This week, we held our first Practical Media Workshop, organised in conjunction with marketing specialists Jane Heaton Associates. And we had a great day!
As well as Jane and myself, we had the expertise of Rough House team member Janet Knight, an experienced features writer and editor who’s worked for both national newspapers and magazines.
The aim was to provide a real insight into how journalists operate; brainstorm and develop specific story ideas about our trainees’ businesses; give advice about how to position themselves as experts in their field; and then teach them how to present stories in a way that will grab the attention of an editor.
We had a brilliant and diverse group. This included a lady setting up a line of green cleaning products, a man who worked for an industrial chemical company, two people from a specialist mastectomy lingerie company, the marketing manager of a firm of solicitors and an actor.
With such a lot to cram in we worked everyone very hard. They came to the workshop armed with stories about their business, and some idea of the type of magazines, newspapers or TV programmes where they’d like to see their businesses featured.
But we’d also done our homework, with lists of ideas for each trainee. Which meant our ‘story clinic’ was a really productive session. Ideas flew around the room and we all came up with some excellent potential features.
Brainstorming story ideas is brilliant. If you have the time to delve into someone’s background and how their business evolved, and there’s a supportive and creative atmosphere, it can be immensely satisfying. I love seeing our clients really ‘get it’, seeing them discover how to turn their ideas into the type of stories the media are looking for.
The afternoon was dedicated to taking our lists of story ideas and learning how to ‘pitch’ them to the media, either by writing a synopsis or a press release.
Because you can have the best story idea in the world but if you don’t present properly then it will be ignored.
At the end of the day, several trainees had press releases finished and ready to go – with others, I’m looking forward to them pinging into my inbox in the next few days.
In the meantime, I’d like to share with you some of the fantastic feedback we had at the end of the day:
- Very valuable learning ‘how to’ from people ‘who do’
- Great relaxed learning environment, no fear of not getting it right. Well done!
- The real life journalist stories and tips were excellent.
- Writing press releases was particularly useful, along with advice on who to place them with.
- Very useful brainstorming & good diversity of other companies, great feedback.
- Ann and Janet’s anecdotes were good. It was useful to have real life stories and what they would want to receive press release wise.
- Very informative – the only failing was me trying to put the right words into a press release. Is there a press release workshop? (the answer to that one is yes – let us know if you’re interested!)
Now it’s time for them to put into practice everything we covered over the day, and hopefully secure some fantastic coverage.
Good luck everyone!