Deciding on a good PR angle is like hitting the jackpot; it promises a wealth of rewards, not least of which is that all-important media coverage. But landing on that angle is more challenging than it might first seem.
The reality is that not every business will have a steady stream of newsworthy updates to share. However, PR works best when your approach is consistent, and well-crafted press releases hit reporters’ desks regularly. That means there is work to do if you can hope to generate enough good PR angles to drive your small business PR forwards.
Success lies in understanding what makes a good PR angle. It’s important you can also recognise a dud when you see one rather than waste valuable time and resources pitching a story that isn’t a story at all.
Coming up with good PR topics and the subject matter requires a range of skills such as creativity, a questioning mindset, an ability to do background research and a finger on the pulse of your industry. There’s also another element to the secret sauce. That’s understanding the news cycle and the role that PR plays.
What is a press release?
A press release is a vehicle for announcing a piece of news. It’s a document that originates from a person or business, informing a journalist about something new. That something new is the ‘news’ that your business wants to share. It’s the reason why you’re getting in touch with a journalist in the first place.
A PR is a formal business document and follows a set structure. First, it’s important to recognise that a PR isn’t a sales document. It isn’t a sales pitch to the end-user; rather, it’s a structured way of telling appropriate reporters and media outlets what’s new with you or your business.
Examples of good PR angles
It should be news-driven, not sales-driven
A PR should convey a piece of news. Your ultimate aim is to tell a journalist something they feel compelled to share with their audience. Understanding that it’s a journalist’s job to share news rather than regurgitating sales spiels to their readers is an essential first step.
This means you’re better placed to consider the ideas you’re coming up with from their perspective, making it likelier you’ll weed out the weakest ideas in the batch and instead home in on your most valuable news.
What if I don’t have anything newsy to talk about?
The challenge of pinpointing a good PR angle is often made more difficult by the fact that many small business owners feel like they don’t have all that much going on week in, week out other than business as usual.
Significant events may only happen once or twice a year, so being creative is essential if you’re going to successfully build positive media coverage the rest of the year.
Ideally, your PR planner will be filled with a mix of recurring PR angles (ones you’ll return to repeatedly, such as announcing a new product or a new hire) and then more creative angles you’ve generated.
Create your own news rather than waiting for major events
Rather than wait for events like awards nominations or new product launches once or twice a year, consider creating your own news. This doesn’t mean making something up. Instead, think about how you can be proactive and make a piece of news by doing something as a business.
For example, if you’re a retailer, you could look at your sales data for the last six months and compare it to a year ago. What trends can you identify? What does that say about consumer attitudes? You could quickly turn your findings into an exciting and viable PR.
If you’re in the B2B space, you could set a day aside to speak with your clients about how they’re feeling about a particular topic related to what you do. For example, if you’re an accountant, survey your clients to see how comfortable they are with their business finances right now. Are they hopeful they’ll see continued growth? What challenges are they facing on the horizon?
Once gathered via telephone or a more formal written survey, turn that input into data with an infographic and charts. You could even make your survey an annual event, so you can track sentiment and generate data worthy of a PR or two.
Another option is to do something for others, such as sponsor a local community event and write a release about it.
Finally, ask your team if they have any exciting milestones, such as a work anniversary or something your company could support outside of work.
You could even take a fresh look at things happening internally to see if you could turn an action into a PR. Have you switched to more eco-friendly packaging, for example, or discovered a more efficient way of working?
How to brainstorm good PR topics
There are a number of ways to get started.
Monitor industry sites and get an idea of the stories they’re covering. Are you doing something different or better?
Try A Tool
Use a tool like BuzzSumo to see which stories are shared most in your industry
Review Analytics Data
Check your Google Analytics and Search Console to identify trending search terms.
Go on Google Trends and see what’s trending now. Could any of those search habits trigger an idea?
Talk To Customer Services
Speak with your customer services team. What recurring questions are they being asked or issues they’re routinely dealing with?
Ask your sales team the same thing.
Sit down with your team and have a collective brainstorming session, asking everyone for their input. You may not be aware of what’s happening across the business, but someone may share a nugget of information that could be turned into a PR.
Check The Calendar
Look at upcoming national holidays and industry events including social media holidays relevant to your niche.
Check Out Your Competition
Read up on competitor news releases. What are they putting out to press that you could try for your business?
Browse Google News using keywords related to your business. You can also try entering competitor names and brands to generate a bigger pool of inspiration.
Look for #journoalert tags on Twitter to discover what journalists are looking for information about.
Request forward features from important industry titles so you can see what themes are planned for the year and then build ideas around those topics.