Predictions: Love ‘em or hate ’em – they’re media gold in Q4

September 17, 2018

The last quarter of the year is quickly approaching and that means the wave of predictions stories and 2019 outlook opportunities will start popping up with a vengeance. After all, at year’s end, we all want to know from the people who know best…what’s next? And due to their forward thinking nature, predictions offer a perfect opportunity to establish thought leadership for our clients on all things related to their industries and areas of expertise.

But as any seasoned PR wiz knows, there’s only so much prediction coverage to go around with fewer reporters than ever writing these types of stories, quickly turning the year-end media cycle into a very crowded one. But you can cut through the noise with a few tried-and-true techniques to make your clients’ predictions as punchy as possible.

Get in front of press early

Broach the topic of predictions with your teams early, and by early I’m talking mid to late Q3. This will ensure you get the predictions campaign on everyone’s radar. So if you haven’t yet…now’s the time. You will be way ahead of the curve if you’ve got a solid plan in place by mid to late September. Hopefully, you will have talked to your clients by now, too, to get their feedback on the most impactful trends they anticipate in the year ahead. Moral of the story here, the early bird gets the worm.

Don’t be afraid to get loud

Depending on the industry, it’s not uncommon to see a lot of similar opinions out in the ether when you really start looking. But the predictions that garner the most media interest veer away from the status quo, and share a more provocative idea, or at least a different one than has been heard before. That’s why predictions lend themselves to providing an opportune time to expand beyond core messaging and take a strong stance on either a controversial industry trend, a generally-supported industry idea or a completely new idea that could transform said industry.

Back it up with data

Whether it’s technology, consumer, or a B2B topic, data plays an increasingly powerful role in shaping how businesses and consumers interact with the world. That’s why leveraging proprietary data can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to securing media interest in predictions stories, especially when the data offers a comprehensive look at what’s happened over the past year and valuable analysis on trends found in the numbers.

Keep it short and sweet
The best way to get your message across? Keep your predictions simple and to the point. We all know reporters get a ton of pitches each day. To make the most impact when you hit send on your pitch, think in terms of a soundbite and sum up your predictions in two to three sentences max. And the briefer and more contrarian you are, the more interesting your clients’ predictions will be to press.

Push the full court press

Once all your ducks are in a row and you’re ready to pitch your target list of reporters, don’t be afraid to go far and wide, including everyone from business journalists to trade press since these forward-looking trend stories really resonate across the board for media. You can also offer round-ups with other clients and/or their customers where it makes sense to get the most bang for your buck. And while the end goal is surely a briefing with your client, bylines or even email Q&As are also great story formats for sharing predictions that are easily consumable by your clients’ target audiences.

Ultimately, armed with an interesting idea and a little time to plan, your predictions will have the makings of a successful year-end press campaign – and hopefully these best practices will help simplify the process as you dig in on this initiative on your own teams.

As we think about what’s next for our clients in 2019, it’s important to also fine tune our own viewpoints and predictions for the communications and public relations fields. Which trends and predictions do you see changing our jobs in the years ahead? Passing on the baton for someone else to elaborate in another blog post…look forward to reading!

-Jen

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