Today (Feb 28th) I was supposed to be speaking at NetworkKent over in Chatham, all about how businesses can harness PR and get journalists interested in their business news.
But the snow fell and everything got cancelled!
I was all prepared to tell you lots of PR info, but even though it’s snowed, I still will! I’ll be talking at the March 28th NetworkKent event instead now, so you can hear more about how to put out good PR, good ways, bad ways, how to get journalists interested in you and your company, the benefits of PR plus some info on Crisis Comms…
It can be hard to get a journalist interested in your business or what you’re doing, but there are ways you can get some editorial coverage by creating your own PR.
Businesses have so many stories – they just can’t see past them as day to day stuff but I can guarantee you, there will be at least one story a month you can get out there as a PR, which will then also give you social media content too.
Many journalists haven’t got the time to look for stories and many will react to stories and ideas that land on their desk that they then see potential in and develop it further with you.
But getting them to see the potential is where writing good PR or presenting the story idea well comes in.
During my time as a news editor on the Medway Messenger news desk, all sorts of press releases came my way and to be honest, if the story wasn’t apparent by the time I’d read the subject line of the email, headline or first two paragraphs, I pretty much moved on. Of course, we missed a few good stories along the way, but when there are so many press releases dropping into the inbox with not much time to separate the wheat from the chaff, each press release gets a quick look to see if there’s any interest before we move on.
Here are some lines that turn newsdesks off of a PR:
Great story…read on (we’ll be the judge of that!)
You don’t want to miss this great news (we do now)
Want to know about a great new XYZ? (Just get to the point)
Kent business woman who left her job after winning tribunal sets up new firm in the county after being the first 60-year-old to have IVF triplets. (Too many stories in one here!)
Lines that turn newsdesks on:
Herne Bay businessman riding 100 miles – a year after cancer battle
Kent PR girl to appear on TV’s The Apprentice
The woman behind the latest beauty craze – created in Rochester
Gravesend accountant invited to advise on Government on XYZ
Dover physiotherapist joining Team GB at World Games
The point I’m making, is get to the point! Let the reporters know the best bits of information first – they don’t need to be teased, they just want to know it, decide if it’s a story and move on!
Adding what we call ‘human interest’ is always what will bring a story to life.
An opening of a new shop, the launch of a new product, an event to celebrate a business’s anniversary etc – are all just ‘free puffs’ – advertising dressed up as editorial…and they won’t make it through the paper sift.
What they need is the human interest angle – why is the shop opening? What’s behind it?
Have they opened a café when they were previously a city CEO and had a total career change?
Did they open an unusual café – one with a supervised soft play so that parents can have free parenting lessons or relaxation in the other room?
Comebacks are also a great story – overcoming adversity, illness etc – we love the underdog to do well in the end!
And…keep it simple. There may be lots of news from your business and you don’t have to get each piece into one PR. Separate them out, keep them shorter and drip-feed them. You will get more bites at the cherry this way, if each is published! Even if they’re not, they are fodder for you to update your own news page on your website, blog and social media timelines.
Next week – how to get your PR in front of journalists.