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Why does my audience need to know this?

Answer it in a way that shows how all or part of their audience is impacted by
the story, and you stand a much better chance of getting some news

When a business or organization does something to help others,
accomplishes a goal, achieves a certification, or reaches some other
milestone, it’s natural to want to market it, and press coverage can and should
be a part of that mix. But, all too often, people approach the media with the
wrong angle to the story. They make themselves and their business or
organization the focus, instead of explaining how the action, goal, milestone,
etc. will impact others.

This approach doesn’t separate them from the hundreds of other similar story
pitches that reporters receive every day. Reporters are looking for stories that
have an impact on a large segment of their audience. To make your story
stand out, your pitch, press release, etc. needs to demonstrate how all or part
of their audience is impacted.    


Bad Approach:

XYZ Corp. Donation Demonstrates its Public Service Commitment

(Anytown, USA) XYZ Corp. (NYSE: XYZ), announced today that it is continuing
its commitment to local public service, with a $20,000 donation to the Anytown
Food Pantry, the largest donation the Pantry has received in three years. XYZ
Corp. has a long history of charitable contributions to the Anytown community,
and today’s announcement is a milestone for the 100+ employee company,
which started with two employees, in the garage of company founder John Q.
Public, 15 years ago…

There’s still some merit in the bad approach…it’s a large donation that allows
the food pantry to help a lot of people. But, it starts out by focusing entirely on
the business, which is a small part of the reporter’s audience. It‘s also typical
of how many businesses and organizations write their press releases, and
won’t stand out to the reporters who read it.

Better Approach:

Donation Will Help Anytown Food Pantry Provide 30,000 Meals to Area’s Hungry

(Anytown, USA) An estimated 5,000 area families will benefit from a $20,000
donation to the Anytown Food Pantry, which will use the funds to provide food
for as many as 30,000 meals to them. The donation was made the XYZ Corp.,
whose employees chose the Anytown Food Pantry as their 2009 Charity of
Choice, following the October release of the fourth annual Community Needs
Assessment by the Any County Resources Commission. The Assessment lists
hunger and children’s nutrition as critical concerns in the community.  

This approach focuses on the people and organization that will benefit from
the donation, and also explains why the donation is important, in a larger
context. It tells the reporter how a larger segment of his or her audience will
be impacted by the actions of the company, which creates a more compelling
reason for the reporter to tell the story.

It also focuses the most critical information in the most critical part of a press
release… the first paragraph.

Posted on 12/15/09

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