6 tips to build a strong PR story for your business

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Building a media story for your brand is like baking a cake, writes PR specialist Jocelyn Simpson, from I Do My Own PR, it takes the right ingredients and good timing.

PR is one of the most powerful weapons you have in your marketing arsenal. When your business appears in the media it’s like a recommendation on steroids. The newspaper, magazine, blog, radio or TV show is essentially telling its audience that you’re one to trust and that gives you instant credibility.

So how do you go about getting your business in the media? It might sound obvious but getting your story right is the most crucial part of the process. A profile of your company is not a story to most journalists and no one really cares about your product or service. Sorry.

At I Do My Own PR, we liken building a story for the media to baking a cake. You need the right mix of ingredients to create something that will whet the media’s appetite. Flour on its own isn’t a cake nor are eggs, butter or sugar, but put them all together with some know-how and you have a cake.

Likewise your basic product message isn’t a story, but add in some background on the problem your product solves and why people need it, perhaps even a case study of someone using it to improve their life, some research and data that proves there’s a need for it plus a spokesperson and it’s starting to look a lot like a story a journalist would run.

So how do you go about building a strong story?

1. Your base story

This is the essence of your product or service and the problem that it solves. This is the reason you launched in the first place and it’s what gets you out of bed every day. Your back-story and the sometimes bumpy journey to being a business owner can be an interesting talking point. Are you introducing a new technology? The media loves tech advances

2. Add substance

Research and statistics give your story credibility and help a journalist to craft an article rooted in actual fact rather than just opinion.

Find the data that backs up the reason for your product launch. You can reference statistics from existing reports and published studies so long as you credit the source.

You can also do your own research and release the findings, however the number of people you survey must be substantial (roughly 200+) in order for the study to carry any weight – a survey of three people won’t work.

3. Add credibility

An expert opinion that is not your own is gold. It gives the journalist an independent person to talk to and makes the story more rounded. If you can save the journalist the job of having to find an independent expert, someone who can talk about the problem you’re solving in general, it’s another tick on the checklist to getting your story to run.

4. Add colour

You need to make the issue personal to as many people as possible. How do you show people that your product or service will make their lives better, easier, happier, more streamlined?

You do this by putting a spotlight on someone who has experienced the problem; someone your product is helping who is willing to talk about the issue from personal experience. We call this person a case study.

5. Add a spokesperson

Always put forward a credible spokesperson to speak on behalf of your company and explain what you do. They are typically the CEO or founder and they should know your product and the industry inside out. They should also be comfortable talking to radio, TV and print media.

  1. Think about the photo

For print and online media, the photo that goes with the story is almost as important as the content of the story. Who will you put forward? Usually it will be you or your case study using your product but think about the setting too. How can you bring your product to life and easily explain what it’s about?

 

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Jocelyne Simpson
Jocelyne Simpson is the co-founder of I Do My Own PR, an online tool that helps small businesses get in the media. She has 20 years PR experience advising and running PR accounts for some of the world's most loved brands like Coca-Cola, American Express, LEGO as well as countless startups and small businesses.

1 COMMENT

  1. All good tips! And – in the arts where I work – useful especially for those who can’t afford professional support (which is a LOT of the independent Arts scene!). However I do caution people not to try and do *everything* themselves to the point of ‘dropping the ball’ when it comes to their main business… At a certain point, one reaches the size and ambition that requires professional support – including PR! And the tendency to ask for ‘free help’ from ‘friends’ on social media is fraught with danger, disappointment… and no shortage of conflicts of interest!

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