Think Strategically for PR: What’s the “Hook”?

medium_2465649956Regardless of the medium—newspapers and magazines, broadcast and cable TV, radio, social networking platforms, or blogs—the key to getting your story picked up stays the same: every writer, reporter, and editor must feel that your information is relevant, timely, and useful to their audience(s). However, they won’t feel that way unless you serve up your story with a “hook” that gets their attention.

With the barrage of press releases every media outlet faces daily, editors and reporters apply selective filters to separate the mundane from true “news.” Getting your story through those filters is the primary responsibility of your PR professionals. The hook is what helps. Your company’s story may not be urgent “breaking news,” but if you can demonstrate in your press release that your information is relevant and useful to that media outlet’s audience, or you have a timely comment on something in the news, you increase your chances for PR coverage.

A recent media phenomenon is the rise of hyperlocal news sites—websites that focus directly on a local community, providing readers with a wide range of relevant news and information each day. These aren’t mom-and-pop websites—some of the biggest media players, including AOL and The New York Times Company, have launched hyperlocal news sites all across the country. The Patch.com sites are one example, set up for an increasing number of cities and towns in 23 states at this writing.

The best news about this explosion of hyperlocal and other online news sites is they all need content. If you want coverage, you need to deliver relevant, timely, and thoroughly edited content, and the “hook” or angle still counts.

What’s the most effective “hook” you’ve seen recently?

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