If you're doing your own PR, you need to know how to get journalists to take notice of your business.
What journalists are looking for
- First off, you need to understand what makes news news. If you know what makes journalists tick, you'll be a lot closer to giving them a story they can use.
- Needs to involve something unusual, rare or unexpected.
- Must be a very recent occurrence, or there have been a new development. Old news is not news!
- Quotes make a story: make sure someone can give comments or further detail on the story.
- Rags to riches (=poverty to wealth) stories or unexpected changes in life direction are good - an ex-City banker who suddenly decided he wanted to run a Caribbean market food stall recently got a lot of coverage because his change of direction brought a smile to people's faces.
- Any socially-aware or environmental angle to your business is hot news right now - but don't stretch the truth (=lie a little). No one's going to write about you because you've decided to buy an eco-friendly boiler and recycle your paper - it needs to be bigger than that.
- A completely new, highly innovative (=original, new, different) or whacky (=unusual, crazy) product should fare well if it's interesting to the public.
- If you're targeting local press, you need a strong local angle - either that your business is rejuvenating (=renewing) or benefiting the community in some way.
- Awards won at a national level also often warrant stories in local papers.
- Everybody loves the underdog (=the little guy, the one not expected to win). If you can position yourself as a new upstart set to compete with huge, multinational companies, people will warm to you - if you get it right without seeming cocky (=overly confident) or unrealistically hopeful, that is. Think of Richard Branson in his early years.
How can you get your business in the press?