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Creating Powerful Content That Gets Published


Aruga Aotearoa's Juno Scott-Kelly shares her insights on getting brand stories and op-eds told in the the media

Creating Powerful Content That Gets Published

Rising inflation is affecting every industry - some harder than others - and while the worst may still come, it’s important to remain positive and find solutions for clients who are worried about the squeeze.

Talking to Juno Scott-Kelly, PR and social lead at Aruga Aotearoa, we find out how brands can make the most of their PR and brand campaigns by elevating their stories above the rest with authentic content that is timely and worthy of the newsroom. 

Know your topic and what aligns with the newsroom

Read, watch, listen and scroll newsroom channels before you decide to pitch your client's story. What are people talking about, and how can you align with breaking news? You might already have your pitch laid out, but if you can pivot to align with the interests of journalists and who they’re talking to, you are far more likely to be heard.

When it comes to building out a story for an organisation or brand I am working with, I personally like to start by exploring Google trends. It's a quick way to discover what people are searching for on any given topic, including questions they want to be answered. From here, I will scroll international media sites to see what’s trending around the globe and what might be picked up by New Zealand journalists. If you can predict what they’re planning for and tweak your story to fit in with their agendas, you could potentially save them a whole lot of time researching and developing a story. Win, Win!

Pitch perfect

Before you pick up the phone or send off an email with all the information, it’s important to understand your angle. Can you explain your story in 30 seconds or less to your colleagues? And more importantly, can you explain what makes it unique/original?

Journalists are time-poor so the quicker you can get to the key points of your story, the better. And while most of us seem to have grown cautious of picking up the phone, it’s still the best way to get through and be heard. Of course, keep sending those emails, but always follow up with a phone call.

The Human Factor

In my opinion, what differentiates a good story from a great story is the human factor. How can you connect to what people value right now and what is helpful to them? You may have some great tips on saving money as a financial institution but could you go one step further and find someone in the community that has put these into place and saved thousands of dollars in the process, helping them to achieve something spectacular? Building out a profile story on someone with real-life struggles and needs might resonate a whole lot more than an executive at the business who plans to reel off a whole bunch of saving tips.

In the process of finding a story with this human touch, you’ll learn a whole lot more about your customer and the organisation’s purpose. What you think your customers or target audience needs may not be what they would actually ask for.

When telling your story, it is also key to remember journalists are people just like you. Some may have a bite to them over the phone, but kindness and understanding of their pressures can go a long way. 

Think about how you can help them with deadlines or make the story easier. This could be as simple as providing the written story up front, photos packaged and ready to go, and the option of video footage. The more you can supply and take off a journalist's plate, the more likely you’ll see that story get published.

Coffee or wine won't hurt either. Get out and meet the people behind your favourite magazines, news channels and social sites. Building a relationship with the people who can tell your stories is key in the long run.

Invest in your own writing skills 

Like all industries, we are seeing the roles in communications, advertising and marketing become more varied. We are not only asked to manage project budgets, people and clients, but more often than not, we are writing the stories, filming the content, and editing all at once. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the skills that are now needed, take a breath and upskill where you can.

Read more, write more and ask for help. By working through your flaws or anxieties about writing, you can improve your pitch and press writing skills tenfold.

If you don’t have the natural creativity to craft a good story, don’t stress, not all is lost. Try reaching out to someone who does know the lay of the land. We can’t be experts in everything and sometimes all it requires is an expert in the field.

Sometimes paid is the best approach

If you have a story that is pushing a product or focused on why your work and company are the best in the industry, it might be time to look at paid placement.

The very word seems to conjure up all sorts of bad voodoo in the world of PR and communications, as many associate it with advertorial, but it doesn't need to be that way. 

Coming up with a sponsored editorial piece that gets cut through can be approached the same way as you would write an editorial piece. Know your topic and make sure it is compelling enough that even those who are sceptical will continue reading. In other words, treat the placement as though it has not been paid for. Consider your audience and what else might be covered in the media channel or publication you are working with, and remember the goal is not to sell; it is to provide valuable information and opinions that piques the interest of the reader.

When going down the path of sponsored editorial, it’s also important to determine what is actually required of your team. Is it a one-off placement or will you be supplying content monthly? Make sure you know your terms and have the time to keep the editorial flowing.

When opting for a paid editorial placement, I also believe it adds value to your relationship with the journalist. They can see you respect their work in sharing current events and the fact that you know where the line between PR and Promotional blur.


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Genres: Storytelling

Categories: Business Services, Marketing

JSK Communications, Tue, 01 Nov 2022 08:31:00 GMT