No matter how hard you try, how loudly you shout, or how often you email the media, Company Wins Contract is not a story, nor, generally, is Company Appoints Person nor Company Makes Profit.
We understand the problem. Inside your company world, all these events would certainly be seen as news. A big contract win is exciting for all involved, as indeed is the appointment of a senior person or an increase in profits. But to the rest of us, and that includes the media, none of these events is news. Indeed, they are rather routine. After all, yours would be an odd sort of business if you didn’t regularly, and therefore routinely, win contracts, hire people and earn profits.
One of the main reasons why there is such tension between journalists and PR practitioners is that the latter insist on trying to sell non-stories to the former ad nauseam. Nine times out of ten this is not because the PR people involved really believe they have a story, but they have been forced into that position by their clients (who pay their bills) and are simply following orders. Happily, you will not find such pusillanimity at Aspectus PR. We tell our clients the truth when we are asked to market a non-story that won’t work. Indeed we see it as a key part of the job to help them develop stories that will work and carry their key PR messages at the same time.
So how do you go about creating news and stories that will translate into coverage? A good part of the job is down to the black art of PR (we wouldn’t be in business if it was easy). But it helps if you understand some broad principles. First, think about what goes on inside your customers’ heads. What really matters to them? What do they worry about? What excites them? It won’t be your products and services in themselves. Start to focus on issues like risk, reward and opportunity.
Second, understand that journalists have no loyalties except to themselves, their publications and, above all, their readers. They are not interested in you or your company per se. They deal in terms of stories and ideas, anything that will spark a decent piece of copy.
The trick is to deliver something that will get into the heads of your target audience, interest journalists enough to follow it up and at the same time carry one or more of your key PR messages.
The Holy Trinity of PR.