What is newsworthy, and what is boring garbage unworthy of a journalist’s time, energy, or attention? Tom Farthing, our media relations specialist, explains how to get the media to sit up and take notice.
At a time when PRs outnumber journalists by an estimated four to one, there’s a lot of competition for the media’s attention. There’s significant pressure on journalists to keep a 24 hour-news cycle going with fewer resources – and getting the coverage your clients need can occasionally feel like a Hunger Games-style battle royale.
Nonetheless, as a B2B PR agency, we know there are some tried and tested ways to get the media’s attention. Here are the most important.
Stories hooked tonews
Having a news hook for your story lets journalists know why they should cover your story now, rather than later. Hooks can include national and global events, notable anniversaries (usually with a “5” or “0” at the end), breaking news or reports – as well as generally timely topics such as Christmas shopping, students going back to school and Black Friday.
Great example:Meditation app Calm released a reading of GDPR to its collection of Sleep Stories, one day before the regulation was put into effect. Full story here.
Surveys with insightful data
Surveys are good sources of news content because they can tap into the thing that newspapers are always trying to recognize: public opinion. Typically, national papers and outlets request over 1,000 respondents to make the data newsworthy, but if your target audience or subject matter are more niche, a smaller survey can also provide valuable insight. It’s all about finding that killer question.
Great example: Expense management solutions firm Chrome River released a survey on expense report fraud and found that expense report cheating is much higher among men than women. You can read the full story in Forbes.
Business owners are naturally cautious and don’t like to stick their heads above the parapet – especially when they appear in magazines.
This is understandable: nobody wants to offend a potential customer. Nonetheless, opinion articles aren’t designed to be bland, placid fence-sitting observations of the kind you might find on a Wikipedia page. Editors want strong, thought-provoking opinions that you can support with research and insight. Give them what they want, and you’ll boost your profile.
Great example: Jackie Ashley, president of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge wrote an important piece about exam stress for The Guardian, using a guinea pig exercise as the unlikely hook.
Customer case studies
A good case study provides the perfect unbiased rationale for the service you’re providing. Many outlets will often be interested in speaking to your customers as they can offer clear insights into why your business is so great at doing what it does. This also opens up a greater range of possibilities to have your company covered in media as correspondents or trade press are more likely to want to hear from businesses within their sector (not suppliers) as that will resonate with their readers.
Great example: Computer Weekly gave a whole profile slot to enterprise resource planning company Epicor on their work with WD-40.
Good picture stories
Surprising or engaging images are few and far between: the same stock images are rolled out repeatedly for business stories – so much so that editors are likely to get bored of them. If you can provide an infographic that illustrates your story or data in an interesting way, or if you concoct an image of something original or striking, you’ll have a stronger chance of getting your story published.
Great examples: The Atlantic does a great weekly roundup of the best photos of the week, profiling everything from World No Tobacco Day to the ESL One Dota 2 Major tournament.
Themes outside of your sector
Incorporating broader themes that relate to a larger audience will make your story more relevant to more people. Too many businesses become insular and self-centred: the benefit of working with an agency is that it helps broaden that perspective and engage with a broader range of people.
Some good B2B focused examples that companies across multiple sectors might be interested in include staff productivity, cyber security, GDPR, blockchain as well as broader financial, HR, societal and economic issues that have an impact on people throughout the world every day.
Journalists often use social media to research stories, to find people to speak to, and to see what topics are trending in different sectors. Having a strong social feed that has a consistent stream of useful, meaningful opinions and a distinct tone of voice that links to useful resources, is necessary for reporters or researchers looking for angles. It’s also often the place where key introductions are often made.
Companies are usually keen to go straight for national press, neglecting trade and vertical publications. But national reporters often like to see coverage in vertical press, as this proves that you have specific expertise and insight into topics which may be relevant to bigger stories.
Great example: Frazer Fearnhead, CEO and co-founder The House Crowd wrote for finance and fintech news website Altfi on what interest rates mean for peer to peer lending.
To discuss how to get media attention for your business, talk to us today.