In this post our our blog PR expert Lesley Singleton suggests you look at the story behind you & your business to see if there is something newsworthy to say.
As competition for space in newspapers and magazines is fierce, I’ve spoken before about the importance of thinking laterally when it comes to trying to generate press coverage for your business. As seen recently on Channel Four’s Cutting Edge documentary, newspapers and magazines are crying out for true life stories and often businesses don’t realise that looking at the people behind their brand can help generate some excellent exposure, on both a regional and national level.
Genuine case studies, whilst often making great standalone features, are also often used by journalists to illustrate wider pieces as they really help engage the reader, who often finds an affinity with a ‘real’ person rather than a celebrity. For example, when Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes recently announced the end of their relationship, at least four major national publications set out looking for real life married couples who worked together, to talk about how they handle working with the one they love. It wasn’t an “obvious” piece of PR for their company, but their brands were mentioned and given a very real human face.
When looking for news hooks, I always advise clients to speak to the people within their company – there might be some hidden gems in terms of unusual hobbies outside of work, extraordinary events which led those people to work there or something amazing lurking in their past which could make an intriguing read. It might be the case that your business was founded after a major event, or perhaps your business idea was born on a life-changing holiday.
Alternatively, you might have a customer who uses your product for an unusual purpose or who has an interesting story related to it. Even the simplest stories can turn into major features – I once contributed a client to a feature in Fabulous magazine, about couples who had met whilst wearing strange outfits: my client was a scuba diving school and the instructor had met his wife, twenty metres below sea level, whilst they were both wearing full scuba equipment!
You can approach journalists and newspapers directly with an outline of your story. They will want a rough outline of the story, along with personal details (name, age, occupation, town, marital status etc.). They’ll usually always want to see a photograph of you before they decide if they’re going to publish the story – this helps them gauge whether or not their readers would relate to you – and usually if they go ahead with the piece, they will want to take some photographs to accompany it.