Getting your story into the news is still one of the best ways of communicating with your key audiences, whether they are investors, customers, government support or skills pool.
We know this because, according to LinkedIn, sharing company ‘news’ attracts the most ‘social’ engagement, especially tech news. Even in the face of ever increasing background noise from self-generated content, company news will engage your followers like no other content. Added to this, industry reports by inbound experts consistently place ‘news’ as the most trusted third party source of product information for tech leaders. This all adds up to a pretty compelling case for getting your story into the news.
Because it seems that - even in these days of multi-channelled, always-on media – the audience we all hope to attract - our potential customers, investors, skills pool etc., - are still drawn to professionally checked and curated news, written by qualified writers and editors in recognised news media. In other words, self-generated and published content is all very well, but it is no match for the impact of real news reported on real news sites.
So how do we get our company story into the news? Here are 3 steps every good PR will take to ensure their client gets into the news, which can then be amplified through web, social and other methods.
Know your media: if you are a tech firm, then your story is of interest to a specialist audience – so target them! An advantage of working in tech is that your market is usually sectorally focussed, and that market is generally covered by a small number of specialist media titles and websites. And as well as providing a clearly defined media audience, as a technologist, you also have the luxury of dealing with writers who are familiar with your particular topic. This means an opportunity for more informative, in-depth content – precisely the sort of content that will garner strong interest and engagement for your firm and its products.
Timing is everything: most trade publications publish a forward features list at the beginning of each year, outlining the topics they will cover month by month. These should be gathered at the beginning of each year, and appropriate features noted down. Remember the lead in time for editorial can be up to 10 weeks, so make the pitch well in advance.
Be ready: have all the elements of your story ready to go. If it’s a news story about a new product or component, have a picture plus distribution details to hand, if it’s a case study, have your third party company spokespeople at the ready. Plan ahead. – remember, being able to deliver on all the elements of your story as promised in a pitch will go a long way to ensuring a good hearing for your next story to the same editors, while being unable to come up with the goods will have the opposite effect.
Key ‘Avoid’: never be overly ‘promotional. I have often had clients tell me that content was ‘too generic’, but what the client must recognise is that nothing gets a pr opportunity dumped quicker than trying to shoehorn as many mentions of your product or company into an opinion piece or guest post. Product mentions are okay in a ‘news’ release, or in a case study, where they are pretty much unavoidable. But for ‘opinion’ pieces, the rule is avoid product mentions altogether. What editors are looking for in these pieces is original thought, research and deep industry insight.
It is worth noting that in these days of 24 hour news and ever tightening editorial budgets and resources, editors are more open than ever to guest posts which will give their readership insightful commentary, with a recent poll of editors suggesting that over 75% of editors are now open to guest content. This openness when taken with the number 1 position ‘news’ holds as an engagement tool shows why entrepreneurs still value pr and media skills so highly for delivering success for their tech start-ups.
(Pic: Fuschia and Lobelia)