Election time can be tricky. There are a lot of strong opinions and feelings and most likely you don’t want to get in the middle of them. As a PR person, you definitely don’t want to get in the middle of them- or on either side. As someone who handles multiple brands there are a couple of things that I made sure to keep in mind yesterday, and really this whole week. In the couple of days after the election when opinions are still running hot, it is smart to still stick to them.
Don’t voice your opinion on any platform that is not strictly personal (and even then be careful). When updating a brands social media or in any kind of correspondence or outreach, it is fine to mention the election, but do not voice an opinion for either side. Chances are, half your audience is on either side, or you have to assume they could be, and you do not want to alienate anyone. If you want to post something about the election make sure it is completely non-partisan and not in favor of any specific candidate. Just thank people for voting, or remind them that your store or restaurant etc is open that night after the polls close.
Don’t bother trying to pitch anything non-election related. Nobody cares about anything except the election right now. This is not a good week to pitch any sort of news that doesn’t have some tie-in to the election because nobody is really going to be listening or care. Save the press release for later when you will be able to get some attention for it.
That being said, find the tie-ins. You would be surprised how many ways different things can be related to the election. Specialized outlets that deal with a certain topic try to get in on the election excitement and this will be going on for at least the rest of the week. For example with food related publications, first it was foods that each candidate likes best, which foods are most popular among each party, and voting between two dishes just to get in the voting spirit. Then it was where to hold viewing parties, what to eat/drink while watching the elections, what the candidates will be eating the night of. The rest of the week it will be details about what they did the night of and how else local establishments celebrated. There are tons of ways to get clients mentioned if they just play along with the general trends and better yet, go above and beyond to do something even more noteworthy while related.
On the other hand, next week will be much quieter. After all these political ads, commercials, and stories, the media is going to feel quiet and empty. There will be time and space for something different and the media will be grateful for fresh, new pitches. Save your great ideas for then and really get your coverage noticed.
Most importantly, use your head, and don’t say anything that could be controversial to your business or your clients or their audience. If you don’t have any way to connect to the election, that’s fine, don’t force it- but don’t feel like you’re wasting the week by not pushing your client or yourself at the media even if you have something going on. It’s much better to lay low a few days and wait until you will get the attention you deserve.