By: Mark Macias
It’s time for an advanced lesson in public relations.
In journalism and PR, the story narrative is crucial to success. Without a strong narrative, there will never be a media placement, regardless of how many contacts you have in the media.
During my years as a news producer with NBC and CBS, there were many times I pursued a story only to discover that the story I thought I was pursuing, changed. When this happened, we had two options – kill the story or salvage it.
In the early stages, like in your initial pitch to a reporter, it is very easy to kill the story, but when money has already been invested in a story, you learn how to salvage it.
As an Executive Producer with WNBC, I oversaw a very large production budget that funded the Special Projects unit. 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 ways to salvage the story – also known as redefining the narrative.
I recently had to “salvage” a story with a real estate client when I was asked to publicize a residential property that was on the market for $48 million dollars.
I originally assumed this high-end property would have gold fixtures and marble floors, but when I visited the property, I saw it was really a fixer-upper. I knew I couldn’t position this story as a voyeuristic view into the wealthy lifestyle, like I had originally planned. So I 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 comes 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 new narrative was such a hit that we had the New York Post and New York Daily News asking for an exclusive on the story. We went with the larger newspaper.
Here’s how to apply it 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. And here’s the story we got on that $48 million fixer-upper.
Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR or MarketYourFund.com