‘How can I come up with a good angle for my press releases and content?’
It’s something I know PRs wrestle with, particularly as non-comms people in the business don’t always understand what is newsworthy or how journalists work.
And it’s something I faced as a regional features editor, visiting the same cities several times a year. Some markets hadn’t changed since the last time they were covered, but I still had to find a fresh feature angle.
I’d love to present a formula for making something worthy of a press release or coming up with a strong story angle, but there isn’t an easy one.
What I learned is to look at a story from different perspectives. So here are some things to try or consider which could help shape a story… or article.
What sort of stories do your target publications typically run? What detail do they generally include, and what is the hook they use for similar stories?
You need to be up to speed with these things anyway, but a quick scroll through some similar story might reveal the angle you need to go for.
It will also highlight if certain information is always included and where there might be a barrier to certain stories getting picked up.
For example, for property investment deals, some publications/websites may only publish stories with the price paid and the yield.
This should also be part of your research. Who reads the publications or websites you want to target with this release? What sort of information is helpful and useful to them?
I regularly used to get press releases from a company which made window boxes which was never going to be something that would interest commercial property agents and developers.
Not unless the story was about how adding window boxes to an office building resulted in increased demand from occupiers or enabled the landlord to charge more rent.
The journalists who receive your press release will be thinking about what interests their audience.
With articles, think about your target audience’s pain points, common questions or mistakes. Is the angle you take something that resonates with them? Is it relatable? Is it something they care about – will it help them?
Is the story ‘we’ve done a thing’, or is it about what it signifies? Is the stronger angle what it says about the market or your business strategy?
Focusing on ‘we’ve done a thing’ can get in the way of a stronger angle.
The first hurdle for any story is to pass ‘who cares?’. Leading a story with the context makes it more about market insight and why the readers should care. And that may make it useful and interesting.
It also means you can demonstrate your market knowledge and business expertise.
Can you batch several smaller announcements to make a more impactful story? One small deal is ‘so what’, but is it the third of that type of deal in 3 months?
Is a new recruit your fifth hire in a month? What does the expanded team enable you to do as a business?
What does this deal mean for the overall vacancy in the market?
We love people stories. I talked to Times property editor Carol Lewis on the Walter Cooper Let’s Talk Land podcast in February, and she said there was a huge appetite for people stories and personal experiences.
Can you harness that with your story? Is the story about a particular experience, a challenge overcome or what something meant?
Is the story that the team worked around the clock, delivered a project in challenging market conditions, worked hard to maintain etc?
Finally: You’ll never guess what…
If you ran into a pub to tell your friends about this story, what is the first thing you’d blurt out: OMG, you’ll never guess what…
That gut reaction can be a good indicator of the story’s juiciest bit. But it probably works best with those bigger stories rather than the smaller and mundane (yep, you know, the ones).
Has that helped?
This post was inspired by a question I asked a comms friend about their content pain points. Do you have a something you find challenging or tricky you’d like me to cover? Drop me an email.
More press release tips
Want more tips about press releases and pitching to journalists? Click here for my press release articles archive
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