By Mark Macias
What happens when you can’t get traction for a story, no matter how hard you pitch it? Or worse, when journalists tell you, “that’s not a story.”
When this happens, it is time to redefine the narrative. In journalism and PR, the story narrative is crucial to success. Without a strong narrative, there will never be a media placement.
During my years as a news producer with NBC and CBS, there were many times when I pursued a story only to discover that the story I thought I was pursuing was actually a different story. When this happened, we had two options – kill the story or salvage it.
As Executive Producer with WNBC, I oversaw a very large production budget that funded the Special Projects unit. At the time, GE owned NBC, so as every shareholder knows, GE was very big that you come under budget or you get fired.
There were many times when I approved a story idea and we invested money into the story, only to discover half-way through the story that it wasn’t there. This was when we had to put on our creative hats and think of a way to salvage the story.
How to Salvage a Story when the Media says No
MACIAS PR recently had to “salvage” a story with a real estate client that wasn’t catching on with the media. The residential property was on the market for $48 million dollars, and I assumed it would be turnkey. But when I visited the property, I saw it was really a fixer-upper. We couldn’t position this property as a voyeuristic view into the wealthy lifestyle, like I had originally planned. No reporter would want to see this property.
So we redefined the narrative.
The new story became, “take a look at a $48 million fixer-upper.” Then, I redefined my media pitch into what I originally thought. “You would think this property would come with gold fixtures and marble floors, but you won’t see any of that in this property. Only in New York can you buy a $48 million fixer-upper.”
The story was a hit with local and international media, bringing new exposure to the realtor. The New York Daily News and The Daily Mail in the UK both ran flattering stories on the property.
How can you apply this to your business? Next time you can’t get traction with a story, try redefining the narrative. Sometimes, the real story is better than the original story. Let us know if you need help.
Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017 and 2018 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s also a frequent contributor with CNBC and author of the books, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media and the Tao of PR.