PR Lesson: developing the best story

Over the coming weeks the BlueSky PR recruitment and talent management team will be sharing some of their PR lessons. While I certainly have many to talk about (it’s an age thing – I’ve learnt a lot in my long career!) there’s one lesson that crops up as a recurring theme in conversations: how can you develop the best story.





Here are my top tips for developing the best story to help your firm get the press coverage it will value.

Be honest

When I say be honest, I’m not just referring to the fact that everything you say in any message should be truthful (which, in case you’re wondering, it should!). What I also mean is that you should be completely honest with yourself about whether or not this story or message is right for your business, your target audience and an array of media outlets.

It’s all too easy to push out a sales message or tell people how great your company is – but how is this different from an advert? If the coverage you’re looking to achieve is sales and has no ‘news’ element to it, no editorial team will touch it. You can, of course, simply pay for an advert, but again, be honest with yourself – will it give you real value for your money? How many adverts do you actively engage with on a daily basis? If you’re looking to raise your profile as an industry expert, chances are an advert will be a waste of money, so I’d certainly recommend going down the editorial route.            

Stick to what you know

So how do you secure the best editorial opportunities? By narrating a story that’s not all about you. This isn’t as difficult as some might think. You and your consultants are likely sitting on a wealth of information that journalists are crying out for. Your knowledge of the top skills that are in demand, where there’s a shortage of talent or how the employment tide is shifting is something that most sector press will be after. And you can build on this data. Providing the context behind this information, why these trends are occurring and what your predictions are for the future allows you to tell the story of who you are, what you do and why you’re an expert, without the direct sale.  

It’s also vital that you don’t undervalue what you know. I often have conversations with consultants and recruitment agency spokespeople ahead of a journalist interview where I have to explain that they are an expert in the talent challenges facing the industry they serve. Remember that while you might feel some of the information a journalist or your PR team are trying to get from you is ‘old-hat’ or well-known by everyone, it’s not. Just because something forms part of your every day working life, doesn’t mean it’s not of interest to wider audiences.

Make it relevant

Relevance is key when developing a good story. You don’t want to wait for weeks before you comment on industry trends such as the impact of the latest IR35 news or government investment in skills development. If there’s breaking news that you can comment on, do it straight away. And if you’re keen to share your views on a particular topic, ask yourself why? Think back on what has triggered this train of thought and do some research for any recent reports that make this topic relevant to the here and now. Use this information as a ‘hook’ to share your own views. And if you can’t find anything that’s relevant – don’t give up! Think about how you can make it newsworthy. A simple survey to your database or on your social channels asking others to sharing their thoughts on the topic you’re keen to get talking about will give you the data to make it relevant.

Use an expert

Of course, just as you would explain to a potential client that they should use an expert to find the specialists they need in their business, if you want to develop the best story to help your brand grow, you should seek out someone who knows what they’re doing.

We have extensive experience developing messaging for businesses across the recruitment and talent management remit and, crucially, writing the content for these firms that will get the coverage they desire.

If you want help developing your story and getting your agency’s name out there, contact us today.

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Author: Vickie Collinge

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