FOR anyone wanting to build brand awareness, good publicity remains a cornerstone of the wider PR strategy.

While it’s easier than ever to employ digital marketing and messaging to promote and engage, it’s all the more effective when tied-in with the bigger PR picture – and publicity, in print or online, gives a third party seal of approval that money can’t buy (and that consumers trust).

So, what’s the secret? How do you get your story published? How do you get on the radio or TV? How do you become the industry expert the media call up for comment?

Well, first of all – you have to be newsworthy.

Now that might sound obvious, but you’d be amazed at how often the mark is missed.

And the key factor in whether your press release gets picked up or spiked is newsworthiness

You have to remember it’s always the journalist’s call – if you want to ‘place’ a story in a newspaper, you need to pay for an advert. They’re running a business too (and one that really needs the revenue right now). But if it meets their criteria for being newsworthy, it’s a win win; they deliver relevant content to their readers and you grab trusted column inches.

So, what makes a story newsworthy?

Timing

It has to be timely. Don’t send old news. Timely story topics are ones that are new or current. It doesn’t have to be ‘breaking news’ but it should offer something new or tie into a current event in order to be considered timely.

Interest

It has to be interesting. Journalists hate press releases which are blatant attempts to avoid ad costs and get a free plug. Delete. Your story has to offer something to the audience so think about its interest and relevancy and big it up. Human interest is a big factor considered by journalists and editors the world over. Stories that are unique, compelling, inspiring, amusing, or otherwise have emotional impact or appeal will climb the news agenda.

Proximity

Events that occur locally or nearby will always have more significance. Pitching out of area is a waste of everybody’s time.

Prominence

Famous people get coverage simply by virtue of being well-known. Readers and viewers are interested in celebrity, and because of this interest, famous people are automatically newsworthy. But prominence can work for topics and places too and be a very handy hook.

Pitch clever

It’s not who you know (although a good contacts book is always a bonus) it’s what you know. Pitching to the right people at the right time is crucial. Magazines deadline months in advance, so don’t send them a story about something happening in 2 weeks’ time and expect to make it into print. Local newspapers are fiercely geographic – if you’re out of area (even just a little) you are not relevant to their audience. If you want to get on radio, you need a confident speaker. If you want to get on TV, you need to pitch a package they can ‘see’ on film.

Plan, plan, plan

Successful publicity is all in the planning. Get the strategy and the content right and it will fast become and absolutely fundamental part of your PR. Nothing builds awareness like it.

Get in touch to see how we can win you media coverage!