How often do you look at your competitors getting constant media coverage while your presence is sporadic or non-existent? You console yourself that you have “no news to share.” The truth is you are sitting on a goldmine of stories that you didn’t even know you had. You just need to think creatively and look inside your business rather than waiting for news to come to you. In ten minutes we came up with the following list of PR stories (with real-world examples from our clients) that you can use to make sure you get your fair share of editorial real estate:
Data driven stories
You don’t need always to commission an expensive external survey if you have valuable data within your own organisation that could educate or inform the sector. As an example: a company in the security sector regularly monitors threats to IT systems as part of its service. This can be redacted into a report showing trends in the threat landscape that can then be turned into a news story.
Warnings can be a particularly powerful means of getting media attention. Everybody is jumping on the GDPR bandwagon at the moment for this very reason but there are always trends or changes in the technology sector that you can highlight as a potential problem. And look beyond pure technology issues such as issues like the potential problems caused to supply chains if the UK doesn’t have a customs union with the EU post Brexit.
The media is full of information that you are entitled to comment on. Perhaps there’s been a surge of investment in your region or a breaking news story relating to your sector. Just because you’re not directly involved doesn’t mean you can’t offer comment based on your expertise. The media already know the story but they are looking to add colour and nuance based on real people. If you still employ any real people in this age of automation, this could be one for you!
Contract wins and extensions
New business is good news, so once the ink has dried on the contract it’s time to share it. Introduce the concept of media relations and PR to your client early in the negotiations to avoid unnecessary delays in approvals.
While you may not have signed any new business in recent weeks, contract extensions are worth sharing. Perhaps you’ve been signed up for another year or delivered new services to existing clients; either way it demonstrates growth and business development.
Partnerships or channel appointments
Signing business partners or making channel appointments is of interest to press with a specific focus on B2B negotiations or re-seller news. Not only does this gives you a news hook it also gives you the chance to reiterate what’s so good about your product or your company.
New products or enhancements
Announcing new products and services may seem an obvious win but don’t forget to highlight any enhancements or significant updates that improve usability or functionality. They may not seem a big deal to you, but it’s another opportunity to publicise the core product. It also sends out a strong message that you are not resting on your laurels as a business.
Happy customers willing to share their experience make positive stories for the media. The more facts and figures you have at your disposal the better, so try and encourage participants to divulge the benefits in hard evidence. When working with customers, try to encourage them to tell the whole story, warts and all. No project runs 100% smoothly. Add the details of problems along the way and how they solved them with your help. One advisory on this: make sure your customer is aware of the media rules. That if they give an interview to the press then it’s on the record and they are unlikely to see a draft of the article before it goes to press.
Milestones and anniversaries
Celebrate your 10th year in style and invite the press along too. It’s a good opportunity to share some of your latest company developments, new appointments and future plans for growth. Also look beyond your own business anniversaries and consider market milestones. For example, did you know the 30th anniversary of the smartphone is coming up in 2022? (It was the Simon Personal Organiser by IBM, if you are interested).
Expansion or re-location
Regional publications have segments dedicated solely to local businesses so if you’re relocating to larger premises due to an expanding workforce or entering new markets because of an emerging sales opportunity, then make some noise about it. Remember: local press always want pictures of people so ask them to recommend a local press freelance photographer who will know what sort of images the use.
Charitable endeavours show your company to be a caring organisation so, if you or a member of the team is planning a bake sale, sponsored bike ride or silent auction then go public on social media. If you reach your target or raise a significant amount for a local charity, then regional media will be interested to hear. Again: pictures are vital.
Dates in the diary
There are dates that come about every year worthy of PR. If you’re selling consumer products then big annual events – Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Days – are a prime opportunity for gift guides and product placement. If you’re in healthcare or cybersecurity, there are several awareness days throughout the year where you could focus on a pressing issue by producing articles or warnings, and present your company as an authority on the matter while promoting your services.
While some shy away from talking money, reporting strong profits demonstrates a positive year to current and prospective customers. Again, while the hook is the figures, this gives you a great opportunity to promote your products, key business wins and your vision for the future.
Going green is the new black and companies making an effort to reduce their carbon footprint are taking a positive step in the right direction (take Costa for example). If you are reducing paper use by digital transformation or reducing the amount of non-renewable power in your data centre then that’s all good for your green credentials.
Events like trade shows can provide a good focus for press interviews but think about hosting your own event like a one day conference. Not only can you get your customers together in one place to build relationships but any keynotes can be news stories. Prep the media in advance to let them know you will be making some statements about an industry trend or, better still, invite them along. You might want to think about giving one key publication exclusive access to the conference key takeaways with edited version of the speakers’ slides.
Your business is your people and there will no doubt be some interesting individuals in your organisation; someone who has a charitable nature, a special interest worth sharing or an apprentice that has won an award. Get to know your staff from the intern to the CEO and you may be surprised with what you find out. Your PR agency should be constantly on the lookout for profile opportunities across the media and will advise you on the best person to put forward. So make sure you share everything you know about your people from views on AI to favourite football team; it could land you a slot in a national newspaper.