Radio and TV news people are always looking for stories. When you pitch broadcasters, make the pitch in the form of a story. Don't give them a dry list of facts and figures.
The late Don Hewitt who founded "60 Minutes" told every young journalist he met that the secret to the show's massive success was summed up in four words, "Tell me a Story." Sure, it's a little more complicated than that, but again as Hewitt used to say, (and I'm paraphrasing) when it comes to effective communications, look at the Bible. It's a collection of powerful stories that has guided and inspired people for more than two thousand years. You can't beat that for impact.
I am often amazed when I see advise about when a business should write a press release. It will list dozens of items such as "when you hire a new vice president," or "when you open a new branch office." Yes, those announcements may get included somewhere in the newspaper business section or in a business journal note, and that's good. But they're unlikely to get you a lot of ink. And if it's on-air publicity you're after, local radio and TV won't have much use for them at all.
How can you turn them into a story? Keep reading…
You can get more media attention for activities and milestones in your business when you wrap them in a story. Opening a new branch office? Find a trend, host an event or run a contest, develop a story with a personality you can connect to the new office. Hired a new Vice President ? Pitch how the new VP is involved in a special community effort or highlight some other aspect of his life, beyond his new job, which would make an interesting feature piece.
Brainstorm all kinds of angles and hone them down to story ideas that are both noteworthy AND show your business in a good light. That's important because you can get plenty of attention with a wild idea, but will it enhance your reputation? I once worked for a radio station that held a billboard sitting marathon. After the initial flurry of good coverage, the never-ending contest generated a lot of negative publicity. Ultimately the station paid off the contestants to put an end to the bad press and more was probably lost by the stunt than gained.
Storytelling in business is an art and a powerful form of expression. People may not remember all the ins and outs of the fabulous gizmos or services your company provides, but a clever tale about people and their relationship to your business, whether it's about your leaders, employees or customers,adds human interest that may linger longer in their minds.
What's your business story? Leave an comment and let's find ways to tell it better.