Hitting headlines: getting clients heard in a 24-hour news world

To write successful PR content for the media, we need to look at what we’re targeting. The world of journalism has changed dramatically in recent years as we move further into the digital sphere and across multiple platforms. For reporters, there is a great deal of pressure to find interesting, unique and popular content that will make an impact via print, broadcast and of course, online. Combine this with the 24-hour news culture we now have, with bulletins straight into the palm of our hand as well as the rise of citizen journalism and it gets very…loud. So, against all the noise, how can we, as PR specialists, make our clients heard?  

Human interest

Whatever the starting point is for a topic of interest, one thing we look for is the human interest. What makes content into a news story can often be how relatable it is to the reader. Quite simply, people are wanting to find themselves in the article.

Questions may start with ‘how does this news affect me, my family, my friends’? Or the location of article – ‘how does it affect my town, city or country?’ And not forgetting entire demographics – ‘how does it affect my job, my age bracket, my race, or my gender?’ Finding one or more of these elements can bring human interest to a story.

Example: For some of our property clients, a housing development press release often focuses on building homes for a growing demand, in sought-after locations. But adding in the benefits to homeowners and the community or widening it to the jobs it is providing to local people and the potential for further investment in the future will broaden its human interest. Where possible, we look at what campaigns the developer is working on, profile people who are part of the project, and when the first buyers are on site, tell their story too. Suddenly it is about much more than bricks and mortar.

Trending topics

There’s no denying that breaking and timely news is important but with the rise of social media and an endless list of online platforms, trends can be a powerful tool when it comes to tapping into what journalists – and readers – want.

We’ve all seen how quickly word can spread once it starts #trending on Twitter. Following these types of movements has helped our team when it comes to formulating content that works for the media.

By jumping on hot topics, our clients can get a slice of the action – known as news-jacking. For this reason, we stay up to date on news and social sites.

Example: Our clients provide us with a wealth of industry experts, who are on hand to give their thoughts and comments on breaking news items that will gain easy access to front pages and homepages. And we never underestimate a topic – even something that may seem low brow. Reality television such as Love Island has uncovered some important topics, such as gaslighting in relationships and putting this to our law experts made for a powerful thought leadership feature.

Imagery and video

While the written word is mighty, adding photography and/or film into the mix gives a new dimension to our clients’ story that can increase the shareability factor.

We never underestimate how strong imagery can boost their story, as it is often the thing journalists look for to make an impact online. Where there is a possibility to incorporate visual elements, we choose to make the most of these.

Example: Time lapse videos are great for seeing the progress of a project, especially if we want to showcase our client’s speed and efficiency. Drone footage is one of our latest incredible assets that has helped to promote a large-scale development site and reach new heights with our creativity.

Celebrate success – and divulge difficulties

It’s probably obvious to most that celebrating our clients’ success is something worth shouting about. But this doesn’t simply come down to profits. Sometimes, it can be about celebrating a longstanding colleague, or how our client has been giving back to the local community.

Moreover, we help share the challenges our clients have faced – while difficult, this has proven to be an important part of transparency, and has often sparked a conversation. By acknowledging the realities of business and being able to say how our clients are tackling it or prioritising their support for staff is a way we can show resilience from a firm.

Example: During the pandemic, newspapers wanted to hear about the sacrifices people made, and the ways businesses chose to adapt to survive. But equally, sharing the impact of lockdown or the difficulties around new measures helped our clients get their name out there, as we promoted them as thought leaders to prompt positive discussion about solutions.