How Stories Are Made in the World of Public Relations

March 20, 2024

Getting a story out to media, and the world, is somewhat akin to conceiving a child.

Two parties come together. There’s an interaction. In a little while, a story may be delivered.

Of course, conceiving and preparing for a baby – and helping that child realize their full potential – are far more involved than that. But then, the same can be said for making a story.

Here’s what to expect when you’re expecting… your PR agency to deliver your story.

Make a name for yourself

Future mothers frequently prepare for a healthy baby by taking their folic acid and making regular visits to their obstetricians. Expectant parents also may be ready for the big event by decorating the nursery, buying Pampers, reading baby books and/or selecting a name or two.

(When my husband and I were playing the name game decades ago, we had both boy and girl names at the ready. If we had a boy, we would call him Buckminster Fuller Bernier or Branch Rickey Bernier. Our friends and family later told us they were very relieved to hear “It’s a girl!”)

Speaking of names, when it comes to generating media coverage, part of your preparation should come in the form of getting your name out there through contributed content, ideally a regular cadence of content through the Forbes Council or a similar program. That way, when reporters search for you online, they can see that you are a real person from a real company.

Working with content creators at your public relations firm to create thought leadership articles is also a helpful exercise in crystalizing the topics and positions that are most important to you. Plus, you can reuse that content on your website and share it on your social media accounts.

Consider the pain and rely on experts

You can share your story using various content formats: a press release, a blog, an op-ed article by a thought leader at your company or another piece of content like a case study. Whatever type of content your PR and marketing teams use to deliver your message, collaborate with experienced writers to bring your story to life and make content creation fast and easy.

Avoid navel-gazing and instead set up your story based on customer pain points and the current zeitgeist. Focus on them (your audience) not us (your company) by explaining how your innovation, funding or other news will make their lives better and move the world forward.

Seek out third parties like customers and industry analysts who might be willing to be quoted in your press release about why the world needs your company or solution right now. In your articles and blogs, offer your target audience actionable advice to improve their businesses.

Schedule your delivery

Whether you and your public relations team are crafting and working to secure placement for your contributed content or trying to figure out how to engage with reporters who will write a positive story about your company or announcement, keep in mind that timing is everything.

For best results, give PR as much time as possible for pitching. Be aware that the timeline to publication varies depending on the nature of the story and the media outlet. For funding news, VentureBeat wants 10 business days, while TechCrunch likes to have 20 days. In the case of case studies, The Wall Street Journal typically takes three to six months from pitch to publication.

Also consider that while you probably have your own ideas about what to release into the world and when, that doesn’t necessarily mean the world will be ready for your news when you are.

(When my delivery date was approaching, my baby doctor announced she would be on vacation during our expected delivery window. She offered a planned C-section before her departure.)

We opted not to schedule our delivery. But you’ll definitely want to schedule yours. In doing so, work with your PR and marketing teams to explore the best and worst times to announce it.

If your aim is to get in front of tech reporters, and Apple is expected to unveil its latest innovation, or many of your target reporters are at AWS re:Invent, CES, NRF, RSA or ViVE during the week your news is set to hit, consider shifting your big reveal to a different week.

Keep in mind that reporters are humans too. People in the U.S. frequently vacation in May, June and July, so you may get better media pickup for your story in August, September, or any other time. The day of the week you choose to release your news also matters. We find that Tuesday through Thursday typically work best. Like the rest of us, reporters tend to be inundated with work on Mondays and may be winding down or leaving early for a long weekend on Fridays.

Be ready for anything

After your PR team pitches the appropriate journalists and editors, those journalists typically meet with an editorial team to determine if they will publish the story and how they will treat it. If they decide that they want to do the story, your PR team will work to schedule the interviews.

Certain journalists will want extra information in addition to the content the PR team shared. Some interviews are just for background, others for written stories or on-camera appearances.

To ensure you are both media and camera ready, consider doing a dry run. For example, Bospar often schedules rehearsal interviews for our clients’ media-facing experts before their actual on-camera interviews. Bospar’s Eric Chemi leverages his ample experience as a Bloomberg and CNBC on-air reporter to help clients get comfortable on camera and offers tips for best results.

Clearly, it’s impossible to control everything. But it’s best to leave as little as possible to chance. That’s why the Politely Pushy Bospar team prepares as much as possible in advance and keeps in touch with journalists to ensure they have all the materials – such as photos, commentary and videos – that they need, and so that both Bospar and our clients know what to expect next.

Raise it up right

Fast forward to the big day when the story you’ve been anxiously awaiting has finally arrived.

It’s a beautiful thing, and you are excited to share it with the world.

Bospar’s social experts can work with you and, if you like, your own social media managers, to get the word out on social media. We can take that even further through whitelisting, which takes a social media post from a media publication and turns it into an advertisement that carries strong authority. This puts the right eyes on the story by creating and targeting a custom audience that aligns exactly with the potential customers who you want to read that story.

You will also want to share the story, or an excerpt or summary of it and link to it, on your website. And you may elect to leverage it in your customer newsletter or for your demand gen.

Like having and raising a child, conceiving your message and successfully getting it out to the world require significant preparation – and fair amount of blood, sweat and tears. But it is worth the investment, and with the help of a leading PR agency, you don’t have to go it alone.

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About the author

Paula Bernier is senior vice president of content and strategy at Bospar PR. She has more than 25 years of experience writing and editing for tech trade outlets, including Inter@ctive Week. Bernier is known for her ability to quickly produce compelling content on a wide range of business and technical topics. Areas of specialization include AI, cybersecurity and networking.



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