Focus on the readers

The most common mistake made by PRs is to focus on the demands of the client rather than the needs of the consumer. Whenever you pitch an idea you must be ready to answer the question: “What use is this to our readers?”

Find the inside track
Don’t assume that tourists always want to do touristy things. Sometimes the smart ones want to do the things that local people do. So find where locals go, the insider secrets, and tell me.

Be subversive
I’m not encouraging you to riot in the streets. I mean that you should be prepared to subvert conventional thinking. New York for shopping? Been there, done it. How about Boston, or Minneapolis? A new hotel in Paris? Not a story. A hotel in Paris that has sent its staff to charm school. That’s a story.

Give me a proposition to test
It’s fine to be bold and make claims on behalf of your client, but even better if the claims are testable. For instance, a hotel in New York offers to refund the cost of a night’s stay if guests don’t get a good night’s sleep. That’s interesting, and I can test it. A hotel in Thailand claims its new spa treatment can cure jet lag. That’s testable.
 
Be ahead of the curve
The world is full of glorious places to write about. Sometimes I just need an excuse. It could be a sporting event, a movie set there (or filmed there), even a royal wedding. But don’t pitch the idea two weeks before the event. Start digging now for 6 or 12 months’ time.

Give me a piece of kit to play with
New technology – if it promises to make life easier or more interesting – is always appealing. Maybe a hotel is giving GPS devices to guests, or a city is trialling a new mobile phone payment system (subway fares, fast food, etc). Get me out there with a handset!

Show me value
Everyone likes a bargain, whether we're rich or poor. Value is not about being cheap, it’s about getting more for your money than you expected. This urge pre-dated the Credit Crunch and will survive it.

Include the competition
Your first instinct when plugging a client innovation might be to try to pass it off as unique or original. This isn’t always the best strategy. Some things are more interesting if they form part of a trend. For instance, a city offers free guided tours led by locals. A nice story, except that New York beat you to it. This isn’t a problem if you package the idea properly. “First came New York’s Big Apple Greeter, followed by free tours of Chicago and Houston. Now the idea has come to Paris…”

Pitch the idea to one writer in one paragraph
When I get a press release that says “Hi there” and is copied to 100 other journalists I know I don’t need to read it. But if it’s a short message addressed just to me, I’ll read it and respond.

So do it
If you have a great idea email me.
 

 

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