PR Wars Podcast: What’s in it for me?

Why do people want to pay attention to you? PR Wars takes a look at reader benefit and how that will give your press releases more impact.

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Announcer: It’s time. Welcome to PR Wars. Coming to you live from Atlanta, Georgia. Now, here is your host, Chris Shigas.

Chris Shigas: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us on PR Wars. I’m Chris Shigas. How you doing? How’s everybody doing? All right, you watching the news, you’re reading the news? See anything good? Eh.

Let me ask you a question. Why are you watching the news? There are specific reasons why people want to read your information. This is critical when you’re drafting a press release. You want to know why no one’s picking up your press release. It’s certainly important to figure out why someone would care about what you have to say. I call this viewer/reader benefit. Viewer/ reader benefit, what’s in it for me to listen to you?

It’s an interesting way to look at things. So often when we write press releases, we’re thinking about ourselves, our companies… a latest news announcement, a latest product. Isn’t our company great? Right? But what’s that missing?

Maybe people in your company care about that. But what’s in it for the customer, the consumer, the person you’re communicating to? Are you just talking about yourself? Are you that boring guy at the party who spends all the time talking about himself? And nobody cares, nobody wants to listen to you anymore. So how do we move our communication away from self grandiosity and move into something relevant that our target audiences want to hear? The trick is we have to turn this paradigm around. We have to make it more about our target audience and less about us.

Just imagine you have maybe a mom and she’s getting dinner ready; telephone’s ringing; the dog is barking; kids are crying; dinner’s boiling over on the stove. She has all these distractions in her life… a competition for message and attention. And what’s going to make her say, “everybody stop. I’ve got to see the story on the news.”


Well, the answer is a viewer/reader benefit. What’s in it for me? Americans are incredibly narcissistic. I don’t care about what you have to say, unless it helps me. Core motives. What’s in it for me. You can describe a core motive in a three word sentence. Things like “protect my family;”
“make me money;” “improve my health.” These are things I care about the list goes on. But you’ll hear these themes when you watch television news, or read a newspaper. You’ll see them come up again and again and again. They’ll even tease it. They’ll say “tonight at 11. We’ll show you how to put more money in your wallet.” Wow. Gotta watch that. Viewer/reader benefit.

Our press releases should be oozing with viewer/reader benefit. I care about what you have to say, because it’s going to benefit me. Let’s say you have a ribbon cutting on a new building. Oh boy. I’ll tell you journalists love to cover ribbon cuttings. Just kidding. So how can we make this relevant to a core motive? What’s in it for me? All right, well, if you’re opening up a new facility, that’s great for you. But how is that relevant to the people in your community? And does it touch a core motive? Of course, it touches a core motive. Maybe, I can get a job there. I could make money. “Make me money” is a core motive, right. So maybe we turn our press release into from talking about ourselves, to talking about how we’re bringing jobs to our communities. And now it’s relevant to me and now I care about what you have to say.

Every business has viewer/reader benefit. Even if you’re a B2B business, you still exist to help make the world a better place. Every business produces a product or a service that helps helps improve the lives of people and the human condition. Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re like, “Look, I watch the news. And there’s more to it than this viewer reader benefit stuff.” And you’re right.

There are three types of news stories. One is the reader viewer benefit that we talked about. Two, is hard news. We’ll see hard news on TV, there’s a explosion in in Afghanistan or there’s a crime committed in your community or, or something like that. The third type of news story is water cooler. This is just what people are talking about. It’s interesting. And that makes it newsworthy. You know, why is Justin Bieber newsworthy? Or the latest on Beyonce or Taylor Swift? Right? Things that people are talking about. So that becomes newsworthy.

What I find when working with different corporations is that sometimes they want to go straight to the watercooler. What we do is so interesting. What we do is so cool, that it’s newsworthy. Our product is so whiz-bang. that’s worthy of news.

When you look at those three types of news stories, viewer reader benefit, hard news and water cooler… That’s the order of the easiest to place as a PR professional, to the most difficult to place. If your press releases oozing with reader viewer benefit. That’s a lot easier to place than a hard news. Is your story really hard news? Does it achieve that level. And watercooler is the most difficult to place of all. I mean really is your product that amazing that people are just talking about it. Does this water cooler story reached the level of Miley Cyrus twerking?

Let’s flip that around. How does this improve their lives, not your company’s life but your audience’s lives. And let’s start from there, you will see better traction, more pickup more relevance. And really the metric that matters is moving the needle with your target audience, making them interested in the great things your company does. So keep that in mind as you produce your next press release. Viewer/reader benefit and what’s in it for me.

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