World Book Day: The story matters

As my kids on a snowy and school-closed World Book Day put down their devices, switched off Netflix and picked up a book, it reinforced my opinion that an engaging and relevant story is the key to grabbing attention.

In broadcast PR, we need to grab the journalist’s attention immediately: the story needs to be simply told, the visuals presented upfront - just like the blurb and cover of a book.

A contact of mine at the BBC recently spoke about what makes a good story for them. Often overlooked is relevance to their audience. Just as my kids like reading stories about youngsters doing original, exciting things they relate to, a broadcast journalist is looking for an equally engaging, audience focused pitch.

At the BBC, stories that affect the majority of the population, healthcare breakthroughs, technology, transport, and business announcements with consequences for the wider public are all of interest.

It’s also essential to keep abreast of the news agenda to see how your story can fit in. Gender equality issues mean the BBC are keen on more female guests at present, and all departments are increasingly looking for an entertainment slant so a celebrity or showbiz angle in a business story, for instance, will grab attention.

And producing quality video content (B-roll or web video depending on the journalist) will always add to the offer, even if they do prefer to film their own content.

Of course, the rules of engagement will differ slightly for broadcasters other than the BBC. But the basic premise remains the same: know the audience and know what makes them tick. Then tailor your story, pitch, visuals, spokespeople and filming opportunities accordingly.

With luck, your story will be like a great book the journalist just cannot put down.

If you would like to know more about tailoring your story to the broadcast media and video content production, please call Mark Jones on +44 7967 353 727

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