How to develop your story for the media

CHuntly

Once you are ready to start planning for your media relations outreach campaign, the first thing you should do is make sure that what you have to say is relevant not only to your audience, but also to the media. You have to make sure that the story you are telling is the right mix of brand and human interest to make the media want to talk about.

Here are 5 ways to make sure that the story you are telling is media-worthy:

#1: Brainstorm

There are few things that are more satisfying than a great brainstorm session! The key is that whether you are having a solo session or a group session, no idea is a bad idea at the initial phase of the process. I like to get as many ideas on paper as possible then eliminate them one by one until I am down to the final 1 – 3 ideas. Then I look a bit deeper into those final ideas to make my final decision.

#2: Play Devil’s Advocate

I am sure you have heard that we are our own worst critic. Well, when you are taking your story to the media, this isn’t a bad thing. It will help you edit out the stuff that will weaken your story. Ask yourself tough questions and be hard on the idea. If you can answer to all of the things you are saying, then you know you have a great idea on your hands. If you are left more confused than ever, then you likely have to go back to the drawing board and tweak your idea some more.

#3: Compare to competitors’ stories

While you don’t necessarily want to get into a rut of “well they’re just doing it better,” you have to see what your competitors are doing so you can push yourself a bit when it comes to creativity as well as differentiating yourself. It doesn’t make sense to pitch the exact same story to the media as your competitors have done, however, you have to take into consideration whether they were successful with their story or not. If they were successful, look at similar elements you could focus on for your own story. If it wasn’t, then find a completely different approach.

#4: Talk about it

Once you have either narrowed down your options or you have landed on that great story, talk about it to family and friends. Gage their reaction. You can generally tell whether someone finds your idea interesting or not, and, on occasion you might find that friend who will be totally honest with you. Take the reactions and constructive criticism and apply it to your idea where appropriate.

#5: Develop consistent messaging

After your idea has been tweaked and criticized, you should have a great story idea to pitch. Now you have to build the foundation for your outreach by creating messaging that will be used throughout your pitches, media releases, media kits, etc. Your messaging document should be short points that outline your brand story. Consistency is key, and repetition will get you remembered.

 

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making it unique to you.

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