‘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.
You want your story to get as much coverage as possible, so you need to make sure your press release is delivering what your target journalists are looking for.
Journalists are inundated with press releases, and they are time-poor. They don’t read every press release they get sent (sorry) instead, they make snap decisions about which to read and which to cover.
I’ve written a few posts about press releases, what works best and what doesn’t based on 20 years of being on the receiving end (links at the bottom).
Among my top tips are to target your press release appropriately, get to the point quickly and stick to the facts – no unsubstantiated marketing speak like ‘leading’ and ‘unique’.
But for this post, I asked some of my B2B journalist friends and former colleagues for their press release dos and don’ts.
Us financial journalists need to back up our stories with numbers, so if you are pitching to the business media, then include useful data points in your press release.
How big was X’s investment/loan? How great do you think Y market opportunity is? How much capital was raised? Which company was bought, and for how much money?
You get the picture.
Including this information in the email header or the opening lines of the press release will get my attention and help me make a quick decision about how newsworthy the story is.
Go easy on the jargon and corporate speak. If you include a quote from the CEO in the press release that sounds like it was generated by a robot, then it’s more than likely that it’s not going to end up in any media coverage.
And lastly, if you are offering up comments on a topic that is in the news (say, a big government announcement or a high-profile bankruptcy) from your CEO or another expert source in your company… actually have an opinion!