the "F-word" in mixed company and you are liable to get a little
more than a look. Try to get F-words covered in the media and expect a
call from the FCC or the legal department at Standards and Practices.
However, we consistently leverage F-words to get our clients television,
radio and print coverage. It just depends on what F-word you focus on.
Before setting up a campaign for a client, our agency reviews eight
F-words or what we call F factors that can help garner media coverage.
While not every F factor is applicable to each client, by finding the best
fit, we craft stories that are more attractive to the media. These F-Words
can help a PR practitioner design the right message for the right
audience, and pitch the right media at the right time.
From the media's perspective, every story has a face. It could be a
celebrity, a CEO, a trusted expert, a government official, a dignitary, an
author, a beneficiary, and even a victim, Even a PR rookie knows that
"Who" is the first word in the 5 Ws (Who, What, Where, When and
Why). Finding the right "Who" is what an agency needs to address
first and foremost and what separates a good agency from a great agency.
Who will tell the story? Who can we offer for the interview? Who can best
address the client message points? Who will best attract the media? Before
embarking on any communications campaign, first attach the right face to
The "first" in this sense is not based on which media outlet
receives the exclusive story. Rather, it is based on how you position your
client's product, service, situation etc. Positioning is a technique that
creates an image or identity in the minds of a target market for our
client's product, brand or organization. One of the major tenets of
positioning is to be first to market thereby differentiating the company
or organization, product or service, from all other competitors. The media
loves firsts. The next two questions serve as an example. Who was the
first man on the moon? The second? Of course, we all know that Neil
Armstrong uttered the famous words " One small step." Buzz
Aldrin was the second man to step on the moon. If you got Buzz right you
deserve your spot on Jeopardy. However this should prove the point. The
first mass-produced car -- Ford, the first light beer -- Miller, the first
online auction platform -- eBay. These concepts were firsts in their own
right. They created their own category and attracted media attention.
Phrases like "best in breed", "revolutionary" and
"next wave" mean nothing to the media. First means first. First
Over-paying at the Pump, The Fleecing of America, Affordable Healthcare --
these headlines are very familiar to us because we see them on national,
and regional affiliate news stations and in print almost every day. A
smart PR agency looks to see if they can craft a story highlighting a
client using "pocket book" issues. If you want to get a client
on television, radio and in print determine how their product or service
affects a consumer's purse strings.
How does this pertain to me? Before even embarking on a story place
yourself as the audience. Bring the story home to the front door. Localize
it. Find the angle that speaks directly to the client's audience and
furthermore the media's audience. Is there a local family that best
represents the story? Is there a local doctor that can relay this issue?
Can the information or data be delivered by state, county, town? If yes,
then like a good neighbor, deliver the information with local flavor.
Unfortunately, the phrase "if it bleeds it leads" is all to
often a front page reality. I am not one to purport or debate that the
media is in the business of selling fear, however there does seem to be a
gravitation toward it. In 2005, there were two weeks of national coverage
on "When Sharks Attack" and CNN recently featured a complete day
of terrorist coverage titled "Target: America" complete with
ominous music intros and oversized headline fonts. Fear can play a roll as
a backing soundtrack to many health, political, and socio-economic issues
to name a few. The key for a PR agency is not to create the fear, but to
understand the current media climate and leverage it for the benefit the
What would a Dear Abby column be without her response? While most people
will tell you that they look to the media for information, another major
reason people turn to the news is for answers to their questions and
solutions to their problems -- what we call the Fix! When it comes to
product launches, "new-and-improved" stories typically go from
reporter's in-box to the trash bin, however, a product launch that
showcases a real problem with a real solution can pique a writer's
interest in the story.
The World's Biggest Bagel! Call Guinness Book of World Records and let
them know we have a special event! The feat should never be the first
option a PR agency offers a client. However, a special event of epic
proportion can get cameras and reporters out on a slow business day. Make
it visual and something a photo editor would want to drive out to see and
This F-word would be best placed closer to the top of the list. It seems
self-explanatory and self-evident, however, many companies continue to
send out a press release or notify the press without having all the
information. Corral all the information a reporter will need and keep it
within hands reach.
Bernarduci recently founded Jessella PR,
a national media relations boutique with offices in New York, New York and
New Hartford, CT.
For contact call (860) 888-2270 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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