Maximizing Stories with Evergreen and Hard News
Your media relations campaign should be a mix of hard and soft stories for balance and an improved cadence of hits. Don't know the difference yet? We've got you covered with this breakdown and examples.
One of the most frequent conversations we have with clients as we dive into their media relations campaign is the differentiation between “evergreen” and “hard news” stories. This conversation most often happens when discussing pitching angles we’re prioritizing for various targets. Because it is such a common discussion, we figured it can’t hurt to break down the differences between these two types of stories and how they are used to generate long-term and short-term coverage for clients.
After kick off, we spend a significant amount of time analyzing notes, press kit materials and media targets to generate a strategic plan that outlines our blueprint for maximizing upcoming announcements, new products and important storylines the client wants to tell but may not know how to. These ideas can range from funding announcements and new offerings, to a company founder’s story or a problem the company is solving within its industry. However, the various story examples listed above fit into different buckets - the funding and new offerings announcements would be categories into the “hard news” side, while a founder’s story or problem/solution pitch are referred to as “evergreen.” The reason this distinction is important because announcements will come and go within a week due to timing with a firm announcement date and the speed of the news cycle. There’s a short window to get your news out and make the most impact because, let’s face it, a reporter isn’t going to run a new product story three months after it’s been debuted and a handful of other outlets have already reported on it. While there’s always an exception the rule, it’s not the norm.
On the other hand, evergreen stories we pitch can be told campaign-round, continuously sprinkled into our monthly media plan and outreach cycle. They don’t have a shelf life, and can be told by multiple reporters in multiple different ways, as they may latch on to different parts of the narrative or tell it in a completely new way, which also differs from a straightforward, hard-facts style of an announcement. Evergreen stories are advantageous for us as PR pros and for you as a client because they are usually in-depth, feature stories that outline a company’s mission and purpose. These are the stories we spend months looking for the best media contacts to pitch to, and sometimes months working on all the pieces with the reporter, which is why you’ll commonly see it as an underlying pitching angle on agendas for weeks at a time.
We typically explain this media pitching process to clients several times throughout the duration of the campaign as we navigate and hit goals, but evergreen stories can takes months and months of pitching and following up to come to fruition. In addition to finding the right reporter to write the story, reporters are focused on their hard news stories first and foremost, and those take priority (because who wants to read stale news, right?), and evergreen stories are pushed to an opening that could be several weeks, or even months, out.
We’re always happy to explain this pitching process to our clients and help them understand our strategy for securing coverage using a number of different methods, and we get just as excited as they do when a robust profile or case study lands a story that drives customers, clicks and investors.
Relevant Example Coverage: