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24 March 2021
Caroline Walker, Director of PR & Content

What makes a good story?

What makes a good story?

We are conditioned to respond to stories, they help us to remember facts, understand morals and develop emotional connections. For brands and businesses, storytelling is an incredibly powerful and influential device. Stories help to build trust and promote new concepts and services but also help others to share and advocate on your behalf. 

All company news can be the basis for a story, from award wins, product launches and new appointments, to research reports and industry insight. Yet, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a story is deemed “good” by an audience. Finding a fascinating angle is the key to capturing reader interest, therefore understanding what your audience finds interesting and important is a key starting point. 

Not all news stories are newsworthy
As PR professionals, we focus on developing newsworthy stories – stories that are relevant to the reader but also appeal to journalists at the same time as fulfilling our client’s agenda. Where the media is constantly adapting to meet reader and commercial needs, we need to be mindful of the stories that sell, capture journalists’ attention and secure press coverage for our clients. Therefore, we need to craft a narrative that communicates our client brands’ key messages, engages their target audience, but also offers value to the media. Juggling these three audiences requires creativity and a lot of empathy. Furthermore, to appeal to different types of media, we often need to present the same story in a variety of interpretations.

Capturing media interest
PR stories are succinct. They are primarily there to quickly share the facts and must answer fundamental journalistic questions – who, what, where, why, when. A press release is there to inspire the recipient to write it up as a wider story and allow reporters the opportunity to apply their own creativity. That being said, faced with time pressures and shrinking editorial teams, the media are increasingly looking for fully formed content that requires minimal tweaking before being print-ready.

The recipients of hundreds, if not thousands, of press releases every day, journalists are looking for something different. It pays to be mindful of the type of content your target media usually covers – this is their specialist area and reflects the stories their readers seek. However, it is important to add to the conversation and introduce a new perspective, rather than simply parrot existing opinions. This is more important now than ever, after more than a year of lockdown the press has been confined to cover topics that apply during restrictions, there is a sense of pandemic fatigue

Headlines play an important part in helping journalists to immediately understand the content and convince them to cover the piece. Interesting titles stand out in a reporter’s heaving inbox and helps them to envisage how the story will look on the page. 

Add to your brand narrative
At their base, company news stories should contribute to building brand identity. Constructing stories that communicate key messages and brand values will lift your marketing strategy off the page and realise marketing objectives. While editorial teams do not like to use heavily branded diagrams and logos, they do appreciate images and statistics that support a story. Offering high quality, copyright-free pictures and videos – particularly those that represent a diverse range of people – to accompany a story not only helps to secure greater inclusion in articles but is another way to show the world exactly your brand’s character. 

Looking to tell your brand’s story, contact Caroline Walker on 01732 779 087. 



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