The cornerstone of successful media relations lies as much in timing as it does in substance. Journalists are under immense pressure to deliver the news the moment it happens, so if you respond slowly to a breaking news story, the opportunity to get coverage slips. By developing stories and commentary that relate to news as it’s happening, you help reporters out.

Here’s a cracking example. At Definition, when we recruit for writers, we set them a challenge: “In 300 words, tell us the secret of good writing”. Then we use the responses to shortlist candidates for interview.

Shortly after ChatGPT went live, Neil Taylor, one of our brand and tone of voice experts, had an idea. He wanted to see if AI could write something good enough to earn an interview. So he asked our media relations team whether we could talk about it to the press, and if so, when. Together they decided to wait and see whether it got through the sift – that way, the story would have a beginning, middle and end.

So he got ChatGPT to generate a few answers to the challenge, and secretly added them to the pile for the hiring team to read. Sure enough, one of the responses got ChatGPT an interview.

The idea itself made an excellent case study, which journalists love. But more importantly, the timing was perfect – ChatGPT was EVERYWHERE, and everyone was wondering whether it would take our jobs. This little experiment directly linked to that conversation, which made it an irresistible catch for journalists. We pitched the story right away, resulting in feature coverage in Fortune, Sky News, Business Insider, The Next Web, Mashable and more.

Another critical element was Neil’s availability to speak to the press. Sky News and The Evening Standard wanted to talk to him within hours of the pitch going out. Neil was flexible with his time, which led to podcast coverage the following morning.

Timing is everything – use it to your advantage and your brilliant idea will go even further.

Written by Katie Chodosh, Head of Media Relations at Definition.