Timing couldn't be worse for Aaron Smith

6 October 2016

The release of the story about Aaron Smith’s escapades in an airport toilet couldn’t have come at a worse time for the All Black halfback because of the way the media determine what’s news.

When an issue becomes topical, any other stories related to it become far more newsworthy than they would have otherwise. I’m not saying the media wouldn’t have picked up on the Aaron Smith incident, but because bad behaviour by professional rugby players has been in the news constantly over the last few weeks, Smith’s discretions will get more attention than normal.

Let’s look at another noteworthy example. Before the Christchurch earthquake, we only heard about major earthquakes with serious loss of life. But since they became topical, we get far more quake-related stories, even when they are far less serious.

Business leaders and public relations professionals should be taking advantage of this. While this will work against Aaron Smith, you can use it in your favour to generate positive publicity.

For example, with the recent Olympics, if you could pitch a story to your target media with an Olympic angle, you would have had a great chance of some free publicity. A school could have got students to dress up as their favourite Olympian and invite local media along, a business coach could have pitched an article to a business magazine about the similarity between the discipline required to be an Olympian and a successful entrepreneur. I could go on.

The Aaron Smith example shows how this can work against you. But if you plan well, you can piggyback off just about any topical issue and gain some priceless and free media publicity. The next big public holiday is Labour Day. That could offer some interesting publicity opportunities. What could you do?

If you want to grow your media interview skills for that potential media scrutiny, download my White Paper, ‘5 Steps to Pain-Free Media Interviews," here.

Written by

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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