Bonfire night is upon us and many of us will be thinking of ways to celebrate this occasion. As I was musing over what to do myself this bonfire night, (before there was mention of another lockdown) I thought about the ways in which a firework display is created and how each element has been made to tell a story.
Much like pitching a story your client has given you, firework displays rely on the credibility of the people putting on a show, the evidence that the one you’ve decided to go to provides you with a fantastic display, and a great evening (something to tell your friends and family about), how interesting the fireworks are, and whether they have been timed right (there is absolutely no point in a day time fireworks display).
Much like the mode of persuasion seen in a firework display, how do we, as PRs pitch a story that pops/bangs/fizzes/whizzes and becomes a success to journalists?
Below, I list some of the ways in which we try to create the Catherine-Wheel of all stories when pitching to our journalists.
Who’s doing the talking?
The credibility of the spokesperson for the story is essential. As PRs, it is our job to build the thought leadership profiles of our clients which helps them to become more credible in the industry.
When a client consistently demonstrates that they are knowledgeable and experienced within the industry, then your story automatically becomes of more interest to the journalist because they know the spokesperson you’re pitching is reliable.
What is the story about?
Is the story you’re pitching something people actually want to hear about? Is it of interest to a specific group of people, or will it affect the general public? Understanding the story you’re pitching is crucial to determining who you target as part of your outreach to the press and ensures that your story will be picked up quickly and by the right publications.
Where’s the evidence?
There’s no point in attempting to pitch a story if we can’t show that our clients have evidence to back-up what they’re saying. It’s something we were taught in our English lessons at school; point, evidence, link, and it’s the same for pretty much everything else we write throughout our lives.
When we’re pitching a story to journalists, this has to be at the forefront of our minds because if we can’t show them how and why the story is worth writing about through evidence (whether that be through statistics, screenshots etc), then the story itself loses some credibility.
When should you tell your story?
Timing is key when pitching your client’s story. Is it relevant and topical to what is going on in the world at the time? For example, when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown in March, we were pitching stories around the cybersecurity risks of remote working. This was relevant to what was going on at the time because the majority of people were working from home and would be affected by cyber criminals looking to exploit remote workers.
Pitching your story at the right time can have a real impact as to whether it is picked up by the press or not.
Why does all of this matter?
By utilising these elements when pitching a story, you’ll ensure that you’re not pitching something that is not of interest to the journalist and instead, you’ll be providing them with the news they want to write about and providing readers with something they want to read about.
Each story that gets picked up is a chance for your client’s thought leadership profile to grow, and therefore, each time you pitch a new story, it will get that little bit easier.
For more information about making fireworks with your PR stories, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.