Today, we’re talking about how to communicate around the upcoming election. We’ll be covering some do’s and don’ts on how to communicate around the upcoming election.
In a matter of weeks Americans will be voting in the 2020 election. Rather than an election day, we are preparing for an election week or even month. As communicators, we also need to prepare for the best ways to effectively communicate for our organization’s news in what will certainly be the most unique and potentially longest coverage cycle for an election.
Given the current media environment and predictions about the media environment in the coming months, how do we ensure that the messages from our organizations don’t get lost in the shuffle?
Don’t plan big announcements for the week before and at least two weeks after November 3rd
If you think coverage of the upcoming election is all-consuming now, just wait. Not only will political ads monopolize the ad space, but coverage of all aspects of the election will begin to increase. The same goes for after November 3rd. All current predictions point to weeks of litigation around election results, including some pretty unsettling possible scenarios. If your organization is planning to make a big external announcement, and you have the ability to control the timing, make it soon; or wait until late November or December, when (hopefully) there will again be opportunities for stories outside of the election.
Figure out how to tie your story into a larger election trend
Given the above predictions, the best way to get your organization included in media coverage is to tie in one of the topics we know the media will be covering:
- Mail-in ballots
- Post-election demonstrations
- Safe voting
- Increased exposure to coronavirus
- The Supreme Court
- K-12 education
Every aspect of these topics will continue to get coverage increasingly as the days go on, so if you can figure out some way to tie your organization into them, the better shot you have.
Stay relevant, not political
There’s a fine line between tying your organization into the current political environment and making political statements. The former is a good way to stay relevant, the latter can backfire swiftly and dramatically. Ensure that your spokesperson is well trained on key messages that are relevant, non-political, and well-practiced.
Expect that reporters are going to be busier than ever
If you’ve spoken to a PR pro in the last month about media outreach you’ve probably heard stories about how challenging it’s been. Even reliable relationships are resulting in crickets when a pitch is sent. One big reason for this is that reporters are just busier than ever. The current news cycle is more like a tornado and just keeping up on deadlines can be a real challenge. This can also be an opportunity for communicators to package a story complete with several experts available for interviews, links to additional relevant information such as studies, and of course, a good tie-in to topics you know they’re already covering. Don’t make their job harder or more frustrating than it already is.
To be sure, the coming weeks are going to be like no other we as communicators (and Americans) have experienced. But with smart planning and a thoughtful strategy for outreach, you can still successfully gain positive coverage for your organization.
Thank you for reading our Insight about how to communicate around the upcoming election. Check out Veronica’s Insight on how your business can adapt your PR strategies for current media needs.
Posted In Public Relations