In our profession we often ask ourselves whether journalists will find a topic interesting enough to write about it, whether our press release will get picked up, whether we have enough meat on the bones.
PR is not an exact science in which specific laws apply to all circumstances. Instead it involves careful consideration and striking the right balance, based on the expertise that was built up and on the specific aspects of the subject or the situation. Starting from scratch every time, because each pitch is different. The topic is different, the spokespeople are different, the situation is constantly evolving, etc. But one thing in PR should always be rock solid and that is your story – in PR we call this a message house. Storytelling is crucial and even a condition for the success of your PR strategy. Everything starts with the information or ‘something new’, but how you package this information and how you formulate your message is just as important, if not more important. It gives your news the X factor that you need in PR.
Every day journalists write stories to inform and inspire their readers. Essentially, you need to do exactly the same thing as a PR manager or consultant. You’re on the right track if you succeed in triggering the journalist, providing them with interesting information, and inspiring them. Remember to take your time. This can be challenging, especially when you need to move quickly. Only go to the media when all the pieces of the puzzle that makes up your story are in place and you have all the answers. You only get one chance after all. Don’t be afraid to ask critical questions. To think out of your own comfortable box. To add (socially-)relevant information to frame your story. Step out of your familiar brand or company bubble and think outside in. Who is your audience and what will make your story interesting to them? What’s in it for them? Your story will only become more solid as a result.
In spite of all this, PR still tends to be regarded as a poor relation and as an extension of marketing campaigns. However well-thought-out and successful this marketing campaign may be, an exact copy-paste to PR often won’t work. Why? Because the laws of PR are different. Journalists detest commercial messages. In PR you need relevant, well-constructed content, with testimonials and compelling proof points. Storytelling, remember?
At Whyte, we help companies and brands develop a message house. Sometimes this requires a little more time and persuasion, but ultimately this approach always delivers better results. To create media impact, you need to look at your story from a PR perspective, rather than a marketing perspective.
How to make your content PR worthy? Stay tuned for our next blog post!
by Annelies Baeten