Several years ago I had the pleasure of enjoying a tasty dinner (with a fun bit of dancing following dessert) at a Cuban restaurant in Orlando with a young editor who would later become the #2 editor at an education trade publication. I didn’t know my dinner companion well at the time, but during our far-ranging dinner conversation, the editor shared a simple request that formed a core belief guiding my PR practice to this day. It’s been more than a decade since that dinner, so I’ll have to paraphrase a bit, but the advice went something like this:
Your job as a PR professional is simple if you think about it. All I need, and what the other editors I work with need, is this – tell me interesting stories about interesting kids doing interesting things in interesting classrooms.
Clients have heard me repeat that phrase often. Let’s dissect it a bit for those who are learning it for the first time:
- Relevancy. Trade magazine editors come in two flavors – those who write about new products and company news, and those who do not. Not all trade magazines have someone assigned to the first role. And editors in the latter group write, guess what, interesting stories about teachers or administrators, depending on the target audiences for their publications.
- Expectations. Company executives who expect a front page, above the fold story focused exclusively on their company in magazines that do not publish company profile articles will be frustrated with the results of their publicity campaigns.
- Visibility. Those executives who understand the “interesting” rule know that helping to share their customer successes with magazine editors and writers will generate increased visibility not only for their firms, but for their customers as well.
Public relations is about more than pushing out company-centric information in a news release. It’s also about providing the right kind of information to editors in a format they can use. And it’s not always about a company, sometimes it’s focused on customers’ experiences. Since keyword-optimized news releases can be found with a simple search, it’s a good idea to include a customer perspective whenever possible.
What makes a story interesting to you?