PR during a General Election
General elections can be a tough time when it comes to generating positive PR for your business or organisation. Journalists tend to be taken up by electioneering stories; from speeches to campaign buses, polling to vox pops, profiling to debates. With a general election being so important to almost every aspect of UK life, newspapers, radio and television rightly shift focus towards campaigning.
That's not to say you won't find anything else in the news, of course, but it does tend to be dominated by politics (more so than usual anyway). If you have a photo-op or radio and television interviews lined up, firstly congrats on getting it set up in the first place, and secondly be prepared for it to be cancelled at the last minute. This can happen outside of election time, of course, but any political tremors will see editors deploying their reporters and photographers elsewhere.
While writing this blog, campaigns for the 12th December general election are being launched, and MPs' last day in the commons will be 5th November (ironically). Journalists will, no doubt, be rejoicing that they have meaty stories to sink their teeth into over the coming silly season. When ordinarily they might be scrabbling around for "news" the closer we get to Christmas, this year they're going to be worked off their feet.
So does that mean hold off launching your PR campaigns and issuing your press releases over the next few weeks? Well... yes and no. If you have been working on a fantastic campaign, now might not be the best time to start the publicity wheels turning (unless it's a political campaign!). If it's not overly time sensitive, you might be best waiting until the new year to see the best results. After all, the new year lull, even after a general election in December, may well be worth taking advantage of. It's hard to say for sure, however, considering the last time we had a general election in December was 1923.
If you absolutely must push your campaign now, just be aware that you're going to have a tougher time getting buy-in than you might do outside of an election period. You'll have to fight that much harder for a journalist's attention or make your story that much stronger. It can be done. And you shouldn't think that all PR should come to a halt. But it's worth remembering, all journalists' eyes will be on the campaign trail and getting their attention outside of that will take something special.