How to achieve coverage in the national and international press

Sarah Lievore

17th December 2014

The most effective way to promote yourself and your business in the national press is through timely and interesting, topical commentary on breaking news stories. This is a very effective way to demonstrate your expertise to potential clients, as well as to build your credibility and improve your digital footprint and search engine references.

Speed is crucial. Once a story breaks, you have very little time before all relevant publications have covered it. When an opportunity does arise, have a comment ready in less than an hour. If you know that a change in regulation or an announcement is going to be made, make sure you have prepared a few comments prior to this date. With these thoughts prepared, you will be ready to liaise with journalists and equipped to respond to the story. With this method, you can be both proactive and reactive.

When preparing a comment, keep in mind that it is important to have an opinion on the topic which is interesting, different, or controversial enough to publish. Sitting on the fence will not be interesting to journalists.

Avoid jargon and use clear and simple language. While experts are often tempted to use technical terms to show off their skills, it is important to use terminology that a layperson will understand, no matter how technical the subject matter.

Your quote or quotes should be no more than two sentences each and statements should be bold, opinionated, not sitting on the fence and interesting, for example: “It is clear that HMRC are not going to give up without a fight, and what they do give up will be protected by very complex rules.”

Use examples and statistics of your own or from other authoritative parties to accompany what you are saying on the topic. Relate the breaking news to real world situations, such as what you are seeing in the market. What impact will the breaking news have on the reader? What does this news mean for the public and how will it affect them?

Be credible. Don’t make claims you can’t back up. Be colourful in your use of language and consider alliterations or an aphorism, for example: “These new proposals are guidelines not tramlines”. One of our clients, a leading white-collar crime lawyer, gave the following vivid simile to The Times re financial crime: “Catching fraudsters is like trying to catch fish in a barrel with your bare hands.”

Our client, an international banking expert, provided a simple but clear quote which was covered widely in the national and international press. The quote was referencing what was happening financially in Cyprus: “This is a typical set of exchange control measures, more reminiscent of Latin America or Africa.” This line was featured in stories in 20 national and international publications including on the front page of The Guardian, Reuters, The New York Times, South China Post and the International Business Times.

Once you have achieved coverage through commenting in the national media, it is important to amplify this. Add it as a news item to your website, include reference to it in your newsletters or client alerts and promote it across your social media to maximise its value.

Read this article published on Behind the Spin.