Six ways PR professionals can (and should) ‘think like a journalist’

As a young kid, I felt I was destined to be a journalist. I wrote family newsletters and questionable short stories. I scored the editor-in-chief spot on the high school newspaper staff and eventually made my way to the college newsroom. But my career led me elsewhere, and I’ve spent nearly a decade working on the “dark side” of the media, as some (unfortunately) say.

 

While I may not be reporting or a big-time magazine editor, working with media is one of the primary responsibilities of my job. And, the truth is that media jobs and PR jobs are far more similar than we’re led to believe. From crafting captivating story ideas and writing compelling content to interviewing sources and maintaining a strong social media presence, the core skills of a journalist translate well onto the PR side of tracks (and vice versa).

So, let’s explore how basic journalistic practices apply to public relations.

 

Here are six ways we can “think like journalists” in our day-to-day roles as PR professionals:

 

Avoid selling and start (story)telling.

Journalists are quick to dismiss stories that seem too sales-y, and rightfully so. Similarly, as PR professionals, our first goal is storytelling, not selling. Sure, we need to include facts and figures, the “5 W’s,” and so on; however, these are just the building blocks and baselines to our content.

 

As storytellers, we must paint a picture, stir emotion and change behavior through words. Include extra details that weave in the five senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. How many people were at the event? What did the chef’s award-winning dish really taste like? What sights and sounds overtook the banquet hall at the convention?

 

Help the audience visualize. The best content is rich with details that will hook readers and give them more than just a compilation of facts and quotes.

 

Know what’s newsworthy.

Generally, there are five key elements to newsworthiness: timing, significance, proximity, prominence and human interest. These apply across all kinds of content, not just media stories.

 

Is there a timely element? What does the article do for your audience? Is the topic close enough (geographically or otherwise) to your readers to pique interest? Why should people care? And, how does the story appeal to the audience’s emotions?

 

If you don’t know the answer to any of those questions, you’re not ready to tell the story.

 

Understand your audience.

Who are your customers? Who are your clients? And, who are the ideal readers of the story you’re hoping to tell? Be it a media hit, customer case study, blog post or e-newsletter, you must always know your audience and why they will want to read what you have to say. Spend some time carefully defining who you want to reach and figuring out their interests and behaviors. Then, and only then, can you truly reach them.

 

Research and verify.

All good stories are based on facts, and citing data will build trust with audiences and reporters alike.

From writing a media pitch, a white paper or a thought leadership article to compiling a media list or competitive analysis, research is always the first and most important step.

 

Who are your sources? Is there a study that supports your claim? What is the reporter’s beat? Is the reporter still writing for that outlet? What articles have already been written on the topic?

 

Ask yourself question after question until you’ve exhausted your options. Then, once you’ve compiled the information you need, review it, digest it and verify it. Double-check your facts and vet your sources.

 

We can’t be lazy. Someone will always know.

 

Strategically structure your writing.

There are a lot of facts, but there is only one story. As storytellers, journalists and PR pros must guide our audiences to the story. It’s our job to sift through piles of information and find the true purpose of the story. It’s also our job to tell it.

 

The most common method of writing structure is using the pyramid model. Your most important and most interesting content belongs at the very top of the pyramid. Since we only have mere seconds before our audience moves on, it makes sense to arrange writing from most important to least important, in case the reader jumps ship halfway through.

 

In addition to the order of our writing, PR pros can take another page from a journalist’s book by always thinking about campaigns and content in a broader sense. How can we take this one step further? Does this inspire a graphic or video? How many ways can we repurpose this to create more compelling content and reach more people? The sky can be the limit.

 

Mind the details.

Details matter and not just the details of the story (refer back to “Avoid selling and start (story)telling”). Just as journalists are expected to do, PR professionals are expected to heavily proofread their work. Names, titles, punctuation, dates, capitalization, attributions, AP Style… even formatting matters. It’s our job to be precise and represent not only ourselves well, but our clients well.

 

Journalism and storytelling are as old as mankind, and the basics of both are the same for us PR pros no matter the objective or the audience. By honing some journalism skills, you can craft stories and PR campaigns that resonate with the right people.

 

Can we help tell your story? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to explore what Dittoe PR could do for you.

Consuming Media: Millennials vs. Baby Boomers

The ultimate goal of a #PRpro is securing stellar media coverage for our clients; however, that coverage can be less impactful if it’s not reaching the targeted audience. In a world increasingly influenced by technology, it’s important to remain knowledgable about how audiences are consuming media and staying informed.

