There are certain newspapers that don’t seem to use reporting in its traditional form but which will carry pretty much the entire contents of a press release provided that you make it interesting. The free newspapers are particularly happy to do this, for example Metro which is given out to travelers on the London Underground each day. It makes sense, because they are a daily publication and free, so if they print stories sent in to them it saves money.
Here are two example of the sort of stories that work.
Premier Inn have very comfortable beds. They use Hypnos beds and there’s no two ways about it, they really are very good. They say that in a guest survey many participants joked that they would like to steal a bed. The familiar story of people stealing towels and robes goes one stage further. Premier Inn executives were discussing this in a meeting and they decided to hire as firm of private investigators to see if they could steal a bed (this really is the story that they fed to the media). One gumshoe managed to nick a bed in 15 minutes and another in 20 minutes.
The Mirror also carried the story with a blurred CCTV picture of one of the investigators carrying a mattress under the headline ‘Crook caught on camera stealing a double bed’ – they admit it was a private investigator in the story.
This works well for Premier Inn because it gives them free coverage in a story which is essentially about how comfortable their beds are.
Another story involves the ubiquitous survey, the details of which are rarely included in a report. On this occasion it found that four in ten men blurt out their secrets in their sleep (how do they know?) This ‘news article’ was for another bed retailer and the newspaper in question helpfully told the whole story, even including the company’s web address at the end of it.
So, here is your technique. Put together an interesting, headline grabbing story. If needs be conduct a survey because you can give the story a bit of gravitas without having to be too specific about who and how many people were surveyed. Then simply choose your targets well. You probably won’t get a story in The Times using this techniques but the freebies and red tops seem to be pretty fair game.