At Eskenzi PR & Smile on Fridays, working reactively is at the core of everything we do. Our rapid response programme is one of the key facets of the PR plans we lay out for our clients. By rapid response, we mean sending a client a story on which they can provide commentary and insight. This means we can move forward the conversation around a particular issue, help journalists with contextualised information about an incident, and gain coverage for our clients while we’re at it.
So what do we need from our clients to ensure that a campaign built on reactivity is as successful as possible?
A Need for Speed
The key element in a reactive campaign, without a shadow of a doubt is speed. Once a story breaks, Eskenzi/Smile on Fridays and the client are working against the clock to develop, approve and pitch commentary as journalists are writing stories themselves. If we are able to get commentary to the press as they are writing, that’s the sweet spot for a reactive campaign.
Failure to do this won’t only mean wasted time, effort and energy on the part of the client and the agency, but it will also mean that journalists are bombarded with information for a story which they have already written and is no longer relevant – Therefore, if you’re engaging with a rapid response programme, speed is key!
A global reach
The best clients are the ones who we work with across multiple regions, and are prepared for reactive activity across all of these regions. The perfect reactive client will have trained, dedicated and engaged spokespeople in every region for which they are active in PR. Not only will this help from a logistical level (meaning that the team has people in the same timezone to approach for comment) but it can also help to account for cultural differences: A US spokesperson will understand the media landscape within their own country or state, more than a UK or EU based one for example.
A passion for the subject
Spokespeople who care about the story they are telling are the spokespeople who break through the noise. When working with a new client, this is why we don’t just ask the onboarding spokespeople what their technical understanding of the product is – We also ask them what their interests are beyond the remit of their company, product or role.
By gaining this understanding of spokespeople, it not only opens us up to new opportunities but allows us to harness something which can’t be engineered by PR campaigns, no matter how hard we try: Enthusiasm. While there might not be a direct link between the client’s own sphere of influence, commenting on a wide range of subjects is crucial for brand recognition
Access to a deep bench of spokespeople
In sport, the depth of a team’s squad is the hidden strength to success. A reactive PR campaign is no different. The best clients are the ones who not only provide us with a team of dedicated spokespeople who can speak to their core subject matters, but also provide us with access to other members of the team for relevant opportunities. Some of the best coverage we have achieved in the past has been as a result of clients diligently providing us with access to the C-Suite for the right opportunity: Whether this is a CFO for a financially minded story, a COO for a HR, people focused story, or a CISO for a far-reaching security story, these titles have an impact. The resulting coverage is not only authoritative, but also helps to build the personal brands of the C-suite executives in question, for which they will be forever grateful. This mutually beneficial relationship keeps the client happy, the C-Suite happy, and the media who received this access happy.
Conclusion: A winning formula
The beauty of a reactive campaign is that it can build coverage out of nothing. By piggybacking on existing stories, it keeps clients in the media even when they might be having a quieter period for internal announcements or research.
While we would never recommend a reactive programme as the only facet of a PR campaign, we would certainly consider it a key element.
To find out more about how we use reactive activity for our clients, get in touch.