Repost: WORLD BOOK DAY: The story matters



Another year, another World Book Day, and, although my kids are now too old for the enthusiastic dressing up, the importance of storytelling and attention-grabbing is still worth a (slightly edited) repost from 2018.

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It's World Book Day and I nearly started the Christmas present book (go me!). But I did notice that my kids voluntarily put down their devices, switched off Netflix / YouTube and picked up a book, reinforcing 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.

Two contacts of mine at the BBC and Sky both 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. Of course, this doesn't mean now we should all be looking for tenuous links to the Coronavirus.

But it is essential to keep abreast of the news agenda to see how your story can fit in. Gender equality issues mean BBC and Sky 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 and Sky. 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.

And a well-developed relationship with the journalist doesn't go amiss either as it can really help your call or email stand out from the masses.

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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