written by Karen Franse
Have you noticed that there are fewer reporters on staff these days even on the most well-read publications? With fewer people doing the work of many, reporters and editors are clamoring for solid content that is well-written, impactful, targeted to their specific audience, and – here’s the key – not a sales pitch for your company. But the “sales pitch” is kind of the point of PR, right?
Not necessarily. If you want your company to stand out among its competitors, you have to be seen as an expert. Today, the name of the game in PR is “thought leadership.” What that means is getting your experts quoted in the press in a way that showcases the deep level of knowledge and expertise that only your company has to offer. So how do you do that?
- Write What You’d Want to Read – Take advantage of the fact that editors are twice as busy as they used to be and are working with fewer staffers and write the article for them, packaging it as a press release. Don’t make this an article that announces something or pushes something, but instead, write an article that a real reporter would write and that their target audience would feel compelled to read. The problem or solution covered in the article just happens to match a skill set you are trying to promote within your company. Packaging it as a press release means you can send it to multiple publications rather than striking a deal for an exclusive story with just one editor.
- Grab ‘Em With the Headline – Use catchy headlines that are must-reads for the target audience and that showcase your company’s expertise in solving a problem or filling a need without a sales pitch – “Deadly Sins Of Disaster Recovery” or “Five Dangers in Cloud Computing.” It’s almost counterintuitive to write something like that. But do it and you’ll be seen as the expert who’s not afraid to address the tough topics because you’re so good at what you do that you already have the answers!
- Leave the Sales Pitch to the Salespeople – You don’t even have to talk about your company or what it does in the article. Address a problem and a specific solution, quote your expert showcasing his or her knowledge, and tackle a tough subject. That’s what thought leadership is all about.
Editors, overwhelmed by the loss of staff members and hungry for solid content, are re-printing releases such as these, usually in their entirety, and packaging them like they would a feature story. It’s a fast and economical way for the client to garner some significant coverage, and a great way to gain a solid foothold in the media marketplace with an impactful piece that clearly identifies your company as the expert on the topic at hand.
Karen Franse is an account manager at Communication Strategy Group and has over two decades of experience in media strategy and outreach, copywriting, creative services and editorial project management.