Ever scrambled around to find PR opportunities to raise the profile of yourself and your business to get media coverage?
News stories are a great way to get coverage in the press and media. But, creating news stories that journalists will love can sometimes feel like feast or famine – some months news stories might pop up all over the place, the next month – nothing.
The Key to Giving Journalists What they Want
So, how do some individuals and businesses manage to maintain a consistently high profile? Bigger businesses may well have considerable budgets and a dedicated Public Relations team but that does not mean that such media coverage is out of reach for smaller businesses. The key is to have an understanding of what journalists are looking for and to give that to them consistently, in a way that serves their purposes as well as yours.
Planning Your News Stories
You probably have a number of news stories but you might not realise it. And, you’ll certainly have the potential to ‘create’ news stories to get noticed. That’s exactly what the big boys do – they find a way to get noticed, they ‘create’ stories. So, you have to think about it from both perspectives. You need to capture the news stories you have and that you know will be coming along. And, you have to think about what you can do to ‘create’ a news story too.
Let’s be clear,’creating’ doesn’t mean making it up. It simply means understanding what journalists want from you and then packaging what you have in a way that fits with that. So, where do you start?
First, have a good understanding of what journalists want. Second, list down the obvious news stories you have or you know are coming up. Third, think about things you can do to ‘create’ a news story. Check out the list below for help to pin down the stories you might already have as well as those you can ‘create’ to get media coverage.
30 Ideas for finding and ‘creating’ your news stories
Any of the following would provide a ‘hook’ , or reason, for a news story that you could use to promote your business and get media coverage:
- being the first to do something
- launch of new service
- opening new premises
- new appointments
- staff promotions
- change of premises
- being on the shortlist for awards
- winning awards
- sponsoring awards
- sponsoring events or individuals
- staff charity fund raising efforts
- partnership arrangements
- contract win/new business
- taking on new position/responsibilities (for example, for a local community group or network)
- launching an initiative
- collaborating with other businesses and organisations
- working with the local community
- launching an information guide/book
- launching an awards scheme
- supporting a charity
- major achievements – announcements of business growth and development
- events that you host – open days, information seminars, workshops
- speaker opportunities – and using those to make announcements
- results of research carried out
- milestones – 1000th customer, significant birthday of staff, significant achievement with a client. You can use milestones in all sorts of ways. They might be milestones to do with your business, to do with your sector, to do with the local or wider community
- anniversaries – 1, 5, 10 years in business. Again, you might also be able to tie in to an anniversary that is relevant to someone else or another business/organisation
- stunts – this one needs careful handling but there is always scope for doing something unusual that gets you noticed
- seasonal ideas – there are some things that happen every year. Knowing that means that you can do things, or time announcements, to get more attention. For example, if you are creating some sort of Mums’ pamper service then you would launch it for the lead up to Mother’s Day for maximum impact. Think the things that happen each and every year that are relevant to your business and how you can use them
- on the back of a news story or current trend/theme – think about what is being talked about at the moment and how you might be able to tap into that. For example, sporting events, General Elections, Presidential Elections
- getting profile from well known personalities – getting the biggest ‘A’ List star to help launch your latest product or service isn’t realistic. But, maybe there’s something you do that can be tied in in some way. I remember reading a story about a cake competition – the winner built a life size cake of Prince George. Now, that was certainly, visuallly, amazing. And, it’s something that gets talked about too.
And, here’s a bonus idea.
Be remarkable – do something so totally amazing that people just have to talk about it. If you do then I’ll guarantee that right there you will have a cracking news story.
You then need to put it all into a calendar. It’s important too to do your research to find the right journalists who will be interested in your news story. For any news story you will need to tailor your approach to make it as relevant as possible. The news hook is one part of it, you also need to include other elements the journalist will want such as human interest.
So, if you are targeting local, national, regional, trade press and media then you will need press releases that are tweaked for each of those, tailored for their specific audiences.
When you do have a news story then make the most of it by promoting it to the audiences that matter to you via: your email subscriber list, your website, Slideshare, social networks etc. You’ll want to present the story tailored for them. Don’t just send them the press release or send them a link to it. They need the information presented differently.
In a nutshell: Your news story has to add value and be relevant to a journalist’s audience. But, finding a reason for a story isn’t as difficult as you might think – you have very many news stories, it’s just a matter of spotting them and packaging them in the right way.
So, what’s your next news story coming up and how are you going to package that for your key journalists?
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Debbie Leven is a PR Coach who works with small business service providers to help get them noticed on and offline to build their visibilty, their brand and their business.
Image credit: Debbie Leven