23/05/2011

Listen Up!

By Louise Findlay-Wilson, Creator of PrPro and owner of Energy PR

It’s been hard to miss the media furore around super injunctions, with the rich and powerful resorting to the law to keep themselves out of the news.

However the average company faces quite a different problem. No one’s interested in them. They struggle to catch their media’s eye. Their news is hardly ever carried. They’re never called on to comment. They want to be in the media more...not less!

Sure these businesses don’t have the mass appeal of an errant footballer caught playing away when he should be playing at home! But why are such businesses incapable of getting even their specialist or local media interested in their news?

When I dig a little deeper I typically find that these media pariahs are routinely breaking the following cardinal rules:

Pass the ‘So What’ Test

News that’s important to you doesn’t necessarily matter to your target audience (or therefore to the media that serves it). So any news you are going to put out must pass the ‘So What’ test. If you can’t see why your audience (the viewer, listener, reader) will care about your news, then the media certainly won’t either.

Know Your Media

Before you start pitching your stories look, listen to or read the media concerned. Get familiar with their style, topics and journalists. If you can’t see how your kind of news or views could fit in, the editor will struggle too.

Marshall Your Story

Ensure the ‘news’ is up front in your news release. The editor’s busy, they’ve got to immediately ‘get’ your story. That means the ‘who, what, why, when, where and how’ need to be in the first paragraph. Subsequent paragraphs then build on this, adding in more detail.

Make Contact

Don’t simply email your news to editors and hope. You will massively increase your chance of success if you speak to journalists. They’re not all Paxman-like! So, having put out news, do a phone follow up with key media targets — this gives you an opportunity to ‘sell in’ the story and to elevate it from everything else that’s sitting in the journalist’s inbox.

Pitch Perfect

During the follow up you should pitch your story. The first paragraph of your news release will be the essence of what you pitch - if you find it doesn’t make for a compelling pitch...go back and rewrite it! Your news release is obviously not cutting the mustard.

Also during the pitch remember to demonstrate that you’ve looked or listened to the media in question. It’s flattering and will warm them to you.

Keep It Up

Putting out one news story and then when no one runs with it, deciding PR is not for you is plain wrong. If we had the same attitude when we first tried to drive, none of us would be motorists. You must persist...you will become better at it and you will get results.

If you want to find out more about how you can make your business famous visit www.prpro.co.uk or contact me Louise@prpro.co.uk / 01993 825916 / @louisefw

Join us on