When you are going to write a press release probably the most important thing you can do is create a killer news hook. A press release without a news hook is just blatant advertising, plain and simple. There is nothing that turns off journalists more than a press release that’s just advertising, and when you turn them off, they’re often off for good.
So, with this in mind, creating a news hook for your press release and media plan, in general, is probably the most important thing that you can do. But, how do you do it?
A news hook can be defined as the property in your press release that really makes a person read it and say, ‘I’m glad that I read this. This is real news.’ A news hook does not directly try to sell something, but to put some real news in front of the reader and encourage them to learn more about you.
If you are a major company, almost anything you do could be considered news. Take Google, for example. Everything they announce tends to be front-page news, no matter how small it is. However, you’re probably not so lucky, so you have to look pretty had.
If you are selling cars in a local dealership, a news hook could be if a local celebrity if performing a function at your dealership or even if they are long-time and outspoken customers. If you are selling hairdryers, upgrading your model from XD1000 to XD1001 is not news outside of the hairdryer community. However, there are plenty of ways to generate news out of something that normally cannot be considered news.
To do this, you must ask yourself the 6 questions that every journalist is always asking
If you are able to answer all of these, then you have something that can go onto the next stage. If you are not able to adequately answer these questions, then you have to try again and find something that can legitimately be considered news.
When you have this, then what you must do is think about
What a member of the general public would think about this news
What journalists would think
What a member of your target demographic would think
When you get this, decide how you will address each group. If you want PR, then you will typically have to go through the journalist. The journalist should have a good idea of what the general public wants and what the target demographic wants, so if you have news, they will pass it on.
With this in mind, if you are selling something specialized, and then you should target publications and media that focus on that specific industry. If you have something more general, then you should focus on the more general media.