Print media is the ideal medium if you want to provide an extended message to your audience and you want them to keep your story as reference. If you’re serious about promoting your brand and business activities using this medium, then you must present your story using the right angle.
There are few things more important when putting a story to a journalist than knowing where you see your story fitting in their publication. It’s easy to think, for example, that all interiors magazines are the same. However, details like the themes of their feature stories, style of images or how they use case studies blend into a general feeling about the impact of the magazine. But if you pay attention you’ll know that Belle, Vogue Living and Renovate & Extend all have different sections that are calling for a slightly different presentation of interior products. It makes sense of course, as each has their own distinct personality and audience. That can mean only one thing for you and there’s no shortcut – know your target before you pitch.
Here are some tips on how to get your head around different print media and what to look out for:
- Newspapers – Primarily it’s all about news. Current and impactful to the reader. The key ingredient to a news story for newspapers is determining what makes it relevant to the readership. Consider how your story affects the local, state-wide or national community and look toward the front pages of these newspapers for stories related to topics such as new programs, funding wins, VIP visits or events involving many people.
- A photo to accompany your story is critical. In many cases a newspaper article incorporates an image of the person being quoted in the article in a situation which relates to the story. That photo is often a reasonably stylised close up shot of faces and torsos and a small amount of background. When deciding on your story angle, you need to identify how you can create that photo to support the story.
- Think about the sections in the paper, or ‘supplements’. Daily newspapers for example, have more than a dozen of those, each with a different topic area. Think about what topic area your product fits. Don’t be afraid to be creative. Look at the sections which run property, home or building design for example and visualise how your story can be placed, then pitch accordingly.
Case studies of successful home and commercial renovation projects which have used your product presents a great opportunity for you. These are photo led articles, so images are very important. The needs vary between requiring images of the product in the situation where it is being used, and stand alone shots of the product that has no background. You need to provide the correct style of photo for the section of the magazine you are pitching the story toward, as different sections of the magazines have different image needs.
If you’re an expert in a field that can offer some advice on how to improve different elements of a small to medium sized business, then here is your chance to shine. A common theme are advice articles penned by PR, HR, IT, Finance or other related experts on clever ways to improve a business.
Often a choice between a male or female skew, lifestyle publications offer good opportunities particularly for human interest stories both personal or professional lives. Has your business helped a client through a difficult time? Has one of your staff members lives changed for the better due to their employment experience? There may just be an opportunity for you in these publications.
PR professionals do all this on a daily basis. Our lives are consumed with researching media and understanding what media need and what the opportunities are. Story angles need to be newsworthy and relevant otherwise you risk wasting your time and the journalists (not to mention your reputation).
Remember, the more you research, the more you’ll get inspired with ideas, and you’ll begin to look at your business with a new eye and consider where the opportunities lie for you.