How to create a ‘Proactive’ Reactive PR Strategy

Holly Scott | 16th February 2024 | Digital PR

A reactive PR strategy requires a finger on the pulse and lightning-fast responses to stories trending in the news, if you are to generate some successful link and coverage results.
However, a ‘proactive’ reactive strategy enables you to expand your outreach timeline and is guaranteed to result in more successful placements. This just requires an additional layer of pre-planning and organisation, ahead of timely events, to amplify your insights and make your efforts count. 

Here’s how you can implement a ‘proactive’ reactive PR strategy.

Produce an expert comment bank with pre-written insights

Expert comment banks are invaluable for collating all of your comments, opinions and insights, on key topics, in one place. Building up an expert comment bank means that when a topic goes full circle in the news, you’re ready to respond with comments provided previously.

Tip: We find that saving our comment as [‘Date’ – ‘Topic’] as a heading with an internal link in a Google Doc means we can identify comments quicker to lift out and send which means speedier replies and outreach activity.

However, if your comment bank is empty, we recommend producing comments, insights and opinions, on upcoming events, months in advance.

Example: You’re a family law business

If you were to start an expert comment bank, think of upcoming events where your expertise and knowledge would be valued and appreciated e.g. 

  • Mother’s Day – Sunday 10th March – Co-parenting etiquette – 10 tips to tackle Mother’s Day. You could even prepare well in advance for Father’s Day 
  • Changes in UK law – The spouse/partner visa minimum income – April 2024 – How will the Visa law change impact foreign spouses? Can families take legal action? Do they need to prepare anything ahead of April?
  • Easter bank holiday – 1st April 2024 – What rules do separated parents have to follow when taking their children abroad? What passport rules apply to single parents leaving the country? 
  • Pension Increase -April 2024 – With state pensions set to increase, how will this impact dividing pensions in divorce? 

By preparing your comments well in advance of relevant awareness days, you can factor in a pre-outreach/pitch to journalists covering similar stories, putting your insights on their radars and offering your dream titles an exclusive opportunity. 

Amplify your blog content, eBooks and whitepapers 

Do you have a wide selection of blog posts on your website? Do you also publish eBooks, reports and whitepapers? If you answered ‘yes’, you can certainly make your content work harder. You can do this by sharing sections/snippets of this content with media contacts when topics are trending in the news associated with your existing material. 

Not all of your blog content will be suitable for press placements. You will need to establish the following before you pitch it to journalists:

  • Are the insights ‘newsworthy’ and engaging enough? 
  • Can the content be repurposed so that it’s digestible for journalists? 
  • And, does it need additional insight to add more depth to the current conversation? 

By creating a hub of your newsworthy blog posts that have been approved for media placements, when conversations are mere whispers before they start to trend, you can revisit your approved hub ready to start promoting it.

Analyse last year’s stories associated with your industry’s keywords 

Reactive and proactive PR approaches mean that we are always looking at the current news agenda or planning for future stories. However, taking stock of previous headlines and reflecting on last year’s articles can help shape future activity.

Example: You’re a clinic in the healthcare space

Establish what keywords are most relevant to your expertise and specialisms and set up a series of Google Alerts. 

Using Google’s ‘News’ tab, search one of your keywords. Go to tools > Recent and then ‘Custom Range’. If you set your date range from this time last year to the three months ahead, you can quickly identify news stories that may come full circle. 

Taking the examples above, we could create a comment or thought leadership article based on other known vitamin deficiencies that can cause hair loss and pitch these insights to relevant publications. Additionally, establishing another ‘hero’ product or supplement that can stimulate hair growth and the reasons for it could be pitched to the press. Understanding what worked well last year can help shape your reactive strategy moving forward.

Create an events calendar

A content calendar which highlights key events and their dates, associated with your industry, is vital for ‘proactive’ reactive strategies. This tool will enable you to create a strategic approach to your reactive activity, plan content in plenty of time as well as stagger your outreach ahead of the awareness day or event.

Tip: We also download our dream publication’s annual content calendars so we can produce content in line with their editorial schedules. This just doubles our success rate and ensures we are creating content our target audience cares about.

There are plenty of content calendars out there, below are just a couple of examples:

Cision: 2024 PR and Comms Content Planning Calendar

Awareness Days2024 calendar 

Mail Metro Media 2024 Insight Calendar

Refer back to past media requests 

Media requests bolt on to our reactive PR strategy at Distinctly and are an effective way to get our clients front and centre with key journalists and relevant publications. However, they are also useful to establish upcoming trends journalists might be covering, understand which journalists cover certain topics and begin building a strong association between our clients and the media. 

Similar to looking back at past articles for inspiration, media requests can also provide you with guidance for your ‘proactive’ reactive strategy.

Response Source, a media database that also provides a fantastic media enquiry service, gives you the option to filter media requests by keyword. By doing this research, we can quickly determine what journalists have been previously looking for, and when, to guide what content we need to create moving forwards.

The enquiry…

The result…

From this article, we can see that a number of doctors discussed new, cutting edge procedures in the world of hair transplantation as well as real-life case studies sharing their experiences with hair loss.

Following this activity, we can identify what insights were absent from the article, enabling us to pitch those tips in for a similar feature. We could also source case studies who would be happy to share their experience with hair loss and how it impacted a specific area of their life, such as dating and confidence, as opposed to their experience following a procedure. 

Taking a proactive approach to your reactive strategy will support you in yielding greater, more impactful results on a regular basis. 
Find out how we can support you with your reactive Digital PR activity here or enquire today.

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