 

We’re taking a closer look at how millennials and baby boomers consume media differently. Learn how it affects our strategies for telling our clients’ stories to the most influential audiences.

 

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1964 and know sticking to their roots, are surprisingly open to new formats. In fact, research shows TV hold the top spot for Baby Boomers. More specifically, 51 percent of those older than 55 are found to rely on traditional news sources, including broadcast media.

 

While Baby Boomers are adopting social media sites like Facebook more and more, they are more likely to go straight to the source. They visit news outlets directly to stay informed, spending 20 plus hours a week consuming online content. If that doesn’t say how tied Baby Boomers are to traditional media, then knowing 92 percent of them continue to listen to the radio for news updates just may convince you.

 

So, if a client is trying to reach the highly respected Baby Boomer crowd, it’s evident that traditional media is the way to go. Leveraging local broadcast media can prove highly successful, especially in the early hours as the masses consume the news of the day before heading out to work. Don’t let the word traditional stray you away from online hits though, as an online article can garner thousands of eyes as the Boomers browse news sites throughout the week.

 

Millennials

Millennials, born between 1982-2002, are changing the way younger generations stay informed. Studies show millennials rely heavily on trending articles and major headlines on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. According to Business Insider, 64 percent of people ages 18-24 say digital outlets such as online news sources and social media serve as their main source of news.

 

As for traditional media, only 24 percent of millennials ages 18-24 and 29 percent of millennials ages 25-34 turn to broadcast television to get their news. Only 5 percent of those are turning to radio and print to stay informed. Instead, millennials are utilizing local and national news sites to dive deeper into major headlines found on social media sites. In comparison to Baby Boomers, millennials are twice as likely to opt in to retrieving information from social media and word of mouth than traditional news sources (cue the group text gossip).

 

That being said, when working with clients targeting younger generations, we often gear our strategic execution toward securing media opportunities that will surface across social media platforms. While traditional outlets still garner high viewership, online hits support the research and prove to produce valuable results for client coverage. It’s important to look at online mentions when securing opportunities, in addition to utilizing social channels to increase exposure by posting client-oriented coverage.

 

The way each generation consumes news is constantly changes, dictating how we approach our strategies in the public relations industry. As the latest-and-greatest tech updates continue to revolutionize our world, it’s crucial that we do our due diligence and capitalize on the appropriate opportunities that will effectively produce results for our clients.

 

Interested in reaching these audiences online? Request a consultation with us today!

 

Dittoe PR helps CycleBar breakaway from the peloton

Tired of being stuck behind joggers and walkers on the bike path? Say goodbye to traditional outdoor cycling and hello to CycleBar. CycleBar, an indoor cycling studio, opened its second location in Indianapolis with the help of Dittoe PR.

Unlike most workout studios that require a monthly membership fee, CycleBar Traders Point operates on a pay-per-class model that allows guests to purchase class packages and reserve their spots up to a week in advance.

CycleBar Traders Point ribbon cutting

How Dittoe PR assisted CycleBar’s opening

Dittoe PR invited area businesses, groups, and nonprofit organizations to attend a VIP experience free of charge. The only request? Riders were encouraged to bring spare office supplies as a special donation to Teachers’ Treasures, a local partner organization that helps teachers provide their students with the supplies necessary for a well-rounded education. Dittoe PR used the charitable tie to spark media interest and contribute to a good cause. A win-win for all involved.

Overall, CycleBar Traders Point was able to collect five donation boxes filled with new and gently used school supplies for Teachers’ Treasures. Each box weighed nearly 50 pounds!

“Our area teachers and students benefited enormously from this partnership,” said Margaret Sheehan, executive director of Teachers’ Treasures. “We are appreciative of CycleBar’s commitment to the community and in particular, to teachers and education.”

CycleBar Traders PointIn addition to reaching out to local businesses and nonprofits for VIP rides, Dittoe PR executed several communications tactics including media relations, influencer outreach, and organic social media promotion to secure mounds of coverage for CycleBar. Interviews have included – WISH TV, WRTV, Indianapolis Business Journal, The Indianapolis Star, and Current in Zionsville.

With Dittoe PR’s help, CycleBar Traders Point is on its way to becoming the hottest ride in Indy.  They’re located in the Traders Point Shopping Center at 6010 W. 86TH St., Suite 130 and are currently running a three for $29 ride deal. We hope to see you there!

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