WHAT ARE YOU DOING DIFFERENTLY?
First, you need to reframe your mindset. The most important thing to remember throughout this process is that no one really cares that you have a new product or service, but they do care about how it changes their lives and the problem it solves, so focus on this first and your product second. What are you doing that no one else is? How are you approaching the problem differently?
HOW TO BUILD A STORY
We liken building a story to baking a cake. You need the right mix of ingredients to create the finished article. Flour on its own isn’t a cake nor are eggs, butter or sugar, but put them all together with some know-how and you have a cake!
Likewise, your basic product message on its own isn’t a story, but add in some background on the problem your product solves and why people need it, a case
study of someone using it to improve their world, some new research and data and a spokesperson and it’s starting to look a lot like a story a journalist would run.
So how do you go about building that strong story? Let's run through the elements. The last tab 'Example' shows you how a real client used this process to work out the elements. At the very end, you can download the a worksheet and start building your story.
This is the crux of your story. It’s what your product or service does differently; it’s about the status quo you’re disrupting; it’s why people should care.
Think carefully about what the story hook is. Not what do you want the story to be about, but what would the audience want to read about? How can you turn what you want to say into something that’s newsworthy?
Tip: Always put your story idea through the ‘so what?’ filter: is what I’m saying new, is it interesting and can I back it up? The fact you're known for great customer service is not enough, it has to be something more than that.
Remember, talk about the problem your product or service solves first before introducing what you do.
Research and statistics give your story credibility and help a journalist craft an article rooted in actual fact rather than just opinion. Find the data that backs up the reason for your product launch.
You can reference statistics from existing reports and published studies so long as you credit the source.
You can also do your own research and release the findings, however, the number of people you survey must be 200 or more.
Always put forward a credible spokesperson to speak on behalf of your company and explain what you do.
They are typically the CEO or founder and they should know your product and the industry inside and out.
You will use quotes from your spokesperson in your media materials to give opinion not substantiated by facts. It gives you leeway to use anecdotal evidence eg ‘We believe that people want to make their own choices on x, y, z and that’s why we have created a, b, c.’
They should also be comfortable talking to radio, TV and print media. Don't freak out, it's ok, you don’t have to be media trained. The media know you're not a media commentator and they will go easy on you. Just make sure you practice some questions and answers with a colleague so you become comfortable with talking about your product.
An expert opinion that is not your own is gold! It gives the journalist an independent person to talk to and makes your story more rounded and less one-sided.
If you can save the journalist the job of having to find an independent expert themselves, someone who can talk about the problem your business solves in general, it’s another tick on the checklist to getting your story to run.
If you look at this story on news.com.au you’ll see it’s about the launch of a friendship app and it includes a comment from a psychologist and an expert on communications at a university on why people feel the need for connection. If you can provide this kind of expert, you save the journalist time in finding one and make it easier for them to say yes to writing your story.
The success of building a strong story is based on making the issue personal to as many people as possible. How do you show people that your product or service makes their lives better, easier, happier, more streamlined?
One way is to put a spotlight on someone who has experienced the problem; someone your product is helping and who is willing to talk about the issue from their personal experience. We call this person a case study.
If you are planning to approach metro newspapers, try to find a case study in each state. A Sydney paper won’t be interested in talking to someone from Melbourne; they want someone from their own state.
If you don’t have a case study, that’s ok. Often the launch case study is you!
What spurred you to give up your day job to make this work? How did you come with the idea; how did you spot the problem in the first place? Your back-story and the often bumpy road to launch can be the talking point that adds the colour.
For print and online media, the photo that goes with the story is almost as important as the content of the story.
What will your photo be?
For business media, it could be you as the founder with your product. For consumer media, it could be your case study with your product.
Think about the setting too. How can you bring your product to life and easily explain what it’s about? Can you show your product in action.
And if you’re hoping to get a story on TV, then it’s all about the footage that brings your story to life (we will explain more later).
Here’s an example of a launch story that ran in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, Canberra Times and WA Today because it had all the right ingredients. Oh and these guys used our kit to make it happen, so you can too!
Ingredients check list:
Baxter Blue glasses
New launch story about digital eye strain and how they created a stylish product to solve this problem for people that don’t have prescription glasses.
They used stats about digital eye strain that have already been published.
They included quotes on their opinion of the situation and made themselves readily available for interview.
They put forward Dr Kristy Goodwin, the author of Raising Your Child in a Digital World, who recommends Baxter Blue glasses for children with sleep issues as their independent expert.
Their colour was their own experience of digital eye strain and their concern for their children too.
The photo was a simple, but professionally shot, image of the founders with their product.
Fill in the worksheet to see how you can build your story.
It will help you work out what assets you already have to give the media and what you still need to
collate ie what’s your photo going to be; do you have some good statistics you can use?
You will use these answers to write your media release in the next step.
Please don't progress to Step 2 until you have read every tab
and completed the Building your story worksheet.
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