PR tips: How to respond to big public sector announcements

Twice a year, the UK Government announces its tax and spending plans in a budget and subsequently, there is a race among those in the property sector to get their response comments in the news.

Photo by Jeff Griffith on Unsplash

It’s understandable. A pithy analysis or reaction to the business news topic of the moment can be great PR.

And there will be a few notable announcements that will be dates in the diary.

The effort to get coveted space on news websites and publications starts before the budget has even been announced.

Emails offering people up for interviews will begin pinging into journalists’ inboxes in the days leading up to the actual event.

Then in the hours and days afterwards emails with statements and opinions will flood in.

With so much choice of comment there are three key things a journalist is going to look for.

1. A high profile name

CEOs and managing directors of big well-known property companies are a draw.

It’s like having a celebrity name to open a school fete, a Hollywood A-lister is always going to get a bigger crowd than someone who came sixth on a reality TV show. Harsh but true.

2. Speed of delivery

If you aren’t out of the traps the moment they open the gates then there is a strong chance you’ll miss your chance.

Websites can be updated within minutes so speed is the name of the game.

A long and complex approval process isn’t going to do you any favours in this instance.

There is always speculation and leaked information before the budget so many firms will pre-prepare their statements and then refine as the speech is being made.

Comments and reactions arriving just a few hours after the end of the budget may have already missed the boat.

A day or two after? So much will have already been written about the announcement and its implications that it’s old news by then.

3. Stand out commentary

If you can be quick but you aren’t a big name then saying something that stands out from the crowd might be the winning card.

There often isn’t a huge variation in opinions on the key issues. You don’t need to read that many response statements to get the gist of what most people in the industry are thinking.

So if you can have a different viewpoint or approach the issues from a fresh angle you increase your chances of getting noticed and getting quoted.

Or maybe think of how you phrase your response statement. If an editor needs one comment and has five all saying roughly the same thing, they are most likely to choose the one that says it in an interesting way.

Journalists want people to click and read their coverage of a big public sector announcement so they will be looking for interesting insight, delivered quickly and/or a well-known and respected voice.

I think the important question to ask before writing a response comment on big public announcements is whether you can tick those boxes and if not, could your time be better spent on adding value elsewhere?


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