The Art of Self Promotion: Part Two

In Part Two of our marketing feature HVAF Web Editor Mike Caddy uncovers a TRUTH about how to catch an editor's eye...

WHY do editors want news stories from us? Editors rely on information coming in to them to create a paper or website or radio programme that will appeal to their audience.

They can’t find out about everything they might want to cover, and journalists are very busy people. The press releases and news packages or video clips publicists send in help editors do their jobs – informing the audiences about what’s going on, what’s new, which products they might want to buy, and where they might want to go on their spare Sunday afternoons.

However, editors get inundated with all sorts of material – much of which probably isn’t relevant, or useful, or well-written enough to be usable.

Editors are ruthless about what goes in the bin – 90% of what they receive, often.

This is where a deep understanding of what is useful to an editor and how to present it is essential. It’s also why relationships are vital.

If a publicist always sends useful information to an editor, that editor will come to regard that publicist as a valued contact.

On the other hand, if we send poor, or badly targeted, or uninteresting pieces too often the editor will automatically reject everything we send regardless of whether there’s an occasional nugget of gold included.

They changed my image – can they do that?

Yes. Again – deal with it. So they cropped your hat out, or only showed your hand and not your face – too bad. PR is virtually-free publicity but there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

How can we measure what we’ve done?

Some simple measures can be used, like comparing the coverage we achieve with what it would cost to book an equivalent space for an advert.

The measuring of PR value is a science in itself, but considering how much coverage, how many read that publication, and how prominent the coverage was is a good start.

Is it hard work?

Yes. Skills are required – writing, presentation, the ability to think like a journalist and present the really important information persuasively are vital. It takes time too, and perseverance.

Can you sum up what makes a good story?

This mnemonic has served me well:

T Topical

R Relevant

U Unusual or unique

T Timely

H Human

If you can create a news piece or video package that genuinely meets these rules of thumb you stand a chance. If not, then put it to one side and look for another, better, opportunity to impress that editor!