How to cook a hook…
For National Storytelling Week Emma Meggs, Assistant Production Manager at TNR, sat us down to share her tips on how to cook the most compelling editorial story.
Now more than ever the fight for editorial coverage is fierce, as brands compete with not only the news agenda but also a barrage of competing stories from other organisations all looking for their slice of the coverage pie.
2017 was a challenging year for editorial cut through, with a national election, terror attacks, natural disasters and a royal engagement.
So how can brands make sure their stories are editorially compelling?
There are a few essential ingredients to make sure your editorial content doesn’t come across to journalists as half-baked.
Firstly, it’s essential that there’s a news hook. It’s no longer enough to pull a ‘PR stunt’ such as a giant floating object on the Thames or a flash mob at Kings Cross station. Most news outlets have seen this all before and are looking for new and original ideas to stand out from the crowd.
Journalists are contacted with hundreds of ‘PR stories’ a day and unless you can peg what you are doing onto something relevant in the wider news agenda or have something amazingly different and quirky to say, in all honesty you are unlikely to get your idea past the email trash box.
However, newsrooms are also increasingly busy, with reduced resources in-house, meaning there are now even more opportunities to get your story across the line; if you are smart and use the mix of PR ingredients to create the perfect editorial dish.
If you don’t have a natural hook, one useful ingredient you can use from the cupboard of effective PR is new consumer research. Discovering what the population thinks about a product, topic or brand can often create just the hook you are looking for.
The key is to make sure your research is new and relevant. Targeting a specific audience or a specific region will always strengthen the news angle and maximise the chance of coverage across publications and platforms, ensuring you are broadening your audiences reach and in turn reaching more people with your brand’s message.
If a survey doesn’t return the strong results you are looking for, there is still the opportunity to cut through competing noise by looking for the human angle. Thinking about a softer approach to the news agenda, which pulls at the heart strings, can be a great alternative to traditional news and can also be highly sharable. Typically, humans are fascinated by other human’s experiences and if a brand can tap in to these kinds of stories, then they increase their likelihood of media pickup. Whether that is a tale of rags to riches; ill health to recovery; or playing on people’s hopes and dreams, the human story can really resonate with audiences across online, print and television.
A final key ingredient to editorial success is to make sure you balance your brand messaging versus your brand mentions within the content. As a general rule, anything with more than one verbal brand mention and one written (whether that is signs, merchandise or captions) will be seen by news desks as too advertorial.
If you take on board a few of the above suggestions to serve the strongest story for your audience, then you will have created the perfect recipe to see your brands editorial success soar and ensure the content you create has more longevity than being a ‘flash in the pan’.
Do you have a story you are struggling to find a strong editorial angle for? Ask the broadcast experts at TNR. We’re happy to get cooking on ideas to make sure your brand gets the coverage it deserves.
Follow Emma Meggs at on Twitter @emzzy11