Information, news, articles, features, content, content, content – it’s absolutely everywhere – but is it of value?

Creating stories or delivering your business message isn’t just a formulaic process; it requires planning, focus, creativity and the ability to format it correctly.

So how can you get back in touch with content that is meaningful, interesting, human, and above all worthy enough for a journalist to feature?

Claim back your untold stories and take your share of the content voice with this ten-step newsworthy plan to create attention-grabbing content.

Importance

Is this a big story of national importance, maybe even bigger, possibly worldwide? Think about the recent “Cure for Cancer” headlines or “Woman 106 dances with Obamas”.

Relevance

Whatever the topic it has to be relevant for its audience, you wouldn’t send your school exam results to a business magazine but you’d definitely send the news to your local newspaper.

Power

Anyone or anything that wields power is of interest to the media. Whether it’s about a powerful person, corporation, or economy, just think about the recent headline “PM Admits Owning Shares In Dad’s Offshore Fund.”

Famous

Does it involve a celebrity? In this celebrity-obsessed era you’re sure to catch attention if your story involves someone who is well known. From a soap star visiting your charitable cause to a pop star referencing your brand in a song, the opportunity is there for the taking.

Entertainment

It could be something quirky, something that breaks with tradition, or makes us laugh. Remember the biscuit shortage news? A serious story made quirky as we learnt of the UK based United Biscuits factory being hit by Storm Desmond.

Bad news

The news is full of bad news; it won’t be difficult to follow an example. Job loses, conflict, disaster, death, misconduct, you name it; the media just loves bad and sad news.

Good news

Achievement, success, triumph over adversity, heroism, bravery; from a local charity story to the London student who beat one in a 25 million odds of finding a stem cell donor to fight her blood cancer. Human interest and the feel-good factor is the key.

Surprise

Hidden talents and myth busting are always good topics for the media. Did you know Steve Jobs created the first ever computer-animated feature film – Toy Story? Did you know it doesn’t matter how much Vitamin C you take it won’t prevent you from catching a cold?

Follow-up

Everyone likes a follow-up. Just think of the program Grand Designs; don’t we just love seeing how the houses look after five years? Maybe you have a ‘latest development’ story, or ‘where we are now’ piece, either way so long as it shows progression, is interesting, or grabs attention, it will be valid.

Targeted

Who is the media channel for? There’s no point sending an academic white paper to a tabloid newspaper – speak the same language or forget it.

The secret to making a great story isn’t the quantity of information, it’s the quality of information created for the audience it’s intended for.

Just make sure it’s newsworthy – simple.


Public relations and social media are central to becoming a well-recognised expert, but the challenge facing many entrepreneurs is figuring out how to make PR work for them.

Every person, brand and organisation has stories to tell that captivate audiences and resonate with people — that’s the very essence of PR. But the trick is to figure out what your story is, how you can share it with others, and how you use it to boost your profile as a thought leader. It’s a challenge, and one that I am very familiar with as an entrepreneur.

Stepping into the world of PR doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and I have narrowed the path to PR and social media success to five simple steps. I call it the Unknown to Expert 5 Star System. It’s a system that I have created from 20 years experience, and one that I can honestly say does work.

By following these five steps, you will be equipped with the tools to boost your profile, become a recognised expert and start opening doors to new opportunities. Like any successful strategy, you only get out what you put in. It takes patience, practice and focus to succeed, but by following the five stages outlined below, success is within reach.

1. Figure out the Why

The key is to be transparent and genuine, and really believe in yourselfFirst things first; in order to become a recognised expert, you need to determine the message you want to convey to the media. The trick is to figure out what your story is and try and see it through the eyes of the media.

Anything from an innovation, new book, or childhood memory has new potential if it’s packaged correctly, but it’s crucial to deliver a story that is compelling enough to hit the newsstands.

Secondly, you need to ask yourself why you are looking to build your profile as an expert. If it’s purely promotional, you will struggle to develop emotional connections with people.

The key is to be transparent and genuine, and really believe in yourself. People will only consider you as an expert if you believe in yourself.

