Not every story is a PR story. Although every piece of company news may feel important to you, it’s unlikely to be for busy journalists. When you work at a company you often think that every piece of company news is a news story. But a PR story needs to fit into what journalists want to write about and what people want to read.
Types of PR stories journalists like
Journalists are inundated with pitches. If you want to be covered in quality publications and secure links in high-ranking titles your stories need to be what journalists want to write about.
Cultural awareness dates
Journalists write about what consumers will be talking about. Cultural awareness dates are an easy way to ensure you fit into this. Dates like Blue January, Valentine’s Day and Earth Day are dates journalists will always cover and provide an opportunity for you to pitch a story. If you’re unsure about whether a cultural awareness date is covered by journalists, search for it on Google News and see whether any valuable titles have previously covered it.
It’s all well and good speaking about an industry trend but you need to back it up with evidence for journalists to be interested. Find statistics unique to your company to support the claims you’re making. Look at Google Trends or analyse hashtags on social media to analyse trends. Trend stories work as consumers like knowing what their peers are doing as we’re social creatures.
You should be using your resources to the fullest. One huge resource you have is you. You are an expert in your industry and have a wealth of knowledge. Is there a trend you can predict? Can you provide advice for consumers? Perhaps you can comment on a topical news story? Utilise your expertise to gain media coverage for your business while simultaneously building your profile as an expert in the industry.
Types of PR stories journalists don’t like
Now you know what types of stories will make journalists eye your emails. But what stories will have them deleting them?
Is your business a household name? If not, then it’s unlikely that journalists will care if you’ve hired a new CTO. You will see these announcements for companies like Airbnb, John Lewis and Tesco in the press and think that a journalist would be interested in knowing that Ken, the new CTO has joined the company. However, this unfortunately is not the case. The big brands get this news covered as there is already an interest in the company. Rather than needing a topical link just being a household name makes them the topical link.
But, there are a few times when this may be relevant news even if you’re a startup. Have you hired someone in a unique position? Perhaps you’ve hired a Head of Happiness or a Toy Tester. If so, there could be interest from journalists to interview them or discuss the rise of similar jobs.
Innovative updates can be of interest to journalists. These could include a new product launch, a cutting-edge new app update or a new business implementation that’s linked to topical issues. However, less significant news is very unlikely to interest journalists. Consider asking yourself or friends would you be interested in knowing this about a brand? Company news such as a business partnership with a small to medium-sized company, a small new app feature or an internal policy that’s not topical won’t be seen as news stories by journalists.
Poorly executed stories
PR is a unique form of marketing. That being said, press releases and pitches should be written to communicate with journalists in the clearest, most engaging and easy-to-read way possible. Unlike most marketing materials you’re writing for the journalist, not direct to the consumer. Capture the attention of these time-poor journalists with engaging content with all information provided and relevant links to make their lives as easy as possible. If it’s difficult, they may decide to cover another company.
Journalists write about what readers want to read. In January consumers don’t want to read about the best paddleboard, while in the summer most of us prefer not to hear about the growing number of people going on ski holidays. Make sure your stories are topical and timely.
The best way to discover what journalists want to write about is to read the articles they’re writing. Regularly read a range of publications, listen to radio and podcasts and watch relevant television. Pay attention to where your competitors are being featured, especially those of similar size to yourself.
You can download our free PR calendar for 2023 to discover the cultural awareness hocks you can link PR stories to.