Clients frequently come to us with a story they think should make headlines. However, what you might think would be of interest to others may be difficult to sell to a mass audience. Within the context of a rapidly changing media landscape, the definition of news is a constant. The old Journalism 101 mantra of “’Dog bites man’ is not news but ‘Man bites dog’ is news,” still rings true. When defining your news, make sure it falls into one of the following categories:
1. New – news needs to be current, timely and fresh. Something that is happening now and unique to your business or event.
2. Local – it should be relevant to the readership or audience you are pitching to. We’ve generated a lot of coverage for Bike Week, just by finding participants from various newspaper or magazine circulation areas and pitching individual stories.
3. Human interest angle – try to put a human face to your story or consider how your issue or what you do affects your target audience.
4. Conflict and controversy – never a popular one with clients but a story with conflict usually always makes the news. If you are under attack, it’s crucial to take an opportunity to communicate your side of the story to the best of your ability.
5. Great images – creative or dramatic images will often make the news. Sometimes, these can be set-up in advance. Some can be pitched on the day but often rely on the skills of a good photographer!
6. Expert opinion – if you are an expert in your chosen field then you can become a newsmaker and dramatically raise your profile by embracing social media and regularly blogging and tweeting. You can also enhance your profile by proactively commenting on issues and events in traditional media forums.
7. Timely – your story can make the news by linking it to a particular holiday or sales season or time of the year i.e. Christmas, Easter, summer, community awareness weeks, school holidays etc. By planning ahead, you can capitalise on calendar events.