It’s the perfect storm in PR, when you have a media interview or press event scheduled and confirmed and then…snowmaggedon!
We’ve had our fair share of unpredictable weather in Colorado this past week and it’s impacted media coverage for a handful of clients with interesting news to share.
Whether blizzards, tornadoes, earthquakes or avalanches (I’ve had news impacted by all of the above), what can you do to safeguard news events and announcements from bad weather?
First, as storms brew to the west, consider your news and ask whether you can reschedule at a time with more favorable weather conditions. Oftentimes, event logistics and VIP schedules will make rescheduling difficult to impossible, but it’s important to weigh the time and costs of rescheduling with the possibility that bad weather will supersede any opportunity for quality media coverage. In the Denver market, know that 9News weather anchor Kathy Sabine’s new down jacket with a fur hood is likely to secure more airtime during the nightly broadcast than your news.
Second, consider contingency plans up front. Will your venue, such as a school, close due to bad weather? Is your location in a part of the city that requires driving on highways that will likely be backed up with weather-related traffic? If your event or press conference is outdoors, can you tent the site to better protect it against unpredictable weather?
Lastly, what additional media assets do you have at your disposal? Do you have video footage or photographs to share with local newspapers and broadcast stations as a back up if the cameraman is rescheduled at the last minute? Are your spokespeople flexible and can they be available at the last minute for in-studio interviews? Are your spokespeople media trained to conduct broadcast interviews via live remote? Can you host a Twitter chat or live discussion on Facebook as an alternative channel to share your news? Considering these questions in advance will help to ensure your story continues to be told, even as the snow begins to fly.
Mother nature is far from predictable. What you can control is how you plan for and react to unfortunate weather. And who knows? Mostly likely the weather team will be wrong and the sun will be shining in the morning – now you just need to find childcare for kiddos home from school!