If you’re a FAMOUS graduate or you’ve downloaded the StoryFinder template from our free story workshop you’ll know how crucial it is to your PR planning. Without StoryFinder, our one-page template that helps you dig out all the newsworthy stories in your business, you’re likely to miss all the PR gold that’s within your business, sitting there right under your nose.
If you haven’t mastered StoryFinder yet download it here.
We’ve run some fantastic Facebook Live mentoring sessions helping students get more out of StoryFinder and essentially, more out of their businesses. The questions have been so insightful that students have requested we share them again within the Facebook group. So we thought, why keep them to ourselves, let’s share them publicly and everyone can benefit.
So here is a selection with a summary of the answers from Alistair and Gemma – enjoy!
Classmate Question: Why do you split your StoryFinder into these five categories?
The purpose of StoryFinder is to help you think holistically about your business – from suppliers, production, product, service, your team through to your customers. So every area of the business. There’s a tendency when doing PR, just to focus on the product but we always find that there are gems of stories hiding away in business areas that are overlooked. When you set it all out on paper, going through each one in turn, you tend to uncover stories that you had never thought of before. You’d be surprised what people find – sometimes the most compelling story for a startup has been there in their supply chain (for example) all along but they didn’t give a second thought until now.
The StoryFinder can also be filled out by other members of your team, it doesn’t just have to be the person in charge of PR or marketing. By involving others you get a different perspective – if you want stories about your customers then ask the person responsible for customer service or customer satisfaction. For PR to be impactful it is important that it is embedded in your business.
With all of this data, you’ll then know how to write a press release.
Classmate Question: Should I limit myself to just a few stories?
Not at all. Put every single story that you can think of down. And the more detail the better. Avoid just single words, put down sentences so you know what they mean later. This is an essential piece of business intelligence that forms the basis of all your PR work going forwards so when you look back at it in a few months’ time…?
Classmate Question: How often should you re-do your StoryFinder, or do you only do it once?
It depends on your PR strategy – your PR planner. You should re-do your StoryFinder every time you feel your strategy needs updating. For most startups or small businesses, this will probably be around every six months. Every year is too little, but more frequently than every six months, or every quarter is too much. You need to judge what suits your business best – you need to make sure enough time has passed for stories to evolve and for new stories to emerge, but not so much as you have missed a lot of new stories. It also depends on capacity – how much time can you spend planning your PR? When you make a strategy you do need to be flexible and adapt it where necessary but the flip side of that is to change it too much and then you never get anywhere.
A good place to start is every six months, thoroughly review your business for stories and then complete your PR planner based on them. Revisit it in six months and see how successful you were gaining media coverage for those stories. What worked well? What can you improve?
Classmate Question: Should I put down that I am launching my website?
Yes, why not. This isn’t going to be of interest to the media but you should share it on your social channels to drive traffic to your site so it should be part of your wider PR plans.
Classmate Question: There are two different parts to my business – should I do two StoryFinders or combine them into one StoryFinder?
This depends on how different the parts are – if they are radically different and you have different teams working on them, different strategies, budgets etc. then yes perhaps it is best to do two StoryFinders for the sake of clarity. But that is quite a rare occurrence and we usually just recommend completing one StoryFinder per business – otherwise, it can get confusing.
Getting your story right is crucial and there’s no quick way to talk you through it so why don’t you check out this video with Gemma that tells you where the stories are in your business.