Many people think that as a marketing and PR company, if we want to get a client featured in the media we just write a press release about something interesting that has happened in the organisation. However, a press release isn’t always the best way to get your company in the news. Sometimes an informative article or opinion piece is a much more influential way to go.

There is often some confusion identifying the difference between offering a feature story and a press release. The latter needs to contain proper news – something needs to have happened or changed in some significant way. Maybe a new member of staff has been appointed, a new service has been launched or an event is about to occur. It is based on fact, not opinion.

However, a feature can be opinion based, providing the opportunity to comment on something topical that is happening in your industry, offering tips and advice to readers or predicting forthcoming trends. It should showcase your knowledge and is extremely useful in positioning you as an expert in your particular sector.

So, if changes are afoot in your industry, an article is the ideal place to express your informed opinion about what is taking place, and how it could affect your customers and potential customers. It’s also a great way of offering advice – tips style articles are often very popular with readers and publishers.

Choose your audience

Think about the problems that your clients have and how you could write an article addressing these issues.  When you are pitching an article idea to a publication, target who you contact carefully to ensure it’s the right audience for what you want to write about. It’s also helpful to have an angle or a hook for your proposed feature. This could be something that has happened recently in the news, interesting industry sales figures, something related to a new piece of legislation or a new industry report to name just a few. You might want to make a provocative statement to get attention – but be careful not to alienate your audience by going over the top. You are aiming to come across as authoritative, not ‘off the wall’.

Choose your style

The style of a feature can also vary widely. It can take the form of a Q&A, a traditional piece of prose, a list of top tips, a first person opinion piece or a third person examination of the key issues. Decide what works best for your audience and the topic being discussed.

At the Ideal Marketing Company, we regularly send out article pitches for clients on a wide range of subjects. Here’s just a small selection of features that we have had published for our clients.

  • A feature in Construction Excellence UK for a client who develops transport management solutions giving an expert view on how automation can improve logistics processes in the construction industry
  • An expert article explaining why it’s important to maintain electrics in older buildings for a client who is an electrical contractor. This was linked to the news that Buckingham Palace is to be renovated to make it more topical and give it a slightly more interesting angle
  • A feature for an estate agent in Property News explaining why businesses are relocating to city centres

Although the content of these articles varies widely, they do have several features in common.  All offer an expert’s point of view on an issue and help position the author as knowledgeable in their particular field. The author doesn’t aim to explicitly promote their own company – they simply offer an informed examination of the topic which is more powerful and persuasive than an advertorial is likely to be.

PR and marketing advice

If you have something to say and you would like the expert help of a marketing and PR agency to help you get heard, contact The Ideal Marketing Company today. We have a proven track record in securing quality press coverage for a range of clients. Call Alastair on 01858 44 55 43 or email for more information.

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