Baseball is a big deal in my household. I share an office with my baseball-blogger husband and our daily conversations are a mix of baseball anecdotes and client stories. The conversations rarely go together. Our common ground? Pitching. Is this introduction cliché? Absolutely. But you know what, it’s a peek into my daily life, so we are going to roll with it.
I’ve been doing a lot of pitching lately. More than I have done in a long time. One story went national in a matter of days and other stories never saw the light of day. That’s the way it goes.
While no story is a guaranteed home run, there are things you must consider before you walk up to the mound.
Create Your Roadmap
Let’s be honest. It feels fantastic to see your business name plastered across the 6 p.m. news or on the pages of a newspaper. For each story that appears on the nightly news or an edition or the paper, I know hundreds of other stories were passed on.
So … what determines the viability of a newsworthy story?
What is the real story?
Yes, you may have a grand opening or new product but is that the real narrative? Is there a tale of struggle and triumph? Are you offering something that can’t be found anywhere else? Do you have an offer that is just too good to refuse? Are you telling the side of a story that your public hasn’t heard yet?
Dig deep to find the pieces of what makes your story unique.
Why do need people to know about it?
Does the story have the potential to impact a large group of people? Is the information gained from this news valuable to people other than your stakeholders? Will someone benefit from this besides your organization?
If you don’t have an answer to this question it is best to pause your efforts until you do.
What action do we want people to take once they hear the story?
Get more visits to a website? Increase attendance at an event? Grown business traffic? Change a consumer behavior? Sway community support?
Telling a story without a specific call to action is a wasted opportunity.
How are we planning on measuring our results?
Understanding what action you want people to take is the easiest way to measure your success. Increased ticket sales, increases in visits to your location and even a bump in social-media activity can be indicators of a successful story placement. But one person’s success is another’s failure. Make sure you know what you want and track it accordingly.
For longer-term public relations campaigns, practitioners can evaluate public attitudes with a series of questionnaires and polls. But that’s another story for another day.
Above all else, remember that telling your story to the media is simply a tactic that should be built into a larger communications strategy. A proper public relations strategy, much like baseball, is all about the long game.
Have a question you’d like me to answer? Put it in the comments and let’s chat!