Social Media

Your PR Power House

Spearhead Design’s Top Tips To Creating Great Press and Media Coverage
Part of Spearhead Design’s tantalising marketing information series: “Spearhead Design’s Top Tips”

“There’s no such thing as bad publicity”, so the saying goes. At Spearhead Design we beg to disagree.

It depends upon, of course, your company’s aims, objectives and strategy but to all intents and purposes, all companies want to court the press and media to secure favourable, positive coverage, be perceived as industry experts and reach out to their target audiences. In the third of our tantalising marketing information series of “Spearhead Design’s Top Tips”, we take a look at public relations or PR as it is commonly called to help companies looking at pushing their brands out using the marketing mechanism of press and media. From experience, we often find that companies have a breadth of news at their fingertips but, whether due to daily work commitments and insufficient time to assess what their companies are doing in terms of newsworthy news or whether they perceive they have nothing to tell the world, Spearhead Design often finds companies are sitting on a breadth of news articles about their everyday business activities that are just waiting to be told. With social media increasingly on all companies’ lips, and readily, easily accessible to everyone, from consumers to businesses to press and media, it’s never been easier to publish news articles online. Often asked how to secure press and media coverage, here are three Top Tips to help you create great news articles for your company’s PR Power House. 1) What is News? Simply, it’s “News” because it is NEW. There’s no point in resurrecting a news article from the past because it will not be used. The press and media want articles that are current, topical and forecasting. Simply put: Now, “With-it” and Trending, basically.

 2012 - This document cannot be reproduced, in part or in full, without the expressive prior written consent of Spearhead Design Consultancy Limited.

We can’t always predict what will trend so get into the habit of following Twitter’s trending hashtags # and consider how you can develop a news article around current topics, to encourage engagement with your company’s target audiences. Keep an eye on what’s trending on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, and news sites like the BBC and Yahoo, for example, too. Can you tie-in anything your company is doing to a topical, pertinent issue of the day? And if so, be speedy with your press release – don’t delay sending it out because it’ll become ‘old’ news very quickly – and we know what happens with old news, don’t we? It doesn’t get given the time of day. So what exactly is “News”? News can be People, Personalities, Power, Money, anything Extraordinary, Superlatives, Information, Interesting, Entertaining and/or Fun. 2) Is it Newsworthy? When considering writing a press release for press and media circulation, ask yourself why an editor will allow valuable column inches or airtime to be devoted to your particular news article. Think about the target market that are going to be reading, viewing or listening to your preferred news ‘channel’ and tailor your news article to be of interest to them. One of the issues we regularly see companies struggling with is actually creating news articles. PR is a valuable marketing communications mechanism and companies appreciate its value within their marketing mix. To use it effectively, make sure you allocate time and resources to its undertaking. Know your target audiences. Make sure you know the names and contact details of preferred sectors’ publications and publishing resources (online and offline), editors and journalists, what their readership, viewer and listener profiles are. It takes time to do this and preparation is key. Often, when you are working within a company on a day-by-day basis, it can be difficult to be objective about what could potentially offer valuable press and media coverage for it. Being objective and standing back, looking at what’s happening within your company and your industry as a whole, what’s making today’s headlines, what the future predictions are, can all reap massive benefits in terms of devising news articles the press and media will be happy to cover. Top Tip: Don’t sell!
 2012 - This document cannot be reproduced, in part or in full, without the expressive prior written consent of Spearhead Design Consultancy Limited.

Don’t insult the recipient's intelligence by selling your company. Instead, aim to engage the attention of recipients, offer information that creates a desire in them to find out more, that in turn prompts a call-to-action. Whether that be from an editor, journalist, reader, viewer or listener. 3) Writing a Press Release A good grasp of the English language, grammar and spelling are ‘must-haves’ as is the ability to create a newsworthy article out of your company’s daily business undertakings. Items to consider including are as follows: An eye-catching headline Short, punchy and specific. We live in a fast paced world and expect instant access/stimulation so set out to wet the appetite of the recipient to want to read on. Is it Tweetable? Make sure your headline has “tweetability” to encourage retweets: that it fits within 140 characters; has your company name and/or services/products right at the beginning; and make sure it uses keywords. The facts of the article - Assemble all the facts of the article and be specific. Don’t use unnecessary and distracting details. - Use the most important facts first. - Use quotes in the event that an interview is not required which will give ‘life’ to the article. Contact details - Make sure all contact details are included. - Make sure that the named contact person(s) can deal with all calls, emails, online and offline queries that may come as a result. Information about supporting photography and/or possible photo opportunities Information about possible interviewees
 2012 - This document cannot be reproduced, in part or in full, without the expressive prior written consent of Spearhead Design Consultancy Limited.

Allocate regular time to assess what is happening within your company, industry and the economy as a whole to devise high quality news articles on an on-going, frequent basis. A one-off press release is like pouring a glass of water upon a burning fire: it will have very little positive impact upon your company and could prove detrimental to your company’s reputation. What is required is a commitment to PR for an agreed and realistic duration with regular reviews, monitoring and appraisals during this period. Be aware that some publications (online and offline) may, if they decide to cover your company’s article, carry your press release word for word so be mindful of this. Editors and journalists have less time than ever to do their own research on a subject and will appreciate content that makes their jobs easier. Be accurate and factual in all press releases. In summing up, to secure press and media coverage of your company’s news article is as a result of a story being newsworthy and its subsequent distribution. Use your website and/or blog as a newsroom portal as well as selecting from the myriad of social media platforms that suit your brand. Social media offers instant mechanisms to push a company’s news out as well as distribution via specific, targeted news related mechanisms. Don’t simply distribute news articles: make them work for your company by securing the much-valued coverage your company demands. As a good starter for ten, we hope you find our introductory guide to creating dynamic and newsworthy press releases helpful. As with all marketing and communications, there’s more to discover - and that’s for another blogpost! So, here’s to successfully developing your company’s compelling news story online.
 2012 - This document cannot be reproduced, in part or in full, without the expressive prior written consent of Spearhead Design Consultancy Limited.

Spearhead Design Consultancy: Strategic Marketing and Communications Consultancy for the public and private sectors, SMEs, blue chip nationals and global corporations. Please see http://www.spearheaddesign.co.uk for further details. Blog can be found at: http://www.spearheaddesign.wordpress.com

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