Is Reactive PR the Right Tactic for Your Business?

  ●   April 22, 2024 | PR
Written by
April 22, 2024 | PR

Both the PR and Digital PR landscapes are constantly evolving, but one trend that has been on the increase for the last few years and still proving to be popular is Reactive PR, otherwise known as newsjacking. 

Newsjacking is a strategy that can catapult your brand and any brand experts straight into the limelight, if used wisely. But how easy is it to actually be successful and secure Reactive PR placements for your clients? 

What we’re going to cover in this article: 

What is Reactive PR? 

Reactive PR, otherwise known as newsjacking, involves jumping on the back of wider news or trends to draw attention to your brand.

Digital PRs implementing Reactive PR techniques will keep a close eye on trending news and swiftly respond with a comment, statement, or even a larger campaign that ties their brand to the ongoing news trend. 

The ultimate goal of this technique is to capture journalists, the media, and the general public’s attention, thereby putting your brand in the spotlight and within the trending conversation. 

How to use Reactive PR as a Digital PR tactic

When implementing Reactive PR as a tactic, there are a few things that you need to ensure you do in order for your activity to be a success: 

Stay alert: Keep track of daily news and trending topics. On top of checking in with news sites, tools like Google Alerts, Talkwalker, or even social media sites such as X (formally known as Twitter) are great places to source trending news. 

Analyse stories: Determine which news stories are relevant to your brand or your expert. It’s important to only target relevant opportunities with Reactive PR, as otherwise you’ll just be seen as adding to the noise. 

Add to the conversation: Make sure that any comments or stories that you put together ahead of outreach are adding to the conversation, and not just discussing the conversation that’s already happening. Your comment is more likely to get used if it’s offering a fresh perspective. 

Respond timely: Time is critical in all aspects of PR, but especially with Reactive PR. You need to respond quickly before the news cycle moves on to the next big thing.

Promote: Send your reactive comment out as soon as you have sign off from the brand and any stakeholders involved. Make sure that you send the comment to any relevant journalists and media outlets, even if they’ve already covered the topic that you’re discussing. 

How to plan for Reactive PR

Planning for Reactive PR may sound silly, as in many instances, we don’t know what’s going to be in the news cycle until it’s already there. 

However, there are a few things that you can do to help plan for reactive opportunities. 

Firstly, you should check over any calendars which highlight national days or events, as these may present some great opportunities for your brand to jump on. 

On top of this, it may be worth preparing some general comment templates for comments which are likely to be relevant time and time again. For example, if you are a brand in the home and lifestyle space, each summer you may launch a reactive comment about ‘how to cool down the house in a heatwave’. 

Is Reactive PR for everyone?

The answer largely depends on your brand’s niche, its personality, your target audience, and your risk tolerance. 

Reactive PR can be a high-risk, high-reward strategy. It requires speed, agile decision-making, and there’s always some risk of misjudging the situation or the public’s reaction to it. 

However, when done correctly, Reactive PR can be a great success. 

Examples of great Reactive PR

Burger King’s ‘A Day Without Whopper’ Campaign

In 2019, when McDonald’s was running a charity campaign in Argentina called “McHappy Day,” where all Big Mac sales would go to children with cancer, Burger King decided to stop selling their signature Whopper for a day to give McDonald’s a boost. They encouraged their customers to buy a Big Mac instead, for the cause. This surprising and generous move generated massive positive publicity for Burger King.

LEGO’s Apollo 50th Anniversary Campaign

In reaction to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing in 2019, LEGO responded with a stunning life-sized astronaut model made entirely of LEGO bricks. They also released a replica of the lunar lander. Both the model and the lunar lander set were a hit, launching LEGO into the conversations around this historical event.

Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ Campaign

While not directly tied to a specific news event, Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign was a brilliant example of Reactive PR. When they noticed a decline in their sales among younger consumers, they launched this campaign that replaced their logo on cans with the most popular names among this demographic. Because of its unexpected and personalised nature, the campaign generated a lot of buzz and led to a significant increase in sales, proving that the company was able to effectively react to their sales data and shift their PR strategy accordingly.

Don’t fret – you don’t need a budget the size of Coca Cola’s in order to be successful at reactive PR. We’ve been working with temporary motor insurance provider, Insure Daily for just over four months now and have already secured them over 25 pieces of reactive coverage. 

The topic of Range Rover vehicle thefts was a popular topic in February, so we decided to tap into the news cycle and provide a comment from Insure Daily, discussing how to improve the security of your vehicle. This resulted in coverage across the likes of AOL, Yahoo Finance and even the Telegraph

How can we help your brand?

So, do you think Reactive PR is the tactic for your business to try? Check out our Digital PR services to find out how we can help you or get in touch for more information.

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