How to get your message across in a media saturated market

In this information-rich world, we are constantly bombarded by news stories, articles, videos and blogs. Whether you have breaking news, a story opportunity, or want to profile a key figure in your organisation, it’s critical to get your message right.

Connect with your audience: relevance; timeliness; newsworthiness

Understanding your target audience is important for engagement and aligning with the media’s objectives. To see your story published, and for it to resonate with your audience, your message needs to be relevant, timely, and newsworthy.

Relevance requires that you understand your audience and their interests, provide information that is valuable, and tailor content so it is topical and appropriate for the publication in question. Ensuring there is a point to your story will help audiences connect the importance of your message to their own business.

Timeliness is crucial, as an ill-timed announcement may miss the mark, depending on what other stories are developing. Take the recent bushfires for example. Imagine you want to announce the opening of a brand-new office in a southern NSW town and, while your office is fine, other streets have just been decimated by fire. You may have had the announcement scheduled for months; however, going ahead with it and highlighting your company’s success in light of others’ devastation would be poor taste. In these circumstances, it is OK to file the announcement for a later date.

Having a message that is newsworthy is also important. You want your story to be interesting. Staying on top of the news and headlines, including industry and trade news, will ensure you’re aware of other stories of interest that may affect or influence your business. You can use this research to tailor your news so that it is rich, accurate, and engaging for your audience.

Working with a PR specialist can help you engage with journalists across various media channels to get an idea for what they might be working on at the time, and build a pipeline for the next few weeks or months ahead. This lets you strategise and plan according to what is most relevant, topical or trending, and publish your stories in a timely manner.

Find new and different angles

What you say and how you say it can be the difference between having your content published or having a journalist decide your content is just the same as everyone else’s. It is important to identify your key message and any gaps that need to be addressed, do some research, ask questions, and back it up with statistics and data. For example, by sharing key insights that only your business has discovered, you portray yourself as a specialist in the industry, a reliable source of information and go-to for authoritative commentary.

Back to basics

A complex topic can be simplified and easier to understand when your message is clear and simple. Stick to the basics: who; what; when; where; why; how; and how much. Remove any unnecessary details or wording. Finding the right balance in your tone and message is essential for achieving cut-through, being heard in a busy world, and targeting the desired audience.

What media?

Whether you’re working on a blog, case study, or media release, make sure the content is relevant.

  • A blog offers insight and thought leadership on a topic.
  • A case study is a descriptive and exploratory analysis of a project, person, group, or event.
  • A media release is an announcement issued to the news media and other targeted publications to let the public know of company developments.

If your story is an ongoing topic, make sure you stay on top of the developments and update the content with the latest data, and revise any supporting comments as necessary. It’s also critical to have a spokesperson available to address questions at any time.

Your messaging and approach needs to be bold, engaging and relevant, so make sure that you’re armed with all the important information, supporting data and images, and be ready to respond in a timely manner.

If you’d like to improve your messaging, work with journalists more effectively, or streamline how you publish content, contact us today.

Why the art of writing isn’t dying anytime soon

Strong, clear communication has never been more important for companies looking to stand out from the crowd. In our increasingly digital world of infographics, gifs and video content, the value placed on writing is fading. While news outlets like Buzzfeed and Daily Mail continue to saturate our newsfeed with meaningless but compelling stories, less acknowledgement is given to good writing.

But quality writing isn’t going away anytime soon; it’s evolving. Everyone is pressed for time so the need for concise, clear writing has never been more crucial. The ability to translate complex information into a compelling narrative is a highly valuable skill, as concepts can get lost if they’re not communicated clearly.

To be successful in any business, good written communication skills are essential. Everyone in business from programmers who dream in code, to finance kings who nestle their heads in numbers, needs to write intelligently.

Today’s interconnected digital world means that we often need to interact with people from different countries, backgrounds and industries. Most of your communication with these people likely comes via written platforms such as email or Word documents. Tone, grammar, audience and jargon are all key points to consider when drafting any type of written communication.

The written word is very easily misinterpreted because it doesn’t carry the non-verbal cues as to tone and intent. To ensure your message is understood, simple, clear, precise language, along with a few other basic writing rules are all you need.

Understand your audience

Businesses looking to stand out from the crowd can achieve this by offering content that resonates with their audiences. Audience should therefore be top of mind when determining the appropriate language, style and tone. Many people can compose a strong email, but this is not synonymous with writing a media release, whitepaper or even a blog. Adapt your writing style to the appropriate format, while also connecting with your intended audience through appropriate tone and language.

Industry or culturally specific language including jargon and acronyms can potentially alienate your audience in some cases, and bring them closer in others. It’s important to gauge this based on your readers. If you’re not sure, the best rule of thumb is to ensure your text makes sense universally; your audience isn’t going to engage if they get lost and has to Google terminology. Avoid jargon and spell out acronyms the first time you use them to universalise your content and appeal to a broader audience.

Don’t waste time, write concisely

The strength of a first paragraph, even your first sentence, determines whether someone will continue reading. Give them everything they want to know, including the ‘five Ws’: who; what; when; where; and why.

Once you’ve answered these details, progress to a clear, explanatory second paragraph, which answers the ‘two Hs’: how; and how much. This describes how your company’s product or service can help in their context, how it works, and how much money, time, and effort might be involved. Anticipate every question they will have. If the big picture is understood within the first two paragraphs, then they will be more likely to engage with the rest of your piece.

Beyond this, avoid unnecessary detail and description. Where possible, include supporting quotes from customers, clients, or industry analysts who can add credibility to your point. No matter who you are writing for, they are pressed for time. Don’t waste your words on unrelated ideas that don’t emphasise your opinion. Always keep it short and concise.

