With 19 out of 20 of us now looking for independent positive comments about products and services before we make our buying decisions, being included in media articles has never been more valuable for businesses as it is now.
There are two main ways to win the all-important mentions in journalists’ columns:
- Issuing a press release covering news about your business
- Responding to a request from journalists for comments and case studies for articles that they are writing
But a third way is to do the thinking for the journalists themselves and issue comments about a trending topic that they almost certainly be writing about, but haven’t specifically asked for comments on.
Picking the topic
Typically, the topic will be one that is already capturing media interest, and the objective is to add to the discussion. ‘Add’ is the important word, as your contribution must have an angle that journalists will see as genuinely different and worth their time and effort in writing about.
There is no bigger issue than ‘the environment’ and the COP26 conference in Glasgow is a great example of a trending story line that businesses can use as the base for capturing media coverage.
Planning the contribution
This must be:
- Relevant to the trending story
- Relevant to your business, but not necessarily directly linked to your product or service
- An angle that is aimed at creating a positive impression of your business
If we take COP26 for instance, the media interest will be around the actions that your business is taking to make a difference towards ‘net zero’. This could indeed be a product, or simply an initiative either on a national or local scale.
Such angles could be:
- A UK manufacturing business that has developed energy efficient solution or product
- A business that has adopted certain policies within the business already that will see it hitting ‘Net Zero’ in the short term, or indeed has already hit ‘Net Zero’ by doing so
- A local community initiative that has brought people together to help towards ‘Net Zero’. It could be as simple as a novel recycling solution in the area.
How to construct your news
There are three key rules to follow:
- The headline must emphasise the trending topic and be short and crisp so that the journalists see straight away what the story is about. If it’s a local initiative or local business, always include the locality.
The objective is to cover ‘WHO, WHAT, HOW’ in less than 60 characters.
So for the examples above the headlines should look like:
- UK manufacturer targets Net Zero with energy efficient solution
- Hull business achieves Net Zero through smart policies
- Leeds community supports Net Zero by recycling intelligently
2. The main part of the story should give the details expanding on the WHO, WHAT and HOW. Ideally three sections.
- A short opening paragraph. For example:
UK manufacturer ‘Towards Zero Limited’ has launched an innovative heating element that draws its power from green resources and provides sufficient energy to heat and provide hot water to the average UK household, leading the charge towards net zero emissions as set out at COP26.
- A fuller explanation paragraph. For example:
The TZL heating element was developed with the support of researchers at Oxford University, and benefited from a government development grant through Innovate UK. Drawing on the post graduate research the element draws power from everyday household activity from walking up and down stairs, flushing the toilet to the energy emitted whilst sleeping. The collected power is stored in a central battery design which is used then for heating and hot water.
- A quote from one or two key individuals. For example:
Managing Director of TZL, So Lar, said, “We are delighted to launch our net zero heating element, and are grateful to the support we have received both from the university and the government in getting to this stage. It has been a real team effort and offers a world leading solution to the current environmental challenges”
Head of Innovate UK added, “Developing real day solutions to today’s challenges is at the heart of what Innovate UK does, and the work done by TZL is a great example of what can be achieved through collaborative initiatives.”
Then….don’t forget to add contact details.
3. Adding an image is the icing on the cake. This needs to be:
- Visually good
- Ideally discreetly incorporating the brand name.
How to share your news
Two channels to focus on:
- Traditional PR.
If budget exists use a PR agency to sell in your story. But this can be expensive and just as good can be using one of the online services, such as www.journolink.com who will target the relevant journalists for you and manage the distribution too.
- Social Media.
At the same time as distributing through the PR channel, do the same through your social channels, including a link to the PR release, and hashtags that are relevant to the topic, such as #cop26, and #netzero
If a journalist gets in touch, they will want to move ahead quickly before other journalists pick up your story…..so be available, and take the call straight away.