What makes a good news story?

By Nicky Rudd
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In our PR work, one of the things that we have to consider in our media relations outreach is what makes a good news story. A good news story will help educate, inform and interest a media outlet’s reader, viewer or listener. However, what makes a good industry story that you may read in a trade publication will be very different from a national news story that you may read in a newspaper or see on TV.

As a client, you might be brim full of ideas of news for your company, or you might be having a dry spell. One of the challenges for a PR agency is helping a client recognise what is a news story and what isn’t. Very often, clients have a very different (and much more passionate) feeling about their new product or service than a journalist does. Sometimes, you just have to take a step back and ask, is this really newsworthy? PR professionals are some of the most diplomatic people on the planet, so we have had lots of experience of handling clients’ raw emotions. The important thing with which we can help, is recognising a story idea and together with this passion, shaping it so that it becomes newsworthy.

Here are a few topics to get you thinking about your business and what you could be shouting about (but remember to think of where you want your news to appear):

  • New staff appointments and promotions
  • Innovation stories
  • Turnover and large customer project wins
  • CSR (corporate social responsibility or community projects)
  • Mergers
  • Partnerships
  • Redundancies (be careful how you handle this one!)
  • New products and services… but think about what the news angle will be for  this!!
  • Award wins
  • Events

One of the tools we use when helping clients think about what makes a news story is to get them to think of the headline they would want to see in a publication. We also ensure we know the target publications that our clients want to be in and we do our research. What stories is the publication covering? What is the tone and style of their reporting? If you can give a publication a story that their readers/listeners/viewers would be interested in, it’s a much easier sell-in.

Having said, that, I would like to highlight that obtaining media coverage for a client can be extremely challenging. If PR is an on-going activity that you are using in raising your company’s brand awareness, there are a lot more tools that PR professionals can offer to assist getting coverage than the mere press release.

Check back in our next blog post to find out more about press releases and pitching to the media or why not join us on one of our PR training courses?

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