2. Set the Stage

What do you want your audience to hear and remember?After determining what you want to achieve from PR, the next stage is to define your personal brand. Personal branding is central to how people perceive you, so it’s important to pick your niche and stick to it to avoid confusing your audience.

Developing an elevator statement or pitch is an important part of personal branding that clearly explains your role as a thought leader. Not only are they an effective way of making great first impressions, but they can also lead to new business and customers.

Once you’ve figured out how to wow people with your introduction, the next step is to figure out what your key messages are. What do you want your audience to hear and remember? It’s also important to craft yourself a winning biography that sells yourself to your target audience, the media and conference organisers.

Finally, figure out who your target audience is. This will vary depending on your profession, but it’s important to define your audience from the beginning and keep it in mind while you progress through the five stages of the Unknown to Expert 5 Star System.

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3. Turn on the Spotlight

A good tip is to follow up with everyone you meet and keep in touch.At stage three, you’re starting to shine. You’ve done your planning and it’s now time to illuminate your role as an expert and thought leader.

The first step is to create a personal website where you can promote yourself. A great website will not only increase your exposure online, but you will also gain more control over your online identity.

Blogging is another great tool to increase your profile and allow you to connect with your audience in an engaging way. Blogging takes time and effort, so be sure to do your research and consider your audience before taking to the keyboard. The key is to write often, and write well.

Another step to becoming a recognised expert is to network and build relationships with your audiences. Attend functions, connect with local businesses and make yourself known to anyone who’s interested. A good tip is to follow up with everyone you meet and keep in touch.

One of the most effective (and arguably most nerve-wracking) ways to boost your profile is to take to the stage. By raising your profile as a valued speaker for events, you will improve your credibility, create new opportunities and step closer to gaining that expert status. When researching potential speaking opportunities, consider where your target audiences are and what they are interested in.

 4. Use the Media to Shine the Light

Interesting story angles may never see the light of day without a well crafted media releaseBy star 4, your role as an expert will start to take shape. By this stage, you will start to use the media to share your expertise and reach the people that will influence your success.

Approaching journalists can be a daunting task, but the best way to get your story out there is to shape it in a way that’s attractive to the media. Journalists often only pick up stories which they consider to be newsworthy, so it’s worth taking the time to create a great angle. Creating strong relationships with journalists, knowing the publications your pitching to, and sending it to the right inbox is also worthwhile.

Interesting story angles may never see the light of day without a well crafted media release. The key is to keep your target audience in mind, make it newsworthy and concise, and keep it simple.

One of the best ways to catch the media’s interest is to come up with a story angle which is relevant and engaging to their media outlet, but it has to be delivered to the right person at the right time. However you pitch your media release, follow up with the journalist or editor within the first 3-5 days so they keep it front of mind.

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5. Own The Light

your objectives will help you to figure out which portals… will help you to achieve the best resultsThe final stage of the transformation from unknown to expert is to step into the social media spotlight. Social media is a critical step in developing your profile as a thought leader, and it’s an essential tool that allows you to communicate directly with your audience.

Before jumping into the deep end, take a moment to think about your goals and what you want to achieve from social media. Having a goal will help you to determine which platforms will be the most effective for boosting your profile, and to manage your time online.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are the most popular social media sites, but your objectives will help you to figure out which portals (whether it’s one or all of them) will help you to achieve the best results. The key is to keep it simple and engaging, and to post often. That way, you will stay connected with your followers, keep them interested, and open doors to new opportunities.

So there you have it; you have progressed from unknown to expert in just five steps. Congratulations! However, it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning.

The Unknown to Expert 5 Star System illuminates your path to success, but it’s a path that is ongoing. In fact, it never ends because success is a continuous cycle. Bios, media releases and speaking topics change over time and take a different shape as you evolve as an expert.

But by finishing the Unknown to Expert 5 Star System, you are illuminated and you are truly a known expert.

Featured image: tinto

Pollard_C14-100About the author
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field. www.UnknownToExpert.com

Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business.