets or journalists. A personal, targeted approach is much more likely to be well received, and even if they don’t use it, your extra efforts can help you gain respect and future work.

Just as having a bad flight can cause you to leave a bad review or not use an airline again, your outreach efforts could sour the effects of reactive commentary for your client. A poor approach to outreach can also result in a journalist devaluing you as a contact.

Get it right, and you arrive at your destination with plenty of coverage, new valuable contacts and a happy client.

Living in the Moment

After taking time to put together some reactive commentary, the feeling of opening your computer and finding stacks of coverage can feel just as euphoric as stepping off that plane when you arrive on holiday

Now it’s time to update our clients, bank content, and relax.

By completing most of the hard work early, researching trending topics and getting results in the infancy of your outreach, you’re much more likely to reap the benefits.

Before you pack your bags and finish your reactive campaign at the peak of its success, consider what else you can do with it. Are there any additional exclusive comments you can provide now the topic is trending? Or has your extensive research resulted in inspiration for the next piece?

We need open-mindedness at the peak of our reactive PR journey, as this could open up doors for future opportunities.

Making it Unforgettable

Going home after a trip can be upsetting, but there are ways that you can make those memories last a lifetime, such as looking at old pictures, keeping in contact with friends you’ve made or even rebooking it all over again.

Similarly, rather than aimlessly writing reactive comments that are disposable, we must look at ways that we can utilise our successful strategy again.

To do this, we can review which publications and journalists covered our content, the timeliness of outreach and other quantifiable factors that made it successful. By sitting back and looking at the strategy, you’re much more likely to be able to replicate it another time and reduce wasted time for you and your client.

Plus, keeping reactive pieces linked to awareness days or seasonal events on file is a clever and time-efficient idea for when they come back next year.

So, are you ready to implement a structured reactive PR strategy and watch the results roll in? Get packing.

Your Essential Reactive PR Checklist

  • Awareness of events – Awareness Days, Seasonal Events, Trending topics etc.
  • Research tools – Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, News sites, Competitor Analysis etc.
  • A strong, tailored media list of relevant publications and journalists
  • Targeted and adaptable pitch
  • Coverage tracker
  • An open mind and plenty of creativity
  • Plenty of time to pivot and be reactive during a campaign!

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