We’ve all been there. You want to generate press coverage to promote your company but it’s proving difficult to generate interesting angles month after month. And your releases really do need to be newsworthy. You’ll soon lose credibility with journalists if you continually send press releases that are thinly disguised self-promotion pieces – and when you send them ‘real’ news they may ignore it.
To co-inside with Valentine’s Day this year, we’re giving you 14 great tips for generating news so your pipeline of high-quality press releases will always be full.
New starters/job moves
Not all publications will take people moves stories but some media titles do and they may even have dedicated sections. So keep on top of who’s in, who’s out and who’s moving about, and produce a release to make sure the press and the market knows what’s happening within your organisation.
As experts in your market you should have on-going views about what’s happening within it. The more intelligent, strategic or controversial your opinions, the more attractive it will be to the press. So if you’ve got a CEO who doesn’t mind speaking his mind you might be onto a press release gold mine!
Piggy-backing on other stories
This is similar to opinion pieces but in this case you’ll spot an existing story and put out a comment. Contradict sentiment and you may have an interesting piece on your hands. But be sure you can back it up – don’t say something with no substance simply for the sake of stoking the fire!
New product releases are often of interest to the press. Make sure you include a list of features and benefits, highlighting the most important. Choose the main benefit to the customer to include in the headline and you are ready to press go!
Research & Information
The press love original research and statistics. The more in-depth the better and studies looking at a subject from an original angle are preferred. Keep an eye on accuracy and get consent/approval by your client or anyone mentioned by name. And if you include data from other studies, make sure you reference them appropriately, else you could be heading for trouble!
This type of story does not usually create exciting news headlines. However, combined with an interesting reason for the move – for example, the creation of new jobs, a merger, or expansion – rather than simply changing buildings, and press interest can take on a whole new turn.
Customer case studies
The press love real life case studies and so do readers. Stories of this kind can be very hard to get hold of and take a lot of perseverance on the part of the PR. But if well written, current, and accompanied with a photo and quote from the subject then the coverage can be significant.
These days most organisations are able to pull all sorts of interesting data from their in-house systems to help them learn about and service their customers more efficiently. What may seem like lots of random numbers and mindboggling data can usually be transformed into interesting facts and revelations that will give insight into market trends. Remember to be unbiased and show the good with the bad – but perhaps not the ugly!
Most sectors and industries today are regulated to some degree and have to adhere to plenty of rules and regulation changes. Although this subject can be complex, it also means there are plenty of topics to comment on. By keeping abreast of what’s coming up and imminent deadlines – your spokespeople can be the first to provide authoritative comment on new rules and be positioned as thought leaders.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives
More and more businesses now see CSR as part of their responsibility to help manage and enhance the economic and environmental area that surrounds them. As part of an integrated and strategic marketing plan, CSR can create value for both the business and society. Approaches to this vary, but if your organisation is doing some interesting things on the CSR front, it can make for great PR. Coverage can also be on-going if the CSR activity has medium or long-term benefit goals for the recipients.
If your company launches into a new territory it can make headlines, particularly if there is an international angle. Plus, you can usually get a few ‘stabs’ at it e.g. ‘will be moving into new territories in quarter one’, ‘we can now announce/confirm’ ‘we are open for business’. This type of press release announcement often gets picked up with enthusiasm and is worth maximising.
If one of your business leaders speaks at a high profile event, much of the PR will be done for you as part of the organiser’s promotions without you lifting a finger – happy days! However, you may still be able to get still get some ‘additional mileage’ if, for example, you send out key points/notes from the speech and presentation after the event has closed. Some organisers may not allow this so it is important to check first.
Award wins are great but there are a couple of problems when it comes to promoting them. Firstly, they are usually tied to a publication, so any competitors or rivals will not be too keen to publish the information. And second, ‘blowing your own trumpet’ is not seen as an attractive quality in the PR world! However, that said – the potential for pick-ups does exist, especially if you can craft your angle to be less focussed on the award and more on the benefits behind why it was won.
Sponsorship is a special kind of public relations and increasingly popular with larger businesses. It can involve a one off event or something more long-term to build brand awareness. There are examples of sponsorship PR in the media and if the objective is to emphasise social or ethical credentials (rather than a commercial one) there will be a better chance of pick-ups. As with any release, timing is key to make sure your press release is not lost because other important headlines come out at the same time.
PR is a science that demands time, organisation and dedication. But with so many potential press angles your pipeline of releases and monthly coverage statistics should always be healthy.