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Want to Attract Media Attention? Define the Why


There are a number of ways a business can attract the attention of media. Some good, some bad, some really bad. For those seeking media to help launch a product or company, it is really all about your story.

For example, in one of my workshops was the Founder of AutoTray. It's a simple idea - a nonslip tray you can use in the car for those on the road quick meals. As part of my workshop I invite attendees to send me their press release for review, and hers was not unlike many I have seen before. It was all about the product. It read like an informational product fact sheet. Boring and dry. It would ultimately be thrown in the trash by media with one swift click. What it needed was a story - the reason why? Why did she develop the product and how will it affect people's lives. She has "the solution" but what problem is it solving?

After a bit of research, I came up with some meat for her story. It turns out that 85% of car accidents are caused by eating and drinking in the car (although today that might also include talking on a cell phone). In fact, just the other day I saw a gal with her cell phone in one hand, the other holding a sandwich while also trying to grip the wheel. She nearly caused several accidents on her own. So, we're all too familiar with the dangers of multi-tasking behind the wheel. All of a sudden, this story has legs.

Media love facts; numbers. Numbers and facts are compelling. Watch the news, read the news and you'll understand what I am saying. The numbers tell a story all on their own. The numbers are the problem, your product is the solution. This fact is pretty compelling and relates perfectly into why she started her business. She might not have thought about it at the time of creation, but it's powerful and will catch media attention for her simple, yet smart, product.

Sometimes finding your story means you have to look at it with a broader perspective. The story may not always be a feature just on your business. It might be an inclusion in a bigger national trend. The WHY is so key to WHY media will or will not find your story interesting. Why is it different? Why did you start your business? Why will it change the world? Why will it make a difference in people's lives? Why should they buy it, or you?

Like Why, the other "Wh's" can be important to your story.

  • Where - your local media focuses on local stories. Always start with your hometown media with a great local angle.

  • Who - tell the story behind why you started your business or developed the product idea

  • What - true you don't want the press release/story to be all product focused, but you do need to describe it, give some product facts and always insert a graphic. Media need to see it to get it.

  • When - particularly key if your trying to get attention for an event, but media like to know when the company launched, or will launch. For media, it's about timeliness.

  • How - not a "wh" but includes "wh". How is important for How does it work? How will it make a difference in people's lives? How will it change the world?

  • Why is your product, service or app going to change the world? Why should people care?

These are good questions to ask and answer before writing a press release and sending it out to media. Conducting a PR campaign is time consuming and sometimes you get one shot. Do it right the first time and you will uncover your newsworthy story easily.

Public relations is not an advertising sales pitch. It's not all about product specs. It's a story. It's a story idea that you are giving media in hopes that they will write something and indirectly endorse your product. It's news and to generate news you have to tell the WHY, because I guarantee you that's the question they are asking in their newsrooms or meetings with editors before they say yes to a story.

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