By: Ilona Hitel On: March 01, 2016 In: New Client Comments: 0

Five of the biggest non-stories you might never come across: A quick lesson for new entrants to PR


This week it’s my turn on The CommsCo training schedule, on the topic of what makes a good story. Or more importantly, what doesn’t.

Fortunately I learned this early on enough in my career. Although back in those days, new products (even if not even out of Beta phase, and sometimes not even out of R&D) made news. Now they really don’t. With fewer publications come fewer opportunities to get your news covered. Original content that is really thought-leading is actually becoming easier to place than a news release.

Clearly, there are still stories that make news and there are definitely those that don’t. You can tell an organisation that needs PR where each item on the news site starts with ‘Company [who wants PR] has introduced’….’Company [who wants PR] has launched…’

stoppressWe recently received a client list of potential ‘news’ stories coming up – all of them focused on internal developments. As a PR person, it is absolutely your job to push back, politely.

So here’s a few no-no’s plus what might make them a maybe:

1/ You cannot PR a new MD, nor appointment. Unless that person is Mark Benioff, or similar. If they have been head of a listed company or have a profile in their own right, that is probably the exception you can make. In most instances, this isn’t the case.

2/ You cannot PR a certification. Nothing is more boring than ISO..zzzzz. ‘Nuff said.

3/ You cannot PR a new version of your release. Who cared about version 1 anyway, and so what it has a new interface? Unless it is being used by Uber (or the like) – and Uber is happy to talk, your new product must always be accompanied by someone willing to say they are using it and how brilliant it is.

4/ You cannot PR a webinar or an event. That is what social media is for. Engaging with your attendees and audience. You could PR findings from that event.

5/ And you ABSOLUTELY cannot PR your new website. The journalist will shoot the PR person, likely in public. Fortunately, there aren’t many clients left who would ever ask you to do this. But don’t. Ever. Just in case they do.

What are you left with? Big named celebs, hooks to major historical events and anniversary days, Man Bites Dog surprise stories (for example, small UK company is winning against US giant, we love these), being lined up to comment on business issues like the budget or Brexit, finding geographical differences and issues for the year ahead. Scientific discoveries, life saving technology. Most importantly, focus on content that relates to the media agenda.

All of that is good stuff, as opposed to the garbage above. But you knew that! Or at least I hope you did.

By the way, we are ‘launching’ our new website next month! That’s certainly big news for us. But don’t stop press.


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