Your angle?

Quite often, our principle media trainer opens a class by asking his business executive students, “What is the most important thing you want to say to the media about your company today?” The answer, almost always, is “Our company is a forward-thinking leader in our business space with best-of-class products and outstanding service.”  In other words, the students’ angle is a line direct from the company’s latest brochure. To the news media, this angle is a drop of porridge to be glanced at disparagingly and ignored studiously.

An angle or hook in media terms is the most important point in the story.  Often, this hook will be the first sentence of the item and its essence will be captured in the headline of the article.  And, we guarantee, that this hook or angle or headline will never be, “Forward-thinking leading company has best-of-class products, outstanding service”.

When an editor or producer searches a topic for the hook of an individual article, he or she is looking, not necessarily for the most important point within the topic but for the most interesting point. It also helps if this hook is the most current point in the content of the article.  This might be the release by the company of a new product with a truly ground-breaking feature. It might be the takeover of one major company by another. It might, unfortunately, be a recall of thousands of defective products that threatens the safety of customers.

The angle will never be a generic, undated bit of info simply because such points are not interesting; they are as boring as porridge.  Therefore, the company that wants its products and services to be mentioned in media reports must develop interesting angles or hooks that make its products or services as interesting as possible. Each hook must be specific, not general. It should be as current as possible.

To identify a hook, a company has to look at all aspects of the topic it wants to discuss with media. It has to identify the users who will be most interested in the product, service or brand. It has to identify something that is happening today or in the near future related to the topic. It has to identify the areas (geographic, commercial…) in which the topic is most relevant. It has to identify the reason the angle will be of interest to preferred audiences.

Once the angle is identified and described, it has to be encapsulated in a sentence that is as interesting or even as exciting as possible. Then, this sentence has to be delivered to targeted media by a company spokesperson or vehicle like a news release.  So, what’s your angle?  Think about it – seriously.