As Blaise Pascal famously wrote: “Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte”, meaning “I didn’t have time to write a short letter so I wrote a long one instead”.

If you’d like to improve the copywriting in your organisation, our professional writers can create a range of content from blogs, websites and social media posts to brochures, whitepapers and eBooks. Get in touch today.

Leveraging and avoiding dates for your campaigns

It could be argued that hardly any work is done in Australia between Melbourne Cup and Australia Day. With many businesses closing over the Christmas and New Year period, it is the perfect time for employees to maximise their holidays without maxing out on their annual leave.

It’s important to keep this in mind when running events and marketing campaigns.

Selecting a date is one of the first steps in the planning process for any event or marketing campaign, and arguably the most crucial. Leveraging the right date for your business’s event or campaign can be the difference between a successful event and wondering why you’re struggling to get enough RSVPs.

Choosing the right date takes research and strategic thinking. When planning events or big marketing campaigns you need to be aware of what else is taking place, both in terms of industry and national holidays.

Here are five key steps to leveraging the right date:

1. Avoid holidays (official and unofficial)

Australia is a nation of travellers. Since we are far away from international hotspot destinations, it is common for employees to use public holidays and weekends to minimise the days taken from their annual leave. Remember in 2019, when employees only needed to take three days of annual leave to get 10 days off during the Easter and ANZAC Day break? By avoiding public holidays and the days surrounding them, such as Easter and ANZAC Day, it is more likely that people will be in the office and therefore able to come to your event.

2. Know your competitors’ event date

Researching industry and competitor events or campaigns will help you understand who else is bidding for your target audience’s attention. By evaluating each event, including who the competitor is, event size, event location etc., you can eliminate dates that may become challenging. The last thing you want is for your attendees to ignore your event in favour of your competitor’s.

3. Leverage significant dates

Aligning your event or campaign with significant dates related to your topic can generate increased media interest as it links to a larger focus. International celebration days, awareness months or anniversaries are great ways to increase the significance of your pitch to your target audience with minimal extra effort.

4. Choose the right day and time

Well-planned event timing will leave attendees feeling engaged and able to retain key information.

As a general rule of thumb, consider avoiding the sluggishness of a Monday, and the ‘almost weekend’ attitude of a Friday. Having attendees arrive in a positive and focused frame of mind gives you an edge before the event has even begun.

Unless your event is a networking-style event, avoid afternoon or evening events. Once your event finishes, you want your audience to take action with the same enthusiasm that they left with. If you host an incredible event on a Friday afternoon, and your audience doesn’t get back into the office until Monday morning, they have already lost some element of their interest and excitement.

5. Visualise

Events take months to plan. While picking a date two or three months in advance seems like an easy enough thing to do, it can be tricky to make sure you’ve taken into account every public holiday, interstate holiday, parliament sitting day, sports grand final, religious holiday, school holiday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, earth day, and even every random international day that nobody has heard of (did you know that there is an International No Diet day?).

One way to overcome this challenge is to use an at-a-glance wallchart planner. Visualising these dates on a wallchart planner is an easy way to note all these dates, while also making it easier to see weak spots such as 2019’s Easter/ANZAC Day period.

Every six months, Recognition PR produces a free at-a-glance PR and marketing wallchart planner for marketers, PR managers and communications specialists across Australia and New Zealand.

You can request a copy for free here: http://www.recognition.com.au/pr-marketing-planner

What you need to include in your brand guidelines and why

Many of us are mortified when we see pictures of our teenage selves. Weird clothes, strange haircuts, outrageous looks; it’s all part of the process of figuring out who we are.

Your business doesn’t have the luxury of going through an awkward phase as it tries to figure out who it’s going to be. You can make small changes as you evolve to meet market needs but, generally, it’s important to understand who your company is and who your customers are, as well as who your customers expect you to be. Continue reading “What you need to include in your brand guidelines and why”

Five reasons why your website needs fresh content

Your website is the world’s window into your business. Having a great website can help increase awareness about your offering, encourage your target audience to buy your products or services, and entice potential partners or even acquirers to come on board.

Having a great website depends almost entirely on the content you publish. In fact, according to the SEO Tribunal, 72 per cent of businesses who publish regular content on their website have reported an increase in overall engagement. In addition, almost three quarters of marketers say that quality content has increased their number of leads.
Continue reading “Five reasons why your website needs fresh content”

Building your brand: why PR success isn’t based on one-hit wonders

Hearing a song like Mickey, Ice Ice Baby, or the Macarena may bring on waves of happy nostalgia at a party, but it doesn’t make you run out and buy that artist’s album. Instead, you’re more likely to wonder why they never managed to have another hit and where they ended up.

If you’re building a brand, the last thing you want is to be a one-hit wonder. Investing in a PR stunt or limited-time campaign can deliver outstanding short-term results only for your brand to sink back into obscurity once the fuss dies down, which can leave you wondering why you bothered investing in the first place.
Continue reading “Building your brand: why PR success isn’t based on one-hit wonders”

Seven ways to increase your chances of achieving media coverage

Media interviews can help gain positive coverage for you and your company. Journalists hold the key and, if your company’s story gets published, it could lead to more enquiries and sales.

Given the importance of media coverage, it’s essential that, in a media interview, you convey your business as something worth writing about. A journalist is looking to transform the information you give them into a story, so it needs to be clear and compelling. Continue reading “Seven ways to increase your chances of achieving media coverage”

Latest benchmark results explain what’s going on in Australian PR consultancies right now

Every year, since 2001, the Public Relations Institute of Australia has run a business benchmark survey aimed at helping its PR consultancy members run growing , professional and profitable businesses.

Like many industry benchmark studies, it compares individual firm performance on a range of metrics against aggregated sector results. Continue reading “Latest benchmark results explain what’s going on in Australian PR consultancies right now”

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