Breaking News And Your Brand’s Big Break

Heading into the summer months, baseball, beaches and barbecues tend to be top of mind. Government regulations and energy efficiency requirements – not so much.

But when those new government regulations can raise the cost of your air conditioning system by up to $1,700, it becomes more of a “hot topic.” Calise Partners`, on behalf of Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, used this breaking news as a springboard for stories stressing the importance of maintaining AC equipment to avoid repair and replacement expense.

Watch this video to see how we used breaking news to help Service Experts with this “hot topic.”

Leveraging breaking news, news developments and stories is a great way to make headlines for your brand. Here are a few pointers:

  • Be true to your area of expertise. Seems obvious, but it’s easy to get excited about the possibility of securing a story and trying to fit a somewhat-square-peg into a round hole. Just because you’re a race car driver doesn’t mean you’re the best source to comment on the price of gas.
  • Be specific. Opinions and insights must be backed by specific examples – some people call these “proof points.” References from your own business or career are certainly allowed, but the more tangible the example (numbers, statistics, real-world results), the better.

Also, if appropriate, be prepared to offer concrete action steps as part of your commentary. When natural disasters strike, Angie’s List has specific tips for homeowners on avoiding home repair scams and unscrupulous contractors.

  • Be timely, but be sensitive. One key to leveraging news is the window of opportunity, and this can be a fine line. We move while the story is still on the media’s agenda (and on the public’s mind), but keep in mind that people’s welfare always comes first. Don’t try to sell a story on the need for flood insurance when people are still stranded on their roofs.
  • Be prepared to help. When a local elementary school was closed for several days because of a carbon monoxide leak, Calise Partners and Service Experts did not just offer advice on the need for CO detectors – we donated more than 150 of them to the affected school and other neighboring schools. This again became part of local news coverage, because the story was timely, and we were meeting a genuine need for the community.
  • Be local (for local media). For regional or national brands, a local angle can greatly extend the reach and impact of the effort. Sometimes, this can be the difference in getting the story or not. It could be as simple as using a local franchisee or store manager as the spokesperson, sharing reactions from local customers or offering local sales data. 
  • Be visual. How can we make the story visual? If we’re approaching TV stations, we identify a location for the crew to film (company office, customer home, etc.) Then we map out a “menu” of options for them to film when they are there (including a few shots that will include the company logo without going overboard.) For print and online outlets, we always let them know we can supply good (high-res) photos.

And yes – we would love to find a way to tie our clients into baseball, beaches and barbecue! Still working on that…

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