Smart businesses know when (and when not) to send a pitch to the media during a national crisis. Always take a people-first approach and be sensitive to members of the media. You never know how a crisis personally impacts an individual. In addition, pitching at the wrong time or pitching the wrong information during a national crisis can damage your company's reputation. Below are a few guidelines for pitching during a national crisis. IF YOU CAN HELP... If you have information related to the crisis and it is not opportunistic, it is appropriate to pitch a story relevant to the crisis to any form of media within 1-7 days of the crisis.
IF YOU CANNOT HELP... If you do not have helpful information related to the crisis, you will not want to pitch immediately after a crisis. So when can you pitch? If you have a feature story for consumer media, it is best to wait until the crisis has been processed. You don't want to be trite in light of a difficult situation. You may need to hold your topic for a week or more after the crisis has occurred. If you have a hard news story not related to the crisis, you may need to wait even longer until the breaking news editors are not buried under the developing story. Sometimes it is just best to hold a story for a couple of weeks or more until a crisis has passed. No one cares about your new product or latest company promotion in light of a crisis. While consumer publications provide constant up-to-the minute crisis coverage, business trade media outlets tend to operate on a monthly editorial calendar. As such, there is a little more leeway when approaching a trade media editor. Even in the midst of a crisis, trade media editors will still be tasked with filling up content 30 to 60 days out and may welcome a thoughtful feature piece. However, you may want to give breaking news trade media editors a little more time since they will likely be covering stories regarding how the crisis impacts their industry.
Whenever you are pitching, keep in mind that you are pitching a story to a person, not a publication. Always err on the side of holding a story until an appropriate time versus sending it too soon. Above all, public relations is about people. #PR #crisiscommunication #pitching #mediarelations #SGMC