By Jo Jamieson, Director, Berkeley PR.
Every business wants to get into its key press. Unbiased articles and news stories mentioning your company can have a great effect on its visibility by its key audience and how it is perceived by them.
However, many companies have problems getting the media interested in them in the first place. From a daily broadsheet to a weekly trade magazine, publications will only be interested in your company if your news is newsworthy.
Many businesses simply don’t understand this, and are surprised when they find out that influential journalists couldn’t care less about their news. However, it only takes some small changes, and a bit more awareness of the press, to transform something dull into a leading news story.
Before sending out a news story, a business first needs to understand the audience it is trying to reach and establish what publications they read - trade magazines, national newspapers, online publications or consumer titles.
For example, a telecoms equipment reseller will have a completely different audience to a company selling a GPS tracking system for dogs. This difference would be reflected in the publications their customers read and are influenced by.
At this point it is also worthwhile for a business to agree on the key messages that they want to communicate to their audience, as conflicting messages will dilute the effectiveness of the press coverage.
Once a business has a list of target publications in mind, it then needs to ascertain what type of news those press are interested in. This can be done by quickly looking through the media and making a note of the type of stories that it publishes.
You will quickly see that the press generally like stories that contain one or more of the following key factors: bad news; research; topicality; human interest; or celebrity.
Most news announcements that businesses create have the potential to include one or more of these key factors, but only if they are presented in the right way.
1. Bad news
Although firms are nervous about linking their brand with bad news, remember that every product on the planet has been created to solve a problem. Lead on the problem that people can relate to, and the media will be much more interested.
For example, if company X makes a product that can improve SME efficiency, then the bad news angle would be that firms are wasting time and money, and that through company X’s solution this can be addressed.
Bad news creates much more of a story for the press, and shows your audience that you understand the problems they are facing.
News is only new for a short amount of time. The media wants stories that are linked to current and topical events - a pun-laden headline referencing the current weather conditions or an accounting firm providing businesses with tips to make the end of the tax year less stressful, are a couple of ways this can be done.
2. Human interest
Everyone is interested in a story that may directly affect them. It is this human element that many business-focused news announcements can lack.
By linking a news story to an issue that affects your audience, you stand much more chance of the media finding your story interesting. For example, if you have a product which saves people money, find a willing customer on whom you can base your story.
Surveys are very popular with the media, and can provide a great way to draw attention to a particular issue.
For example, if a business is launching a new service, then a survey around the issues that it addresses would be a great way to increase interest around the launch of the product.
Also, don’t forget that you can survey your customers and prospects for a ready source of research data.
Any kind of link with a celebrity or a well known company is a great way for a business to make its story much more attractive to the media.
For example, a product launch involving a well-known personality or a strategic partnership with a high-street brand, are a couple of ways to include an element of celebrity within a news story.
Almost any story can be made newsworthy, but only if it is written with the publication and audience in mind.
Once you know who you want to reach and what they want to hear about, it becomes much easier to produce content that the media will consider newsworthy.
Combined with other marketing activities, a PR campaign like this can have a great effect on the image of your company and subsequently its bottom line.
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