Have a fabulous news story that could take your company’s profile to the next level, but don’t know what to do next? Even in this turbulent media environment a good yarn is always in demand – if you know how to sell it! Here’s a few tips to get you started:
- Find the best angle: A great story can be lost if you can’t find the right hook to reel your readers in. This is the most interesting part of your story – the part that will make potential clients or customers stop and take notice. Have that angle clear in you mind and lead with it, allowing all subsequent information to flow naturally from this point. Remember, journalists – especially in this competitive digital age – don’t have time to dig for a story and won’t read more than a few paragraphs if their attention isn’t grabbed immediately. So don’t bury your lead!
- Check your work: The best story in the world can be ruined by grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Check your work thoroughly – don’t just rely on spell-check – and then turn it over to a trusted colleague to do likewise.
- Picture makes perfect: Never underestimate the value of a great picture to attract attention and complement your story. Happy snaps don’t count and will only make you look cheap and unprofessional. While plain office desk shots can be boring and uninformative.
- Know your target audience: Releasing a story about ground-breaking agricultural technology to a fashion magazine, for example, isn’t going to get you anywhere. Do your research and know which mediums are most likely to reach your target audience. Also, regardless of your company’s image, don’t fall into the trap of thinking your words need to be overly sophisticated or technical. You want to appeal to a broad market, not alienate potential customers or clients.
- Pick a charismatic spokesperson and make sure they’re available: After receiving a release, media organisations will often want someone they can interview themselves. It’s best if that person is confident, compelling, intimately acquainted with the subject matter and – most importantly – available. Journalists will often lose interest if replies are not immediately forthcoming.
Still overwhelmed? Don’t worry, a public relations professional can help by handling all this and more – giving you the best possible chance to have your message heard.
Alex Murdoch is a senior journalist with Dynamic Focus PR. Alex has worked as a journalist for The Courier Mail and AAP and has had articles published in the Daily Telegraph, Sun Herald, Financial Review and London’s Daily Mail.