Jun 2024

Election season: how to create PR success during the media whirlwind of the election

Written by Ali Negus

Election season: how to create PR success during the media whirlwind of the election

During elections, General and local, the media landscape undergoes a significant transformation, with the news cycle becoming heavily dominated by election coverage.

Here’s what typically happens to media during an election:

Shift in editorial focus

As soon as an election is announced, newsrooms across the country pivot their editorial focus towards election-related stories. Reporters and editors dedicate a substantial portion of their resources to covering the campaigns, candidates, policy proposals, and the overall political discourse. This shift in focus means that non-election stories often receive less attention or are sidelined altogether, making it challenging for non-political news to break through the noise.

Increased demand for political analysis

This is the, somewhat, good news. With the public’s appetite for election news at its peak, media outlets ramp up their political analysis and commentary. Pundits, analysts, and experts from various fields are in high demand to provide insights, dissect campaign strategies, and offer predictions on potential outcomes. This creates opportunities for thought leaders and subject matter experts to contribute their perspectives and gain media exposure.

Emphasis on fact-checking and debunking misinformation

As the stakes rise and the rhetoric intensifies, the media plays a crucial role in fact-checking claims made by candidates and their campaigns. Dedicated teams of journalists are tasked with verifying statements, exposing falsehoods, and debunking misinformation that may circulate during the election cycle. This heightened scrutiny aims to ensure that voters have access to accurate and reliable information.

Increased competition for attention

With the election dominating the news cycle, media outlets face intense competition for audience attention. Breaking news, exclusive interviews, and high-impact investigative pieces become valuable commodities in attracting viewers, readers, and listeners. This competitive environment can lead to more aggressive reporting tactics and a greater emphasis on sensationalism to capture the public’s interest.

Opportunities for targeted pitching

While the election may overshadow other news, savvy public relations professionals can still find opportunities to pitch stories by strategically linking their narratives to election-related themes. For example, technology PR professionals could pitch stories related to each party’s stance on tech legislation or cybersecurity policies. By tying their pitches to the election narrative, they increase the chances of garnering media attention during this highly competitive period.

In summary, the media landscape during an election is characterised by a laser-focus on political coverage, increased demand for analysis and fact-checking, intense competition for audience attention, and opportunities for targeted pitching that aligns with the election narrative. Navigating this dynamic environment requires strategic thinking and a keen understanding of the media’s priorities during this pivotal time.

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