Having worked as a journalist and as an editor, I can tell you that facts and information do not sell a story. When I had PR consultants or publicists call me and pitch me story ideas by reading off a list of facts and information about their clients, my response was to say thank you and promptly hang up. Facts do not a story make. When a publicist called me with a story that included his or her client I’d listen and if that story related to my reader’s interests, I’d really listen. Without a narrative, I was being pitched an ad, not a possible article.
I’m not alone in that, every journalist, editor and producer looks for the same elements. They look for a story that will interest their readers, viewers or listeners.
Let’s say for example, you’re a plastic surgeon and you have your PR company pitch the media a list of the procedures you offer. Boring. Anyone can do that. Once again, you have your firm pitching an ad, a commercial, not a news story. But, if you find a patient who is willing to speak to the media, who is having a unique procedure which can be videotaped, you now have the makings of a story. We did that a while back and landed a spot on a national daytime talk show.
Or, say you’re a producer and have finished your new film, and want to get the word out, not only to the public, but also to distributors and possible investors for your upcoming projects. You can have your firm send out a press release saying you’ve finished your new film and hope that the media somehow finds that compelling, Chances are 99% that they won’t. Or you can come up with a story about the behind the scenes making of the film, create an event where you’ll show the film, or tie the film in with some foundation or charity,
Or let’s say you run a cosmetics company, again you can have your PR representative send out a release on the new products you have. Who knows you might land some coverage, or you can get creative and come up with an actual story. A company that we worked with sold a concealer product, we launched a campaign targeted towards the women’s and bride’s publications on women who used the concealer to cover up their tattoos. The company found women who were willing to take before and after photos and tell their stories. There was a story. The media loved it.
The same is true whether you’re a video game designer, a painter, an attorney, a musician or… you get the idea. The same is true no matter what you do. No matter how fascinating you think what you do is- nine times out of ten, pitching what you do is not going to be enough to interest the media. You need to come up with stories to pitch. Sometimes they are going to feel forced, it’s not going to feel like what you do. But your objective here isn’t to show the media a day in the life or a day at the office, the point is to give the media a good story.
I’m not suggesting that you to turn yourself inside out, be inauthentic or present yourself as something you’re not. But I am telling you that if you want your PR campaign to be truly effective, you need to get creative, which means getting involved, which often means getting out of your comfort zone. Work as a team with your PR firm.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013