The A-Z of winning PR
Last week I covered the A-M of winning PR, so continuing with that theme here are my thoughts on N-Z.
NEWSWORTHY. Does your story pass the “so what?” test? You can find out more about this in our blog “What makes a story newsworthy?”
OVER-EGG. While it’s true that journalists love hyperbole, resist the temptation to over-egg your story Don’t claim something is the “biggest-ever” if it’s not. Likewise be careful about using words like ‘best’ or ‘greatest’ because they are not easily quantifiable. Who says its the best?
PROOF-READING. A story full of typos (or literals as they are called by journalists) will do nothing to enhance your reputation. If you’re not sure on a spelling then check it before you send.
More ideas for improving your news writing skills
QUALITY NOT QUANTITY. Less often is more, in the PR world. Sending out 20 poorly worded, thinly disguised adverts for your business is likely to do more harm than good as eventually the recipient will simply ignore your emails. Better to send one fantastic, interesting, well-written story a month which is used, than 20 that are binned.
RESULTS. How do you measure the success of your PR campaign? Well, you could compare it with a similar sized advert, but you’re probably missing the greater picture if you do. PR is considered the most effective form of self-promotion because it’s more credible than an advert. It’s not in-your-face advertising, it’s a subtle but effective way of validating your company’s message.
What else can you do to achieve winning PR?
SOCIAL MEDIA. If you have a story that’s worth telling then share your news on social media. Make the most of people’s desire to spend half their lives on Facebook! Learn how to make the most of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat – there are some amazing training courses out there so book yourself on one!
TIMING. Make sure you know when your target papers and magazines are published and when the deadlines are. The earlier you get your story to them, the greater the chance that it’s printed in its entirety. If it arrives an hour before it goes to print then there is probably no space left for your news! Two hours before and it might get used to fill a corner spot that has nothing on it yet. Two days before then you’ll probably get the whole story used.
UNIQUE. If you have a unique story then there’s a real reason for it to be used. People love to learn something they didn’t know before.
And now the last few ideas to help you win at PR
VISUALS. These days most stories are also put online – and that calls for a strong visual. A stunning, eye-catching photo adds real value to your story but there is an art to capturing a newsworthy picture. Rod Kirkpatrick wrote a fantastic blog on the subject which is worth reading.
WORD COUNT. Again, you must know your target market. A small, local newspaper probably won’t want a 3,000-word story if most of their leads (you know what that is now!) are less than 500. Then again, a glossy county magazine which has several six-page features in will be unimpressed with anything fewer than a few thousand words. That said, don’t waffle on and add superfluous information to pad your story out. The sub-editor will not thank you for making his task harder!
XTREME. I already said don’t over-egg your story but if it really is the biggest Easter Egg ever made then go ahead and shout it out! That’s why you see headlines every October warning that “Coldest Winter Ever” is on its way and then again in March we are promised “The Hottest Summer in History”.
YES (please). Hopefully, if you follow our simple guide to effective PR and news writing you’ll hear this more and more when you offer your copy.
Z CARS. A fantastic programme from the 60s and 70s. #BringbackZcars (Ok, ! admit it, the Z got me stumped but I’d love to hear your suggestions for a cool Z word that would work here!)