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The Seven-Point Litmus Test for Creating Real PR News Stories

Today’s PR University teleseminar from Bulldog Reporter covered “10 PR Power Writing Tips: How to Create Compelling Copy That People Want to Read and Share.”

The panelists were: Michael Smart, national news director, Brigham Young University, and founder, Michael Smart PR; Nancy Brenner, senior vice president, MS&L Global Corporate, New York; Don Bates, APR, Fellow PRSA; academic director, Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University; and Tom Gable, APR, Fellow PRSA. Jon Greer moderated.

I’ll provide more details later on some of the great tips from my fellow panelists in such topics as: be an internal reporter; know your audiences; word choice matters; always be concise; make news when you don’t have any; where’s the wow: rewrite, revise, repeat; and commit yourself to continuous improvement. Within that, yours truly covered the seven-point litmus test we use as a starting point for issuing real news stories with topical, relevant information and evocative and provocative quotes. Here is the short course, adapted from an earlier PR University teleseminar and workshops at various PRSA and Counselors Academy conferences:

  • Is it really newsworthy to anyone other than the company and, perhaps, the CEO’s family and a few friends?
  • How big is the impact: company, community, region, market niche or category, industry, technology or science breakthrough, nation, hemisphere, humanity?
  • Has the same or similar story already been told (quick database research will answer the question)?
  • Can the premise be supported by valid data, third party sources, real case histories and ongoing proof of principle?
  • Does the company have credible “gurus,” or spokesmen and women who can bring the story to life and become valuable and trusted resources for the media?
  • Can the company be further differentiated by its people, technology, culture and personality? Or if you lined up all the companies in the space would they all look and sound alike?
  • Can the story be summarized in a compelling headline, Tweet or one or two-sentence sound bite or elevator pitch? If posted through social media, will it generate interest and action (Re-tweeting, links, etc.)?

This quick test can help create a smart, compelling and interesting story or posting that breaks through the clutter, communicates to key audiences and supports the long-term image and reputation of your client or organization. For tracking Tweets from the teleseminar use the hash tag: #bulldogpr

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