Radio broadcaster Paul Harvey was famous for his The Rest of the Story segments, which presented little-known or forgotten facts behind a historical event or famous person. Likewise, there is often a story or some valuable lessons behind many PR and marketing efforts, including a national media placement Aker Ink secured for Spokane, Washington-based Winston Center.
Parents.com, a respected and highly trafficked outlet with 1.7 million monthly visitors, turned to Winston Center Co-CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Thomas Beck for advice on fidget and sensory toys and whether they can help children with ADHD. It’s a great feature — it got the provider of services and tools for attention and learning challenges in front of parents nationwide months ahead of the company’s launch of a digital therapeutics solution for ADHD while positioning Dr. Beck as an ADHD expert.
Yet the end result is not the initial story we pitched — and there are some valuable lessons in The Rest of the Story.
1. Media relations can be a long game. Aker Ink initially reached out to the publication seven months prior for a story about how parents can spot learning challenges like dyslexia and ADHD while their children are participating in distance learning. They didn’t have space for the story at that time, but they saved the pitch, valued the timeliness and newsworthiness, and noted how we positioned our client as an expert and thought leader. Our efforts landed Winston Center in a source list, and we were called upon months later when an ADHD expert was needed.
Some media coverage is nearly instantaneous — a reporter is on a tight deadline and runs a story hours or days after an interview. Other publications have longer lead times and plan content months in advance. A good media relations strategy addresses both, always keeping one eye on trends to capitalize on in the short-term while also keeping the other on editorial calendars and additional opportunities down the road.
2. Pitches must be memorable. Not all pitches land — but a good pitch is one the reporter or editor will hang onto for future use. In this case, the reporter who wrote the eventual story was not the one we approached, but the first reporter kept our information and passed it along.
Our initial pitch included some staggering facts about ADHD and dyslexia, then highlighted how Winston Center experts could address behaviors parents should look for that signal both learning challenges. Although part of the published article was about fidget toys, it was prefaced by our initial pitch: ADHD traits that children may exhibit.
3. Being open to possibilities is crucial. Winston Center doesn’t manufacture or carry fidget toys, so at first glance the publication’s request might not have seemed like a strategic fit. However, it was a great opportunity for Dr. Beck to educate readers about ADHD and introduce them to the services Winston Center does provide. His willingness to embrace something different during a busy week resulted in some terrific coverage that will open doors for the company. His timeliness and expertise will be remembered when the next opportunity arises for ADHD and learning challenges. We are also forging new relationships ahead of the digital therapeutics app launch.
Media relations often requires patience and perseverance, but targeted pitches that demonstrate an understanding of the outlet’s viewers, listeners or readers and contain useful information will bear fruit. Aker Ink’s skilled team of former journalists and PR pros can put their experience to work in obtaining the PR results your company needs and leveraging them on social media.