Feeding The Right Headline
June 4, 2015
And so the process goes: Your awesome client tells you they have news, you devise a strategy, draft the release, conduct outreach, host briefings (hopefully multiple), and then pray to the journalistic Gods that the reporter publishes an article and leverages that materials you provided to portray your client in a positive light.
From initial interest from a reporter all the way to the release crossing the wire, it’s our responsibility as PR pros to influence the media every step of the way. We spoon feed them original angles, supply industry data, follow up with corporate collateral and serve customer references – the list goes on. If we’re successful, a feature article can have a significant impact on a client’s business. In some cases, you can even directly quantify the value of PR to a specific business metric or result.
For our client, Vertafore, the company came to us with a product update for one of its leading insurance software solutions. A minor (but still important) update that, lucky for us, aligned with some timely industry news.
You see, Google has recently entered into the insurance technology space and has been causing quite a stir in insurance trade publications as well as mainstream technology outlets. While Vertafore’s latest product update doesn’t necessarily directly compete with Google’s insurance solution, Vertafore has been in the market for over 45 years and brings unmatched industry expertise, technology sophistication and a massive customer base. This gave them a unique opportunity to discuss why technology players such as Google, who try to ‘do it all,’ will never be able to offer consumers the same depth of knowledge, expertise, and resources that industry cornerstones like Vertafore provide.
Leveraging this timely angle, we were able to secure an interview with one of the higher circulation insurance publications. The conversation centered on market implications of Google’s entry and how Vertafore stands to compete.
The call was a challenging one. As the PR team, we helped create common ground by offering up suggestions for a couple of counterpoints that the spokesperson ran with during the interview. This even extended the interview by 10-15 minutes. A great sign, but it was still unclear what key messages the reporter was going to focus on in the article. Later that day we worked on a series of follow up responses to provide the reporter with extra information – making it almost certain this one would result in the type of coverage we wanted to garner.
The next morning, the article posted.
The story touched on the majority of the key messages we wanted included, and those extra points the spokesperson included at the end of the call were highlighted heavily in the second half of the piece. But, the headline was the real attention grabber. The blatant title drove clicks, likes and shares.
Net/net: While it’s sometimes hard to know what’s going to resonate with press, it’s our job to feed media stories that move the needle for our clients, and to help guide our clients correctly through the process. We need to strike the perfect balance between client wants and needs with trends we know will pique reporter interest. By encouraging clients to push the envelop and get a bit outside of their comfort zone to discuss the hot button topic, the result is a mutually beneficial article – the reporter drives clicks, the client drives leads.
-Bailey and Nick