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  • Tracey Gordon

Tip #1 for great coverage - Walk Back the Story



A friend recently asked me "how are you able to get consistently great coverage for the companies you work for?"


Well, I had a great advantage being part of four amazing companies and CEOs who believed in a strong media relations effort.


But, I also developed a secret strategy early on in my career that I’ll share with you today.

Quite simply, I walk back the story.


Walking back the story is a highly effective PR strategy and it delivers great results?


Every media person will find his/her own rhythm and the tools that work best for getting their company – or clients for agency people – visibility.


Walking back the story does it for me, whether it’s working on a cover story, pitching a new business initiative, or prepping a CEO for an interview.


It goes like this:


Imagine the ideal story on your organization. Think of a piece that would be considered by everyone a great result.


Then walk it back in your mind, step-by-step.


What do I mean by this?


Imagine the finished product - article, video, interview, press conference – and have the ideal result in your mind. When you find yourself saying "wow that came out perfectly," well that's your starting point ... your walk-it-back moment.


Separate the outcome you desire from the components that make up the story. Start from the beginning of the project, be it a new design, business initiative or company restructuring and identify the steps involved – planning, market analysis, sales strategy etc. that make up the whole story.

These are the building blocks of your pitch, messaging for an executive, YouTube video, your own content for your company's online newsroom.


One example that worked for me was a company expanding internationally. Before the reporter came in, I interviewed all the key people involved, from the CEO to execution teams in Asia. What were the compelling trends supporting the strategy, what would happen in key locations?


It’s always important to identify interesting color for a business story, insights from the executives driving the strategy, anecdotes that fold into the macro strategy.


Then of course, work with local teams to identify image opportunities. Today, you must think visually, whether your coverage is print, online, video or text. Visuals grab eyeballs and matter to news organizations. In fact, today all print publications have digital channels where so much more than the print story will run for thousands more to see.


The great thing about a walking back the story strategy is that it works on both small and larger pieces.


So, imagine the end result, then walk it back.

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