17 September, 2019
PR can be like fishing, a game of patience and skill. You need to be prepared, have your plan of action in place and hope journalists take the bait you’ve worked hard to package up. But most importantly for both fishing and PR, you need to make sure that your hook is nice and sharp!
A hook in PR is having that link which makes a client’s work newsworthy. It could be achieved by linking a campaign to a themed or famous day, such as Armed Forces or Disability Awareness Day, having a timely news angle or capitalising on the wider news agenda.
Using one of these hooks to launch your campaign means that you’ve got a better chance of catching a journalist’s attention and ultimately achieving more coverage.
This summer we had our own PR hook to sharpen. The Margaret Pyke Trust, a leader in contraception and sexual health for 50 years, was launching the Thriving Together campaign, which brings together more than 150 leading environmental and health organisations. It recognises the importance of integrating family planning services as a part of environmental and conservation programmes, one of the most important yet ignored environmental actions.
For the launch of the campaign, we had three shiny hooks we were able to use. The first was the embargo date of 11th July, the UN celebrated World Population Day. A day ‘which seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issue’ and on which journalists would be looking to write stories on the topic of global population. Launching the Thriving Together campaign on World Population Day therefore meant journalists would pay more attention to our pitch and we would achieve more coverage.
The second hook was Dr Jane Goodall’s involvement in the campaign. Behind David Attenborough, Dr Jane Goodall is arguably the world’s most famous environmentalist. Her backing of the campaign caught the attention of journalists, helping us to secure an exclusive interview with her.
Our third and final hook saw us jump on the news agenda following the launch of the Thriving Together campaign. Whilst interviewing Dr Jane Goodall for the September issue of Vogue magazine, Prince Harry said that he and Meghan would only be having two children for environmental reasons. This story was covered by the Evening Standard. Wanting to capitalise on this, we sent a Letter to the Editor of the Evening Standard from David Johnson, Chief Executive at the Margaret Pyke Trust, linking the Thriving Together campaign to this news.
These hooks meant that in addition to the Evening Standard piece, we were able to secure an exclusive interview with The Guardian’s Environment Editor, Damian Carrington and leading environmentalist Dr Jane Goodall. We also arranged further interviews with the Metro Online and the leading international development publication, Devex. The story was also covered in South Africa following an interview with the news agency, Media 24, and David Johnson, the Margaret Pyke Trust’s Chief Executive.
Like fishing, patience is needed with PR and having that hook sharpened and a solid plan of attack is required. So next time when you plan your story, it is best to think of what your hook might look like.
Need some inspiration for your own PR hook? Why not take a look at our free resources here.