Why and how to PR your story

You’ve done something great and you’ve given yourself a pat on the back. Now it’s time to shout it from the rooftops. The very first question to ask yourself is: why do you want to PR your story? Let’s be clear about one thing. If it’s just about vanity then... Let. It. Go.

Consider first the story value. Achieving valuable print and online coverage in respected media outlets is not a challenge for the fainthearted! So make it count. Will it increase brand awareness? Footfall? Bookings? Your bottom line?

Let’s delve a little deeper…

How to PR your story

Speaking plainly: is your story truly interesting? Great PR is about great stories. We listen to stories from our earliest years and entertain ourselves with them our whole lives. We’re natural born storytellers. You wouldn’t bore a friend with a dull anecdote, so don’t risk alienating a journalist.

Brand identity

Before you begin, your company should have a clear brand identity. Think of the business as a person, and describe them in pithy sentences, which we’ll call ‘key messages’. Your brand narrative should shine out of every piece of communication that is sent, said, emailed, texted, recorded and published from your business.

The story of your brand is what you are selling. Ultimately it is what your customers, employees and suppliers will buy into. It is the thing that makes people spend their time and money with you, rather than your competitors. Use your key messages to tell your story and demonstrate its relevance and timeliness to a journalist and their audience. NB be contextual - nobody wants you to reel off company jargon.

The 5 W’s and an H

Who. What. Why. When. Where and How. These are the basic questions that every journalist seeks to answer in each story they write. Tick them off a checklist as you write.

The inverted triangle

Imagine your story is a funnel where all the juicy info is at the top and the further down you go the more peripheral the content. Combine this tactic with the one above to nail your news writing.

Piggyback the news agenda

Back to basics here: remember that news has to be about NEW and current things. Keep up with current affairs and piggyback on world or business events, the seasonal calendar, celebrity links and trends.

Perhaps you’ve seen a story about the ‘new’ Prosecco. Maybe Veganuary is on the horizon. Possibly a celebrity in the spotlight has recently visited your venue. There’s always a way to weave a timely reference into your story.

Watch your language

Ditch the jargon! Journalists are trained to write stories in the same style as they would tell it to their friends in the pub. Do the same. Your boardroom might appreciate buzzwords, but your friends would find it hilarious. Be real or risk having your story spiked - or as we might say: ‘filed in the bin’.

Data storytelling

Everyone loves a good stats-based story. It is the evidence that gives the story its legs. Be alert to trends when examining your booking data, listening to your customers for anecdotal input, or reading industry reports. Add your personal analysis - why does it matter and what does it mean for you, your customers and others in your industry?

Your opinion is interesting and valuable, because it is unique and you’re an expert in your field. But be thorough. If there are holes to be picked, they will be found.

Attributable quotes

Let your quotes flow as if the person is truly speaking. Great writing comes from great reading and listening. Allow the human behind the role to come alive. The most striking and memorable quotes are ones that can be read in the voice of the person. These are the ones a journalist will print. People respond to people. People buy from people.

PR case studies

The holy grail of PR. A brilliant case study tells the most honest and interesting story. It reinforces your key messages. If you have willing customers or clients, don’t let the opportunity pass. Ask the most searching questions you dare, and get their clearance on their quotes before the moment goes. A press release with a case study is worth 10 without.

Working with journalists

Remember, your ultimate goal is to use PR to talk persuasively to the people who will buy your services. The first line of defence between you and the people are journalists. So treat them with respect and credit them with intelligence. They are discerning, unforgiving and busy people. Study their likes and dislikes, and approach with care. Tailor each approach to the individual. There’s a saying about journalists and elephants but I can’t quite remember how it goes…

Stand-out subject lines

Make it zing! Journalists receive literally hundreds of emails a day. They are simply not going to have time to open every one. So be persuasive, be different, be controversial, be interesting. Make it the last thing you write so you have a full sense of the scope of the story. It’s the most important line in the whole piece.

Ready to PR your story?

Good luck with getting your story to land. We’re here to help if you’d like more advice, to commision us for a one-off piece of work, or perhaps to hire us on a retained basis. We’re flexible. Let’s talk.