The Human Touch

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When PR consultants sit around a meeting table with their clients, often one of the first questions asked is: “What’s new?”

Or in other words: “What can I pitch to the media?”

For PR consultants who work in media relations and promotions, it’s all about the next angle, the new product, the trend the client has noticed, or the issue that the client may be able to provide a quote on. We’re schooled to “think like a journalist” and come up with something newsworthy enough for coverage.

But of course, it’s not possible for a client to have something newsworthy to share month after month.

There are other inroads to sharing client stories, and that includes the human interest story.

Don’t overlook the people that work in your organisation: they could be the key to your next magazine piece, newspaper profile or 30-minute radio conversation.

Human interest stories are generally those that focus on one person (sometimes a couple, sometimes a family), who has a compelling, often emotional, story to share. That person may have:

  • faced and overcome some challenges or problems
  • achieved something extraordinary or unusual (or witnessed something)
  • given back to the community in a heart-warming way
  • undergone a transformation – in anything from their career to their personal attitude to life

All types of media outlets are searching for these stories, seven days a week. They’re the longer-form radio chat shows, the magazines containing feature articles, the Sunday newspapers with double-page spreads. Community newspapers and websites often seek profiles of people that live in the area.

There’s also a huge appetite for personal profiles across industry media. Think of all the construction, fashion, health, education, non-profit media – they’re on the lookout for interesting people to write about.

This goes back to the heart of PR: relationships. If you know your team well, if your staff and colleagues share their own stories with you, you’re aware of what’s happening in their worlds.

Look around your office, your shop, factory floor or school.

Think about your employees, how long they’ve been with you, how they’ve adapted or changed, the hard work they’ve put in, the ideas they’ve come up with, and the connections they’ve made with others. What’s their history with the company? Have they developed an expertise in a niche area?

You can even consider what they do outside of work; have they made an extraordinary contribution to their community? Are they about to volunteer their time overseas? Have they exhibited bravery or compassion or empathy beyond their peers? Is their family going through a tough time, which they’d like to share with others?

There may be a human interest story waiting there.

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