I was at a holiday party this past weekend and had a chance to talk with some reporters and PR folks. I asked each person what was the biggest problem businesses faced when trying to pitch stories. I was shocked that nearly all of the reporters and PR professionals agreed that finding a compelling story was the one thing businesses had the most trouble doing.
It is always amazing to me that businesses can’t seem to figure out the stories that make them interesting. In that vain, here are five areas of your business where you can find that great story that can turn your press releases into press coverage.
HIGHLIGHT YOUR GOOD DEEDS
There’s one thing that most, if not all, news people bristle at is the perception that all they’re interested in is bad news. It’s just not true. News folks are interested in stories that are not “normal.” Those stories can be good or bad, just not typical. Here’s how this can work for you. Do you as a company raise millions of dollars for a good cause? Do you give away free products to the disadvantaged? If you do, you need get a press release out, stat. You see, you’re not “normal.” There are many businesses out there who don’t do charity so finding one that does is newsworthy. Reporters love positive news stories just as much as bad news stories, and the fact that your company is so charitable is news. Let them know.
What do your employees do when their not working for you? If you don’t know, you should find out. Too many Support and highlight your employees who are doing something super businesses don’t think about how their employees non-work actions can affect them, but it can. Learn about your employees and support them when they do extraordinary stuff. It would be a shame if you had employees that went to the mountains every weekend to help disable kids learn how to ski and you didn’t help them and tell the media about it.
Why do people like working for you? Yes, it might be that you give them 20% more money than anyone else, but more likely it has something to do with your office culture. Do you allow dogs? Do you have flexible hours? Do you have a swimming pool in the main lobby? If you do, I bet a news organization would love to do a story on it.
This area is where most businesses try to get news coverage but fail. The reason is that their products are not interesting. Look, I understand that to a company that makes rugs, using a brand new type of thread is interesting, but to the rest of us its not. If you are using thread, however, that makes your rugs last for 200 years, or makes sure that nothing will ever stain them, or it makes your rugs fly…THAT is genuine innovation. If your company is doing something that makes the average person on the street go “wow,” that’s a reason to let the press know. By the way, that should exclude about 98% of the things businesses are currently writing press releases about now.
Are you an expert in your field? Do you have people on your staff who are experts? I mean real “other folks come to you asking for help” expert, then you should notify the press. Reporters are always looking to stack their Rolodex with experts they can call at a moments notice to help them with a subject. Even better, tie your expertise in with something that is happening in the news. You’d be surprised how often reporters are looking for experts. Writing that press release will let those reporters know that you are the expert they should call.
To be sure, the hard and fast rule about sending out press releases is “less is more.” But by examining these five areas of your business, you might just find a great story which will help you succeed in turning your press releases into genuine news coverage.
*(If you’re interested in hiring me you can go here for more information.)