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PR often involves proactively seeking out opportunities for your clients, whether that’s creating a campaign or pitching thought leadership ideas. However, when a big news story comes along, it’s time to get reactive.

Reactive commentary can help to place businesses as an authority on a particular topic and can land them some incredible media exposure in top-tier trade and national publications. So, how can brands make the most of breaking news?

1. Always keep an eye out

Make sure you’re in the know about current affairs and any potential stories that could be of interest to your business. For example, a law firm might be best placed to comment on a high-profile divorce and what the ruling means for other couples. A quick scan of the headlines once a day won’t cut it either. At the least, you should be checking the headlines three times a day: morning, noon and night. It’s also useful to have ‘breaking news’ headlines come up as a notification on your phone as well.

2. Need for Speed

Commentary needs to be written, approved, and pitched as quickly as possible to have the best opportunity for success. Ideally, this means ensuring that a piece is written and approved within one hour of a story breaking. It’s important to know who your spokespeople are and have their consent to be quoted prior to writing the comments.

Most journalists will have a list of potential spokespeople that they can easily rely on for comment, so it’s vital that your comments are at the top of their inbox as soon as possible.

3. It’s commentary not an advertisement

Although PR helps to promote a product or service, we’re in the business of editorial not advertorial. The purpose of reactive commentary is to position a company or individual as an expert, authority, or leader in their field.

Journalists won’t include comments featuring any product placements in their articles, as their purpose is to inform readers, not promote businesses. Simply being included in a breaking news article can boost a company’s reputation and profile, resulting in an organic increase in engagement.

To increase the likelihood of your comments being used by the media, make sure they have something insightful and different to say. This may sound obvious, but it’s vital that your comments take a strong position and provide an opinion on the topic you’re discussing so that they add value to the journalist’s article. If you can provide an alternative view, even better.

4. Prepare…if you can

By its very nature, there isn’t a huge amount of preparation you can do for breaking news commentary. However, there is sometimes the opportunity to prepare a few comments in advance. For example, a government body might announce its intention to release a report in July, giving a few details on what it might contain. From this, you can pre-prepare comments, which can be tweaked on the day as soon as the news breaks. This helps to speed the process up.

Want to find out more about how we can help you jump on the next news wave? Get in touch


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