How to Find the Hook for Your PR Pitch

“Yarrrrr, where’s me hook?” That’s what a pirate would say.

It’s also what you might be saying if you’re trying to put together a press release to promote your business to the media.

You see, a hook isn't just a clumsy substitute for a missing appendage, it's an irresistible concept that gets the attention of your audience. Once you’ve got them, you get to tell them more, and hopefully persuade them to write about you, attend your event or even become your next customer.

However, as you may already know, cutting through the noise in today’s media landscape is more difficult than ever. Overworked journalists are bombarded by a million news items and distractions every day. (I counted.) This means you need to distinguish yourself with gusto.

Here are a few questions that might help you find that all-important hook:

How are you like nobody else? Obviously, you want to get across that you're offering something nobody else has. Otherwise, why are you in business? If you aren't really reinventing the wheel, then you simply need to identify how you stand out from the competition. Are you the fastest? The most affordable? The greenest? Find the best way to differentiate yourself and share it with pride.

How could you tie into current events? Does something make you relevant right now? Can you relate your business to local or national news? Was there a recent stir in a subject matter related to your industry? Tune into the zeitgeist and see if you can play upon or comment on a current trend.

How could you customize your message for different audiences? You want to cast a wide net when you’re contacting the media, but you can greatly increase your effectiveness if you tweak your hook to suit different demographics. If you send the exact same thing to Today’s Chicago Woman, the Reader and Chicago Parent, you have missed an opportunity. Think ahead about how you could appeal to the distinct audiences of different media organizations.

How could you trigger an emotional response? The most effective hook is one that resonates emotionally. Think of ways to personalize your business or the effect you can have on your customers’ lives. Are they relieved? Informed? Inspired? Quenched? What is the feeling you are creating in the universe? What gets you excited about what you do? Boil it down to that proud moment and communicate it.

For more pirate jokes, please contact me via my website below.

Guy F. Wicke is the founder of Wicke International, a media relations firm dedicated to the performing arts, which has promoted events and organizations across Chicagoland and beyond. A Chicago native and a performer himself, he is passionate about bridging the gap between artists and journalists to spread the word about unique theater and help it to thrive. He makes no claims to be some kind of PR guru, just a very talented and handsome man.

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