When deciding to embark on PR activity, it’s important to be able to identify what is and isn’t a good story. What does a strong news story look like and what should you avoid?
A Simple Formula
If it’s interesting to your target customer and the publication’s readership, then it’s worth making some noise about.
It’s important as a company to keep the channels of communication open with the press in order to share news as it happens.
Sometimes, companies will miss an opportunity to talk about key changes and ‘newsworthy’ items within their organisation because they do not realise they are worth talking about.
In contrast, some organisations churn out release after release which lack news value. This means they will be putting in a lot of effort to produce the stories but failing to produce the results desired as the stories are not ‘newsworthy’.
So what IS newsworthy?
News is topical and current first and foremost. Do you have something new to say? Keep up with the current agenda and make comment where appropriate.
The number of people affected by the story is another way to determine the value of the story. Also consider emotional appeal, i.e. does the story have a human interest angle? Is anyone well-known involved?
Coming up with ideas
Create your planner of upcoming events in order to plot the key opportunities for media coverage and schedule ahead for your press opportunities. Think about what would be an interesting story to people outside of your company. If it does not have that interest factor, there's a high chance it won't be picked up.
It’s all about the timing
A great story can become out-of-date very quickly and it’s essential to plan accordingly. Don’t be too slow when issuing press releases.
Make sure your release is issued in a timely manner as the event is actually happening or just after. Make sure you have your PR team fully briefed so there are no delays on issuing content.
Avoid sales copy
Bland releases packed full of marketing spiel will not get pick up in quality publications. Get the tone right for your target audience in order to maximise coverage.
Don’t saturate your press release with key messages, just pick one or two messages you would like to weave into the article naturally.
There has to be an original news hook. If you have already talked about everything in your release, why would the news outlet run the story?
Targeting the correct media with your news
Don’t forget that it is not only having something newsworthy that is key to the success of your PR activity but also targeting it to the right people.
If you send your news to the wrong places, then it will not get the pick-up it deserves. What is a great story for certain media outlets will be useless to others. Ensure you target your releases accordingly or miss opportunities.
The wider news agenda may require commentary from specific experts so it’s important to build a rapport with the press in order to make newsworthy comments on current topics.
With this in mind, choose a few key experts in your company who are happy to produce reactive comment on the current agenda as and when news breaks.