By Emma Johnstone
As the old saying goes, everyone has one good book in them. And in the same vein, every good business has a story…or perhaps many. It’s just about how you spot them. We work with clients every day who are sitting on little gems of media marvelousness but just don’t know it. So how do you spot a good PR story?
1. Read the media
Make your target publication your bible and read it religiously. It doesn’t go down well to pitch a story to a media outlet that you’ve clearly never read. They’ll spot you at 20 paces. Familiarise yourself with the sections of the paper which are relevant to your business. Identify the journalists who are writing about subjects relevant to you. Then stalk them – in a non-restraining order kind of way. Know what they write about so when it comes to pitch time, you can reference some of their previous articles and why this story is right up their street.
Look at the trends in media and where your business can fit in. Try and jump on the back of big interest stories that everyone is talking about – whether that’s AFL (fitness, sports, injuries, health, footy fever), My Kitchen Rules (cooking, recipes, lifestyle, entertaining, paleo, kitchen) or the Races (fashion, horses, entertaining), make your story topical where you can.
2. Look at your business
Where does your story lie? Is it in your business itself (unique product / service offering) or is it in you (‘local mumpreneur wins award for best newcomer business’). Perhaps the story lies with your clients. Recently we worked with The Sports Injury Clinic (TSIC) to identify a story; a client had been knocked off his bike, overcome horrific injuries (with the help of a team TSIC experts) to compete in the Ironman. A strong and timely human interest story – read it here. Finally look at any trends in your business – have sales gone through the roof recently? What can you attribute that to? For example, blonde hair dye sales are up 25% since Kim Kardashian debuted her new barnet. Or perhaps not.
Either way there might be a fun story. Media love a good, new statistic.
3. Is it timely?
Timing is critical in getting a story up. We often hear of great stories after they’ve happened. Media don’t want to hear about the story with everyone else. They’re one step ahead and are here to tell us what’s happening well in advance. Think about their lead times and make sure you’re letting daily and weekly newspapers know about a story with a couple of weeks up your sleeve, allowing time to arrange photos and interviews. Monthly magazines generally work 3 – 4 months in advance. So when you’re rugging up in winter, they’re stepping into spring.
4. Is it relevant?
It may be a great story to you but is it relevant to the readers of the publication? Put yourselves in the journalist’s shoes. The journalist has no loyalty to you or your business – only to their readers and their publication so make sure your story will add value to them both. A PR story isn’t about seeing how many brand mentions you can get into a story (although it’s splendid if you get a few), if it’s too commercial they won’t run it. It’s about building up loyalty, trust and interest around your brand.
As with most things, success in PR relies largely on preparation. If you spend your time developing a solid story, you shouldn’t have to spend hours chasing it up. Do your homework and the journalist will come to you if interested. Then sit back, pour yourself a cuppa and enjoy seeing your story in print. Nothing quite beats it.