As news, content and polling specialists, we bridge the gap between the worlds of print, digital and social news media and the high pressure world of consumer PR.
Our professional position is unique, and it’s one that requires us to use our extensive knowledge of the media and its rich tapestry of eccentricities and imperfections to continually deliver great results for our army of clients.
Sometimes we have to be harsh, because the integrity of our in-house newswire is sacrosanct, but in every instance we aim to be helpful and honest.
Much of our account teams’ roles are answering questions from clients who need help, advice or guidance to pass on to their clients.
Many of the questions have the same theme and run along the lines of: ’Can I put the client’s name in the top line?’, ‘Can I add a paragraph about the product?’, and ‘Can we send an image/logo along with the release?’
Below are the questions we’re asked most often about how survey stories work for and with the media – and our answers.
The 72Point FAQ
Q1. Can I put the client’s name in the top line?
A. No, absolutely not – unless you are Vera Wang and about to introduce a $100 wedding dress. Company names also are most often seen in the top lines of negative news stories – think BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Norovirus outbreak on a Carnival Cruise Line ship.
Q2. Can I add a paragraph about the product and what it does?
A. Yes, but subtly and include it low down. Also, think about using it in the namecheck, where the accreditation for the research is first introduced and keep it brief
Q3. Can we send an image along with the release?
A. Perhaps, but make it a 300DPI image, not a logo, and that the product in the image is in context/being used so it doesn’t look like a straight product shot. Product shots are for advertisements and you don’t want your story to look like an advertisement , right? You could also send an infographic alongside your release. In fact we’d recommend it. Infographics are incredibly popular as they sum up the key points of your story in one fun, easy to read image. Plus news sites will use an image alongside your release anyway so it’s best to make sure it’s yours.
Q4. Can we include a ‘top tips’ section?
A. Perhaps. Sometimes news sites will use these in a list at the foot of the copy. But often, if you want to include tips to pass on to the reader, find a way of embedding them in the copy rather than in a list format.
Q5. Can we piggyback on an event? (Father’s Day, Fourth of July, etc.)
A. You can try – but it’s risky. Every PR agency in the world does this, and most fail miserably. But as a rule, we recommend staying away from putting all your eggs in the piggybacking basket – mixed metaphors we know. Media are wise to this practice and the media is besieged with “relevant” PR stories tied to those events. But we do find that times, it’s the lesser known days when timing your story works best. Your client is an egg producer and it’s National Egg Day? Go for it but make it interesting. If you are being forced to run a Father’s Day story, don’t plaster it with actual name of the holiday. Instead link the product to dads – again, make it interesting, surprising, fun, shocking – and file it about four or five days before Father’s Day. We always say if your story is strong enough it should land on any one of the 365 days of the year, so why narrow your target?
Q6. Should we think of a way to tie in a celebrity?
A. You can. It may help. The papers will include quotes from a celeb in the piece if the link is relevant, AND if the quotes are good. But there is a risk your spokesman’s comments may land on the cutting room floor in favor of those of the celeb, so bear this in mind.
Q7. Why do we need to give a quote?
A. A quote adds weight to your story. Stories that land on news desks lacking quotes give the impression the source of the story does not take it seriously enough to comment on it, or to find someone to comment on it. Consider also adding quotes from a relevant, independent expert who is not connected with the company.
Q8. Do you recommend selling the story as an exclusive?
A. Not often. Why put all your eggs in one basket? If you’re confident in a story, let as many papers get a shot at it as you can. In today’s environment of shareable content, exclusivity for a consumer story isn’t necessary. However, if you have media relationships with the perfect outlet and audience for the story go for it and preferably secure your media partner in advance.
Have you got any other burning questions you want answered? Let us know!