What makes a great news story?

One of communications 21®’s core capabilities is media relations.  For more than 20 years, we’ve helped B2B and B2C clients make headlines.  So, it’s not surprising that clients and prospects come to us frequently and ask, “Can you get us in the news?”  The answer is usually, “Of course, as long as you have a compelling story to tell.”  But don’t worry if you’re unsure, c21 team members are experts at uncovering media-rich narratives.  Here are the elements we look for to develop great pitches and press releases:

  • New – Your company should have something current and fresh to share with your target audiences.  Do you have a new product launch, a new spin on an old way of doing something, or a late-breaking development?
  • Timely – Make sure your news is presented to the media in a timely manner.  For example, if your company reduced its carbon footprint this year, holding that information until closer to Earth Day (April 21) will give the story relevancy and timeliness.
  • Local – The rise of hyperlocal news has made this element more important than ever.  Your story should be relevant to your locale; and remember, even national media outlets like to see how a piece of news impacts a particular community.
  • Human Interest – You might have a great piece of news, but you’ll increase your chances of coverage if you can put a human face to the story.
  • Conflict/Controversy – This component often needs some finessing, but if done right, you can position your piece of news as a long-fought victory or a beat-the-odds scenario.
  • Odd – That’s right, an unusual piece of news often makes headlines.  Does your organization do something out-of-the-ordinary or quirky?

This list is a classic, textbook means of garnering coverage that every public relations student learns in college.  However, in today’s increasingly social world, I would add the following component:

  • Shareable – Your news must be worthy enough to be shared on social media platforms.  The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that six in 10 Americans consume news via the Internet; moreover, 44 percent of consumers like to read news that is “shareable.”

So, now that I let you in on some little PR secrets, here’s a video of c21’s recent media relations successes:

Anna Ruth Williams–          Anna Ruth Williams, senior account manager

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