It’s called the tips list, or tip sheet. The headlines look similar to these:
9 Ways to Convince Your Kids to Take a Nap
7 Tips for Packing Wrinkle-free Clothing
5 Makeup Secrets for Concealing Baggy Eyes
3 Things You Must Know Before You Sell Your Gold Jewelry
PR pro Holly Langdon used it to get her client onto the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
PR pro Bill Lang used it to get his client stories in four major newspapers in Alabama and on two radio networks with live programs that went to a total of 12 different stations for four minutes each.
PR pro Connie St. John used it to get her client onto the Boston Globe’s Boston.com, and it was picked up by other media throughout the U.S.
Today, tips lists–-if written and used correctly—are more powerful than ever. They can catch the attention of journalists who work for top-tier media outlets like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today and encourage them to write a larger article.
And because content is king online, these simple lists are ripe for sharing on social media.
The webinar I’m hosting from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, Aug. 1, on “17 Ways to Use a Tips List and Make It More Powerful Than Ever,” will teach you how to write a compelling tips list correctly and reformat it several ways to create tips in multi-media, perfect for offering to journalists or sharing on social media. If you can’t attend live, I’ll send you all the links for the video replay and other materials, including tips list samples.
UPDATE: All the materials from the webinar are available for download. Order here.
Why Journalists Love These Helpful Tips Lists
Here are six reasons why the media love tips lists:
1. They often flag journalists to a larger story and lead to an interview.
2. They fill odd-size holes on a page and can often be used as filler.
3. They can sometimes accompany a major story about someone else, as long as the topic is the same.
4. News consumers love free how-to information, and tips lists are quick and easy to digest.
5. The tips can also accompany TV news stories and be shown on the screen.
6. They need very little editing.
How Tips Lists Generate Stories in Major Media
Holly Langdon, an account executive at Shandwick International in Minneapolis, scored a front-page mention in the Wall Street Journal’s Work Week column for the company’s client, Personnel Decisions International, a human resources and management consulting firm, as the result of a tip sheet called “5 Ways for Women to Effectively Handle Stress.” The tips appeared under the headline “The busier, the better.”
“A lot of the consultants at PDI are PhDs and experts in management and workplace issues,” Langdon said. “Our PR team sends tips sheets twice a month to a regular contact list of workplace and business reporters at the top 100 dailies, HR trade publications and business magazines.”
The agency has had the most luck using tip sheets to catch the attention of syndicated columnists. Jerry Landgon (no relation), who writes a column on workplace issues for Gannett News Service, reprinted a list of tips from PDI on qualities companies should look for when hiring information technology workers. That meant multiple hits for PDI in numerous Gannett newspapers.
Piggyback Tips Onto Seasonal Events
When PR pro Bill Lang wrote a list of tips called “6 Ways to Prevent Deer Collisions” on behalf of his client, Progressive Insurance, he never dreamed that sports writers would jump on the story.
His timing was perfect.
Lang, director of Public Relations for Lewis Communications in Birmingham, Ala., offered the tips to media who responded to his initial news release in the month of November, just as deer season was getting under way.
“We were on two radio networks with live programs that went to a total of 12 different stations for four minutes each,” Lang said. “We were in major papers in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Mobile and Montgomery. It really helped position the client as an expert.”
Tie Into a National Holiday
Connie St. John of the St. John Group in San Francisco, who sent the tips list, said Boston.com, associated with the Boston Globe, picked up the entire release, and other media outlets throughout the U.S. picked it up.
Tomorrow’s webinar will explain not only the correct way to write tip sheets, but how to spin them into multiple formats, perfect for sites like Pinterest and YouTube. That means you can get lots of mileage and publicity from only one short tips list while promoting yourself as a subject matter expert.
If you’ve used a tips list successfully, please email it to me, and I might include it in tomorrow’s webinar. More publicity for you!
Have you used tips sheets? How? Is there a link you can share? The Comments section awaits.