Top tips for seeing your story in lights

By Angela Bensemann, Director Halo Communications

A fluffy PR piece disguised as a media release does not make news. The media won’t run it because it’s not news and your company can lose credibility. Information about your new business idea is better promoted through a clever marketing and promotions campaign. It’s a waste of time and effort to pretend otherwise.

So, before you invest in a media release…

  1. Check your motives (some might say objectives) are you genuinely wanting to share something of public interest?
  2. Make sure what you want to talk about is newsworthy. The fact you have a new product or service might be exciting to you but it’s hardly news unless:
    • it’s ground-breaking
    • solves a national or international problem
    • you’re quirky or have overcome immense odds to develop your product.
  3. Work out who you’re targeting with your story and develop a relationship with the journalists that talk to your audience. What is of interest to their readers, and how would they like the information (written media release, bullet points, interview with you?).
  4. Be clear about the key facts and provide the most important information first.
  5. Be open and transparent, be prepared to answer the hard questions – the publication might want to pursue a totally different angle from the one you want to focus on.
  6. Be available for follow up calls – do not put out a media release the week you are going on leave. Nothing will kill your story faster than your unavailability.
  7. Provide a photo/video opportunity. You have a far greater chance of having your story picked up if there’s great visuals to go with it.

As a longer-term strategy, think about building relationships with media letting them know you’re the ‘go-to’ person for comment in your field of expertise. That way they’ll come to you to provide helpful insight or perspective on the issue of the day. You’ll be raising your profile at the same time as providing comment on issues others are genuinely interested in.