We live in a news-driven culture. Gone are the days when we had to wait for the evening paper to hit the driveway to find out what was going on in the world. We do not even have to wait for the six o’clock news. With the advent of internet news sites and smartphones, the majority of Americans have the news at their fingertips, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Following the new closely like everybody else? When marketing current events, it can be tempting to hitch a ride on the news that people are following anyway. Done right, this can be an effective marketing strategy; done wrong, it can cast a bad image on your business.
Marketing: Current Events
The free publicity that comes with current events is attractive for any business. So how can you use the news to your advantage? Think about whether or not your business has a genuine connection to the event in question. If there is a natural link between what has happened and what you do, and you can generate a positive approach, then jump on the opportunity! A free chance to bolster your public image and get your name out there is never a bad move. Recent examples from the national media include the response to the Pulse shootings in Orlando. JetBlue offered to fly the families of the victims to Orlando for free. Chick-Fil-A offered free food at blood drives for the victims. These efforts came across as heartfelt responses to a terrible situation. Think about what your business has to offer that can truly benefit people. Examples include:
- A coffee shop offering a free bag of coffee for every blood donation at a blood drive
- A hotel providing free rooms after a natural disaster
- A restaurant bringing meals to first responders after a fire
- A spa manning a massage booth after a local marathon
If your business does not provide a service that can directly benefit a local cause, you can still piggyback your marketing on current events. One good strategy is to give back to the community, either through direct donations or employee volunteerism.
- Sponsor a Little League team
- Sponsor an annual award at the local high school
- Provide employees with paid time devoted to volunteerism
What to Avoid When it Comes to Marketing and Current Events
There’s an old adage: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” But is that really true? Probably not. Most marketing experts would agree that certain publicity really is bad for business. If your business has no natural link to the news event, any response may come across as disingenuous and self-serving. A good response should be timely and genuine. A late or stilted response can lead people to believe that your business is simply riding the coattails of tragedy. It is better to have no response at all than to respond in a way that generates a bad impression. If you cannot think of something positive to do, just carry on with business as usual. Wait for the right opportunity to present itself.
When it comes to marketing and current events, the right strategy can make all the difference. If you want to use current events and the news to market your business but are not sure how to proceed, reach out to the marketing professionals at Web Content Development.