With the new year right around the corner, prediction season is upon us!
From cybersecurity, health care and renewable energy to consumer packaged goods, restaurants and nonprofits — and every other sector in the world of business — it’s natural to be curious and speculate about what’s to come in the following year. Each year when our calendars flip to January, organizations across industries start thinking about how to leverage the new year to exhibit thought leadership and drive media coverage.
From market forecasts to tech trends and more, every company has a “what’s to come” story to tell. Although attempting to tie your company’s message into this seemingly annual tradition is certainly a sound strategy, publications are often bombarded by competitors offering similar stories. To drive the optimal results for your organization, how can you make sure your prediction piece stands out?
While reporters and outlets are constantly in search of stories as newsrooms continue to shrink, these yearly wrapups are generally planned in advance. After all, we all know when the new year begins. Know the publication’s guidelines and send any writing samples, your headshot and a short bio to make it as simple as possible to work with you.
Additionally, it’s important to use editorial calendars and plan as far ahead as possible. Begin preparing your predictions weeks and even months ahead, especially if you’re shooting for the most desirable publications in your industry. There’s nothing worse than spending too long making minor tweaks to your message up until the last minute and having your competition beat you to the punch to secure coverage. Since that window has likely passed for 2020, think about ways you can fit in beyond January. Is your business seasonal? Does it have appeal to an upcoming holiday, like Valentine’s Day or an event like the Super Bowl or March Madness? Get out in front of timing as much as you can as often as you can.
Take a Risk, but Bring Something Substantial to the Table
Remember, almost everyone has something to say when it comes to making predictions for what lies in 2020. Be sure your prediction isn’t a big ol’ nothing burger. Feel free to discuss what others aren’t thinking about or are too shy to discuss. Be bold with your language. In the end, someone engaging in a conversation — even if they respectfully disagree — is just what you want (that said, don’t feed the trolls. Ever).
Look at the difference in these two headlines:
How the industry is changing
Why our industry will never be the same
Reporters get a lot of fluffy nonsense in their inboxes. Give them some content, an against-the-grain prediction, an eye-popping stat, a revealing infographic, something they have to use — either now or in an article down the road. Do your research because unearthing something truly new will showcase genuine thought leadership in your space.
Use Stats and Figures
Reporters and editors have heard it all. Whether it’s the industry trend du jour or the next big buzzword, the inboxes of media members are flooded with pitches this time of year. While you may have a contrary or new angle, be sure you’re supporting it with data. Any finding, stat, metric or other figure that can provide evidence for your claim for the new year should be taken advantage of.
As always, try to bring third-party validation to your prognostication. See if you know an expert, an industry influencer or even a client that believes your vision is in line with the year to come and is willing to back you, then leverage that credibility.
Don’t Be Self-Serving
The difference between meeting your business objectives and being overly self-serving walks a fine line during prediction season. While, selfishly, you want to attract visitors to your website and drive sales, it’s important that your prediction serves a greater, perhaps industry-wide good. Rather than only highlighting your product or service and why your company is so awesome, consider discussing the importance of the technology or rule change or whatever it is that enables your solution and how that more general approach makes people’s lives easier. Think, “here’s how what we’re doing fits this trend,” vs. “here’s why my product is the trend.”
You can tie some of the message back to your business, but you don’t want to lose the audience by sounding like a blatant advertisement for your organization. Sharing relevant information that can help potential customers or important people in your industry is far more captivating than a prediction that’s more of a sales pitch touting your products or services ever could be.
Even though it can be difficult to add something novel to the conversation, we have experience with helping our clients’ predictions gain coverage. Whether you’re still looking to be included in 2020 predictions or you want to mark your calendars to try and secure coverage next year, leverage these tips to help your end-of-year predictions get noticed.