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Do you target your content pitches and press releases appropriately?

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Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Earlier this year Hubspot surveyed 500 journalists about PR tactics for pitching stories that were counter-productive (link to piece at the bottom).

That’s the polite way of saying they drew up a list of what irks journalists.

I’m sure there won’t be anything on the list to surprise seasoned PR’s – and this isn’t a post about dos and don’ts* – but there is one broader lesson: ‘Know the audience’.

Research the audience

When pitching to journalists this means not only knowing their patch but also understanding the publication/website and who its audience is.

I’ve worked with many brilliant PR’s over the years but the one who regularly sent me stories about window boxes wasn’t one of them.

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Writing the right content for your audience

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What’s the story? It seems like an easy question but if people aren’t reading your content then perhaps you haven’t got the answer quite right.

A common mistake is to leapfrog the audience and focus the story – the angle of your content – on what you find interesting.

But you can’t assume that people will share your enthusiasm for what you have to say or have been doing.

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How to make ‘interesting’ content more engaging

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Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

The word ‘interesting’ is overused when posting on platforms like LinkedIn.

Or rather it isn’t used effectively.

You’ve seen the posts:

“Really interesting panel on X last night” [Insert slightly blurry picture of a panel taken from a distance]

Or

“Really interesting article.” [Insert link to an article].

It’s quick. It’s easy. We’ve all done it. I’ve done it.

But what purpose is it serving other than to fill a gap in your feed?

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Why you should put customer benefits first in content

This is quite a common mistake professional service businesses make when writing about their services.

They tell people what they do, then they tell their audience why it is important (what is in for them).

Or worse they skip addressing the ‘what’s in for me’ altogether and just talk about what they do.

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Photo by Oleg Laptev on Unsplash

I saw a social media post recently which was aimed at selling a particular business service.

However, the post started something like: ‘At Jones & Co we have an expert team of widget analysts’.

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Do you have something to say?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Opinion pieces have been part of my working life for many years.

As a journalist on a weekly business magazine, I used to commission and edit guest columns. Now as a freelance, I ghost-write them for clients who don’t have the time or find writing difficult or a chore. 

I also help people get better at writing them as part of my in-house writing workshops.

Common mistake

When I was an editor and people pitched their opinion piece ideas to me, the most common mistake was an obvious one: Their idea lacked an actual opinion.

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