Budget Day is no easy task for any PR professional. Not only is there vital preparation needed beforehand, but the day itself can often present its challenges as we’re listening out for different announcements for all our clients and trying to respond as soon as they are mentioned. But, while it may not always be the smoothest of journeys, time flies as budget day is filled with excitement and speculation, and it’s extremely rewarding to see the hard work pay off.
Being thorough both pre and post Budget is key, and so I’ve put together some thoughts on how PRs can survive these announcements and deliver best client outcomes.
The Run Up
Social media can be a powerful tool for monitoring possible Budget rumours and predictions. Not only are you able to get a feel of what journalists are looking for, but often some of the detail of the Budget is leaked early. Similarly, the weekend papers are another great way of digesting the various rumours and the likelihood of them occurring.
When it comes to preparation, flagging predictions and rumours to clients early is key. This will help to inform their views, and allow you to get a greater understanding of the topics they wish to comment on. It also allows you time to draft up comments ahead of time, so you can start the approval process. I, like the majority of PRs, like to be prepped for all the possible outcomes, so it’s worth drafting up comments for all the potential outcomes. This means that once the announcement is made, you’re able to react as quickly as possible, with minimal edits needed.
Be bold. We all know that journalists’ get inundated with emails on Budget Day, so it’s important to make sure your commentary but also your email stands out. Ensure to make your subject line clear, and to specifically say the measure it is you’re commenting on.
On the Day
Brain food is key. Particularly as these announcements always fall around lunchtime, get yourself whatever snack and drink will give you the energy to power through. Also, make sure that you’ve got someone to cover each client during the announcement. While this year was different and we weren’t able to all sit around the same table in the office with our various snacks, simple things like setting up a slack channel where you can share relevant news is really helpful.
Given that commentary is always published on a fastest fingers first basis, having your client on speed dial to sign off any last minute changes is crucial. Ensuring they know that they need to be on standby to give you the green light before issuing any response, will mean you’re ready to respond almost instantly, which will ultimately improve your chances of securing coverage.
Check the full Budget document following the event as the devil is in the detail. With only a limited amount of time to speak, there’s often extra measures that were only briefly mentioned in the announcement itself, or in fact missed, which could be key details for clients. By scanning through the full document, you will ensure that no page is left unturned.
The Budget may only take place on one day, but its impact is felt both over the short and long-term. Asking your clients questions such as were there any missed opportunities in the Budget, or any measures you’d hoped to have seen introduced, can help facilitate follow up angles and lead to further PR opportunities.
Above all, preparation is key. The more prepared you are for the day itself, the smoother things will go on the day and the more fun you will have. I’m sure every PR professional can agree that their first Budget is a daunting task, but the buzz you get out of it is definitely worth it, and it soon comes to be one of those days you get excited about!