What makes a news story?
So your business has taken on a new director. Or you've opened a new office. Added a new service. Won a new client. Completed a ground-breaking project. Raised money for charity. Etc. Etc.
All of these are potential news stories. The key is finding the right outlet (or outlets). And then writing the story in such a way that grabs attention.
For example, unless you're an international conglomerate about to employ thousands of workers after opening a base in the UK, the national press are not going to be interested in any of the aforementioned topics. Similarly, unless you're employing a significant proportion of the local population or offer public services, even regional press are unlikely to be interested in new hires or new buildings.
But your sector press may well want to know you've poached a rising star to be your new director of whatever. And that £1000 you raised for Children in Need after your CEO got bathed in baked beans might well get the attention of your local newspaper. Every story has its place.
The first question to ask is what you want to achieve with any potential news story. If you want to raise your profile locally, then you need to read your local newspaper, listen to your local radio station and watch your regional news broadcast. Get an understanding of the stories they tend to run. If you don't have a suitable story, then you're going to have to get creative and proactive.
If you think you have a story that will be interesting to the readers of the publication you want to target, the next step is conveying it in a way that grabs attention. This is where using someone with previous journalism or PR experience will help immensely. Press releases are absolutely essential. You can pick up the phone and call newsdesks, but in all likelihood they're going to ask you to send a press release or details in an email.
There is an art to writing a great press release, which we will cover in a later blog, but there is no substitute for someone with tons of experience in this field. They will know how to give your story the best chance. If you haven't grabbed the reader's attention in the first line, and kept it until you've got the key details across, the story is dead in the water.
Think you've got a news story? Here's a few questions to ask yourself before you get started:
What do you want to achieve by getting your company into the press?
Which news outlets are going to help you achieve this goal?
Do those news outlets already run similar stories to yours?
How do those news outlets tell those stories? What details do you need?
Once you've answered the above questions, the next step is writing your story up. Then the tricky job of "selling it" to your desired publications to get the coverage you're after. More on that in future blogs.