How we communicate has shifted. It isn’t about telling everyone about how brilliant your company or product is – the fact is people will either want to believe it or not and the ones that believe it have probably already bought into you, your business or your product.
Today, your audiences are much more sophisticated, they’re looking for a meaningful relationship. Think of it like your own personal relationships. Would you really want a relationship with someone that’s constantly bragging, over exaggerating and shallow? You’d rather have honesty, good conversation and great communication – wouldn’t you? It is only when we learn about an individual’s character, their values and integrity that we really connect; it’s called getting to know someone.
So, why is it companies are still distributing ambiguous and irrelevant company news to journalists? I discussed this recently with a journalist who was at the point of despair on this very subject. So here I have three points every company should consider before sending a press release to a journalist.
Communicating company news
Is it random?
Be absolutely honest with yourself; are you really sharing news? Is your story a garbled concoction of mixed messages that seek to confuse? Think about your focus and angle. Will a journalist read your news and be clear about what it is you are saying? The classic mistake is starting your press release with paragraphs of corporate information before you get to the actual news. A journalist isn’t interested in your turnover, length of trading or how many offices you have; leave that for the end of the story, if you must include it.
Is it relevant?
How many times have you asked your PR to distribute news across the country knowing it really isn’t relevant? If it’s a local story, keep it local. A national newspaper isn’t going to be interested in your new board appointment, new product or service if you are one of a thousand other companies doing the same. Of course if you have something ground-breaking, unique or innovative; maybe you’ve secured a gargantuan contract that will employ hundreds of people – well then you have a story. Think of the wider benefits from outside of your company, don’t make it all about you, where’s the fun in that?
The same goes for fluffed up advertising copy. Don’t pretend you have news when all you are looking for is free advertising. Journalists see right through these tactics and it will ultimately lead to your lack of credibility. Remember you want relationships with journalists; they have to be able to take you seriously and believe that what you say is credible.
Where is the benefit?
Get straight to the point, where is the benefit? Don’t leave a journalist searching around for the story. Think about how you can communicate the focus of the story quickly. Ideally the first couple of sentences should communicate everything. The rest is to inform the former. If you have a new service or product, that’s great, but that fact alone is not the story and certainly shouldn’t be the focus. The story should be about how your service or product will benefit people. Will it radically change how people live, consume or interact? Whatever you do avoid hype words such as state-of-the-art, award winning or first of its kind. These are padding words that try and make up for the lack of content and substance. If you have a good story you shouldn’t have to resort to such desperate measures.
Be your own critic and ask yourself do you find it interesting? Remember journalists do not have the luxury of time to work out what it is you’re trying to say. Make it clear, interesting and above all relevant. If you can do this your news will be hitting the printing press as quickly as you distribute it.
Featured image: credit