Ask these 4 questions to determine newsworthiness
Something exciting just happened in your company – a new hire, project win, brand new office digs – and you’re ready to tell folks about it. You want the world to know! Well, at least those in your surrounding area. You think it’s important, but how do you determine whether or not the media sees it the same way? In other words, what makes a story ‘newsworthy’?
A general definition of something newsworthy is news that people need to know, or want to know. It’s an email editors click on because it caught their attention – an interesting, exciting or important topic. And newsworthiness requires you to take a step back and be objective. Would someone else care about your message enough to share it with others?
So, how do you determine if you have news or not? Senior Account Manager, Mckenzie Masters, shares four qualities journalists look for when determining a newsworthy story below:
1. Is the message timely?
Is the information or event happening in the future or has it already happened? Future-focused, or current content is always a priority. If it happened in the past, it’s likely no longer newsworthy.
Bonus tip: If the content is tied to an upcoming holiday or cultural event, you’ll have a better chance at gaining coverage (i.e. pitching your teacher-related story during back-to-school season or pitching how to save money on gifts around the holidays)
2. Is the announcement interesting?
This is where objectivity comes into play. The story may be interesting to you because you’re personally invested, but is it interesting to others? Will the masses care that your company is holding an employee training event or that you’ve brought on a new client? Likely not. But if you have something of value that will serve others, it could be deemed newsworthy.
3. What’s the message’s proximity?
Is the news or event local to those you want to share it with? People care about things that happen close to home. For example, your company in Nashville is celebrating a huge milestone – 20 years in business – and to celebrate, you’re donating $20,000 to local nonprofits. That’s a story Nashville (and potentially regional) media would likely care about, but not other media across the country because it doesn’t affect their people and communities.
4. Is there a human interest element?
This one is my favorite. Who doesn’t love a feel-good story? If your news pulls on the heartstrings, and connects to people on an emotional level, you’ll have better luck at gaining coverage.
This is not a comprehensive list, but rather, a great starting point for determining if something is newsworthy. Every reporter and outlet is different, what interests one may not interest the other. But before you share your story, run it through these filters first. If it checks most (or all) of the boxes, then continue onward! And if not, it may be the perfect fit for your email newsletter, the blog on your website or as an internal communication piece.
Need help telling your story? Our team of strategic communicators can help build your brand and accomplish your goals. Let’s work together! Contact us here to get started.
Mckenzie Masters is a Senior Account Manager at Pierce Public Relations.