…and why you should be pleased to see them in the media.


In the past – especially when print was king – this scenario was seen exclusively as bad news. A call to the author to say: “Hey, we do that too and we’re even better at it than those guys!” does not have much mileage. At best the caller would be greeted with sympathy, understanding and a promise that he or she would be considered next time the journalist was writing on this topic. Unfortunately, this opportunity was unlikely to occur for a long time. The thinking was: “I’ve just covered that topic to the best of my ability so I won’t be doing it again anytime soon.”

Companies or their PR agencies spend a lot of time researching what media outlets are planning to cover, which certainly minimises the chance of the issue described above arising. But there will always be exceptions. Fortunately, today the situation is different.

Imagine our scenario happening now, in the age of (almost) unlimited publishing space, massively increased publishing frequency and the consequential increased appetite for content. What can the marcom person do? How to hijack your competitor’s media coverage is on everyone’s lips.

Here are a few places to start:

  • Comment directly on the original story online. Many news and feature websites offer this capability to give a platform to their readers and to stimulate debate. Many readers of the article will then get the chance to read your thoughts too.
  • Offer the author a written counter argument or qualification to the main themes of the piece. This can be attractive to the editor as it amounts to additional content that can be linked to, and enriches, the first piece. This option was not generally available for print journalism in the trade press where magazines often publish monthly and lead times are long; but the Internet has changed all that.
  • Lastly, offer the journalist an open invitation to discuss the subject whenever they decide to cover it again. It should be pointed out that, first, you must establish your credentials and give a compelling reason why it will benefit them to do so. And, in all these instances, you must approach from a neutral, informative standpoint rather than talking about your product or company. The former will make you appear a valuable resource; the latter, something else.

If you have any other insights you’d like to share (or feel that your knowledge has been unfairly overlooked in this post), please do comment in the box below.