‘The Man Box’, a Jesuit Social Services (JSS) report on being a young man in Australia, was released on the very same day Meghan and Harry flew into Melbourne.
Despite the royal hysteria, the report and its findings soared in the press. The story was spun through the daily news cycle via ABC News 24, ABC TV, ABC radio, SMH, The Age, The Guardian, Triple M, SEN, The Conversation, Buzzfeed and more.
So how did JSS successfully ‘Harry-proof’ their story, and secure national media in the midst of a Royal visit?
They found a print media ally.
“One of the best ways to ensure press for your client is to find a major print partner. Media consume media. And media read what’s in print every day, often ripping it or pursuing it for their own platforms. Despite what you might think, the print business is still a very influential content model which often sets the day’s news agenda”, explained Tony Nicholls, Principal of Good Talent Media (GTM).
“In our case, we offered Fairfax an exclusive print story and helped them prepackage it. The story came together seamlessly, and it was ready two weeks before the official JSS launch date – a date that we didn’t realise at the time had a royal insignia”.
JSS were reassured by the fact that their story was ‘locked away.’ Fairfax were satisfied they had a strong story. GTM knew that their story was in good hands.
“We chose to work with Fairfax because they have a history of solid, equitable and fair reporting on topics like this,” explained Tony. “Strategically, we knew partnering with Fairfax would result in good print and online coverage in Melbourne and Sydney”.
They found a partner for Radio and TV
One text message to ABC secured radio and TV coverage.
In the ‘text’ pitch, GTM offered up a great national news story with great visuals, strong case studies and good stats packaged as an exclusive ABC TV/radio story.
They saw the value pretty quickly were on board after a quick production meeting.
“In the end, it took one phone call and a text message to organise national print, radio, TV and online coverage for our client”.
GTM then worked with the media partners to pull together talent, information and case studies for the journalists.
During the publicity planning process, the team identified that a training workshop for Manbox counsellors would be an opportunity to capture overlay plus interview the case studies and other talent all in one hit.
ABC and Fairfax did the interviews and recorded the footage there and then. The day was over in three hours.
“The upshot is that the stories were written well in advance of the launch, well in advance of the Royal Visit and they were almost – with the exception of nuclear catastrophe – locked in for publication/broadcast on the study launch date”.
“Originally, JSS had two press conferences planned and none of us had the Royal Visit or the baby announcement on our radar – so we didn’t realise how fortuitous our forward planning would be”, explained Tony.
“They still went ahead with their press conferences: attendance was patchy, but the story was already in the news anyway”.
So how did it ‘spin?’
Fairfax launched the story in print and online from 12am. ABC began their radio and TV coverage in the morning. The story was syndicated nationally. Australia then woke up to Harry and Meghan’s baby news and the Man Box.
The Guardian, The Conversation and BuzzFeed picked up the story and ran with it.
“But we don’t mind because we have honoured our exclusive media partnerships”, said Tony.
On the day after the study launch, Sydney Swans Captain and JSS Ambassador Josh Kennedy spoke on on SEN, Triple M and Ralph Epstein in Melbourne about his experience in the Man Box.
“We are really proud to lock in coverage for our client on such a tough news day”, said Tony.
And the PR lesson?
“Don’t press ‘send all’ on your media release. Find media partners in print, radio and TV and give them exclusives”.
Founder and Director of Good Talent Media