1.Have something to say that would interest even your iPhone-obsessed teenager. Remember, whilst you might be completely absorbed by your business and your news, others may be unenthusiastic or unconvinced unless allured. Put yourself in a reader’s shoes – convince them that their time or money is worth spending on your hook’s subject.
2. Perfect the hook that will engage the reader. A nugget that will be irresistible and make a reader genuinely want to find out more. The hook has to have real impact and has to be the basis of your news story.
3.Then define your headline. This has to lead to the story hook. It should be provocative and edgy. Often when you read a headline you wonder how the writer had the nerve to use it. But the fact is that you read it, and then went on to read the full article. So relevant is good, but provocative and thought provoking are what will capture a reader’s interest.
4. Keep reeling the reader in. Your first paragraph should be a teaser to keep them nibbling on the bait as they get into the full article. It should provide enough facts to flag what is in the rest of the piece, but not give it all away.
Literally, it’s a teaser.
5.Then into the main body of the article. Facts, not waffle. Survey outputs are often good to demonstrate an argument and make a statement. Add colour by using a good quote from a recognised authority, and provide a link to a quality picture to enhance the power of the narrative text.
6. Be ready to be contacted, and put good contact details in any news release. Frequently journalists will look for spokespeople. Having your contact details easily available will put you at the front of the queue – social media approachability is increasingly valuable too.
7. Now think about whom you want to interest. A traditional print journalist will want to see a full press release, whereas a social media blogger or twitter follower will be looking for brevity. Both audiences have their own value and should be utilised fully.
8. You need now to focus on getting your news out to the media. It’s one thing writing an eye-pleasing article, but quite another thing catching the eye itself. Mainstream PR firms can do this for you but frequently cost several hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds a month in retainer fees. A much cheaper way is to use an online model. Journolink is just one of these affordable alternatives, providing a full service offering tutorials and press release templates through to distribution to relevant journalists. Unless you just focus on a single journalist who you know personally, it is virtually impossible to access the media without some help.
9. Timing is everything. Try and coincide your story going out with some other relevant news already in, or expected to be in, the media. Something like a major sports event, some key economic data, or a health report for example.
10. The boring health check. You are only as good as what people will read. So check the grammar and spelling. It is fine using 21st century grammar rather than strict 19th century rules. So you can start a sentence with ‘But’ or ‘So’. But be sure that it reads well and make sure it passes the ‘teenage son iPhone distraction test’