If you’re a Nashville resident, you’ve definitely heard about the plans for a major transportation overhaul across the city. And why does everyone and their mother know about it? Because it’s PR gold.
Most stories come and go pretty quickly – after all the details have been released and the event is over with, there’s not much else to say. But then there are stories like this one with an ongoing plot, a host of characters on different sides of the issue and new revelations every day.
So why is a story like this so important for PR pros to stay on top of?
- It’s a highly contested issue. Nothing is more exciting than a big debate with lots of different points of view. As more plans are released, zealous supporters, and perhaps even more zealous opposition, come out of the woodworks to express their opinions. Every single Nashville resident will be affected by the plan in some way if it were to be passed. That makes for plenty of great stories. As a PR professional, if you haven’t jumped in on the issue, you’re missing out on a juicy topic.
- It has a truly fifty-fifty outcome. Like everyone’s favorite murder mysteries and horror films, there’s no telling what’s going to happen next. We know the facts, but we can only speculate on the outcome. It’s all in the hands of the voters at this point. That’s when you have a ton of leeway to jump in with some thought leadership and set your client up as an expert on the matter. Plus, you’ll earn bonus points if those speculations end up being correct.
- It’s multi-faceted. Now that the Mayor Barry affair is out in the open, the transit plan plot has thickened immensely. The plan’s passing is no longer just contingent on whether people agree or disagree with the issue. Now people’s opinion of the scandal and how she is handling it has become a factor in their decision to vote for or against the plan. Afterall, she is spearheading it, so in American politics, if people don’t like the figurehead, they tend to vote against the leader’s actions. The conversations that PR and media professionals can put forth are endless.
But then there are stories like this one with an ongoing plot, a host of characters on different sides of the issue and new revelations every day.
- It’s click-worthy. Because everyone’s on the edge of their seats to see what happens next, any content bearing the same keywords has the potential to spread like wildfire. Type Nashville into your search bar, and the transit plan is sure to be in the top five results. Don’t be afraid to have your clients insert their two cents on a hot issue. This tactic, called newsjacking, is a great way to drive up their SEO and bring more traffic toward their brands.
- It has potential for related stories. Have a client whose business might be especially affected (positively or negatively) by the transit system’s enactment? Tell that story. Again, any ways you can engage with a hot-button issue will only work in your client’s favor.
Hot news and big issues aren’t just for the news outlets to cover. In PR, you have to be ready to join the relevant conversations if you want your clients to stay relevant too. Be creative to find those stories that bring your clients into the spotlight, while also placing them within the context of a large-scale issue. If you can accomplish this, then you’re doing your job right.
What other stories are buzzing in PR right now?