How understanding journalism can help you become a better PR — Hallam

How understanding journalism can help you become a better PR — Hallam


What’s the secret to every great PR campaign? 

We PRs sometimes forget about the impacts of a good story and focus on the quick wins. In the hustle and bustle of meeting deadlines and chasing metrics, the essence of a good campaign can often be overshadowed. 

Drawing from my background as a journalist contributing to national magazines and newspapers, I’ve discovered the secret ingredient to crafting press releases that resonate deeply – and that is through exceptional storytelling. 

The key is to think like a journalist before embarking on your PR campaign journey. In fact, understanding the journalism landscape and the challenges journalists face is like having a secret weapon for crafting compelling narratives. 

Journalism teaches us to dig deep, find the human angle, and present information in a way that engages and informs. Applying these principles to PR means going beyond the surface, uncovering the heart of a story, and weaving it into a narrative that people can relate to.

Christmas advertisements

Let’s talk about Christmas campaigns. What makes these multimillion-pound advertisements captivate our attention year after year?

The excitement and anticipation around the Christmas advertisements have turned into a nationwide phenomenon. Companies such as John Lewis, Aldi, Amazon, Morrisons, JD Sports and many others have released their ads at the beginning of November and attracted the attention of millions.

Yes, the ads are selling a product, but they’re also sparking an array of emotions from viewers just by tapping into the power of storytelling. From nostalgia to pure joy or even sadness, the stories shared in the ads all evoke parts of our culture, our traditions, languages, routines and more.

A good advertisement is more than just catchy slogans and good music: it’s the power of weaving a narrative that captures hearts and leaves a lasting impression.

So, how can we incorporate a good story into our press releases?

Journalism 101 for PR

Adopting a journalist’s mindset while embracing the role of a storyteller can elevate your PR game. Look into the fundamental principles that every writer in a UK publication adheres to. Journalists emphasise accuracy, fairness and relevance – buzzwords for any PR professional. 

Essentially, a journalist’s duty is to inform the public about new and noteworthy developments. By aligning your PR strategies with these journalistic principles, you ensure that your narratives are not only compelling but also resonate authentically with your target audience.

Not only does this approach enhance the credibility of your stories but also establishes a strong foundation for building trust with your audience. Add a great story to the mix, and you have a recipe for success. 

This way, the synergy between journalism and PR empowers you to craft stories that are not just promotional but meaningful and impactful.

Understand journalists’ challenges

People’s trust in the news is going down, and journalists are feeling more pressure to write stories that will grab readers’ attention. A global survey by the Reuters Institute found that only 42% of people trust the news most of the time, and trust has decreased in almost half of the countries surveyed. Many journalists see keeping credibility as a trusted news source and dealing with accusations of fake news as their biggest challenge.

To add more to their plate, journalists today are often short on time and resources, relying on external content to meet their quotas. Building strong relationships with PR professionals can lead to an informed and collaborative approach, making it possible for PR content to be used in a helpful and credible way.

Essentially, PR professionals should make a journalist’s job easier by understanding what they need and the difficulties they face. 

Case studies 

Case studies are the best way to attract a journalist’s attention.

Writers, editors, and journalists often seek out case studies because they inject colour and emotion into narratives, captivating audiences. These versatile stories can accompany features, personalise news stories, or stand alone as compelling pieces of content.

Including a human component in any campaign helps people to connect with a story. It allows people to relate to the experiences and emotions of others, making the information more impactful and engaging.

Whether it’s delving into the intricacies of interest rate decisions by the Bank of England or exploring the annual ritual of clocks going backward every October, journalists consistently place their audience at the centre of their narrative creations.

Providing these real-world examples not only makes your pitch more compelling to journalists but also enhances their ability to communicate complex economic information to their audience in a relatable manner.

Think like a journalist, act like a storyteller

This mantra should guide your approach. By adopting a journalist’s mindset, you can ensure your stories are not just informative but also captivating. Dig deep to find the unique angles and the relatable aspects that make a story truly resonate. 

We’re experts at uncovering great stories and crafting narratives that are engaging, authentic, and impactful. Get in touch to begin elevating your PR campaigns.



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