Businesses have ‘news’ everyday, whether it be staff appointments, charity fundraising, launches of new products, but how do you know when a story is ‘newsworthy’ and who it would be relevant to? This is a question that PR consultants are faced with every day and something we have to consider before speaking to journalists.
Naturally, brands don’t want to bombard journalists with every bit of news they have, as this can frustrate the media and mean they switch off to future updates that may be more relevant. So here are some points everyone can take into account when trying to decide if a story is newsworthy:
Relevance – Ensure your story is targeted to the correct readership. For example, a story that is relevant to people in your industry should be sent to your trade press, whereas a story with national impact could be pitched to national media. Also don’t forget to tailor your story to the style of the media you are targeting.
Timing – Ask yourself ‘is this relevant now’? The word ‘news’ means exactly that, stories that are new! If the story happened today it’s news; if it happened last week then the newsworthiness of the story may have depleted. For example, a story about a company closing six months ago would not be of interest, but a company that is closing this week is very newsworthy.
Geography – Where the news happened should also be a consideration. For example, a story about a hairdressers opening in York would be of interest to the press in York, but not to the Kent press. However, a story about a national chain opening multiple hairdressers across the UK, and therefore creating hundreds of new jobs, would be appealing to the national press.
Novelty – A story about a dog biting a man might not be of interest, but if a man bites a dog, this increases the novelty of the story and makes it more interesting.
Mass appeal – the launch of a new electric car appeals to the masses and therefore would be of interest to the national newspapers, but a story about the launch of a new steering wheel degisn for a fork-lift truck might only appeal to the trade machinery press. However, don’t dismiss a story just because of its limited audience; instead look to target it toward the correct media outlets.