PR Opportunities from Big News Events
If you’ve read the ebook Newsjacking by David Meerman Scott you’ll know that when a large news item such as the storm on the East Coast appears there can be opportunities for companies with relevant stories.
Sandy is the biggest storms ever to hit the US and reporters and bloggers are going to be looking for secondary stories and sources related to the storm to keep the coverage fresh and interesting.
There are a lot of related stories developing – cancelled flights, stranded passengers, clean up tips, survival tips, insurance claims are just a few that easily come to mind.
Update: Fuel shortages have been one of the big stories and companies that operate fleets of vehicles in the area have been hard hit. ARI Fleet, a global vehicle fleet management services company, put up a a mobile locator tool (you can see it on their website too) to help fleet managers find open stations.
AT&T is sending mobile “hotspot” trucks into NYC to help alleviate the crippled communications systems left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Hooked up to the satellite grid, the self-contained trucks will spray both Wi-Fi and cellular in a radius around them, and also offer charging stations that passersby can use to gas up their mobiles.
New York Sports Clubs have opened their doors to Hurricane Sandy victims allowing full use of their facilities. Anyone in need of a hot shower, charging their cell phone, or even doing a workout.
You don’t even have to be right in the heart of the storm to do this. One of the airports hit hardest was LAX. If you are located near the airport and could offer assistance to stranded passengers or offer business people a place to work while they are in LA, that could be an angle. This could also apply to people stranded in Europe trying to get back to the East Coast. Research how this storm is affecting business people all over who are stuck in another city and tie your service into the trend. Create an infographic. Interview stranded passengers who are using your facility on video. Offer this to your local news station.
One of the biggest problems in areas hit by the storm is lack of electricity. Publish tips that can help people in this situation- bearing in mind they already have no power. Tips for preparing for a power outage are not useful right now.
Schools are closed in most areas hit by the storm and people are being told to stay indoors. That means kids cooped up inside in bad weather for a few days. On the news last night they interviewed a couple with a young son who live in an apartment in New York City. The mom and the boy were running races in the apartment corridors to burn off energy. If you have games or any product or service that could help keep kids entertained through this period, that too could be a story.
Again, think of the bigger story. How many kids are cooped up indoors in NYC because of Sandy? How many moms are at home and not at work? How could your product or service help them cope? Perhaps they could document what is happening in their neighborhood and produce a news journal using your camera, printer or crafting products. If you are a professional organizer you could create a game that teaches kids to organize objects. It teaches them logical thinking too. See this post.
Above all it takes sensitivity to newsjack an event like Sandy. But there are hundreds if not thousands of reporters and bloggers looking for appropriate and relevant material right now. Why not give them a story with real value, based on good research and trends supported by great visuals.
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