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How to identify good news stories

It’s said that all publicity is good publicity. A story in a newspaper or mention in a magazine article can put your business on the map, boost sales or promote an event without the cost of advertising. But when your busy with the day-to-day business of running your company how do you find the time to grab the attention of an editor? Here’s the Mackman Group’s guide to help you identify good news stories within your company. 

What makes news?

“News is anything that interests a large part of the community and which has never been brought to their attention.” Charles Dana, former editor of the New York Sun. 

Whether you’re looking at a niche business publication, a local paper or an international magazine, the first thing to do is put yourself in the shoes of the reader. Will it interest the reader? And is it relevant to the publication? 

If, for instance, David Beckham is cutting the ribbon to the opening of a new kitchen showroom, that’s the news angle and press coverage is guaranteed. If he’s not, and it’s pretty unlikely, you need to look at all the angles that will hook a reader and grab the attention of an editor. The opening of a kitchen showroom is not enough on its own. Ask yourself the following questions: Why are you expanding? Is business booming? Are you bucking an economic downturn? Are you recruiting extra staff? Are you bringing in a new or unusual range of kitchen ware?

Instead of New kitchen showroom set to open, you get:
A family run kitchen company is recruiting 20 extra staff for the opening of its new showroom in Colchester town centre after a year of record sales. Despite the economic downturn Taylor’s Kitchens have invested £300,000 to show its new range of kitchen ware after signing a major deal with a Swedish design company. This announcement has news value and impacts on people.

Spotting a news story

Most media outlets have little interest in helping your business succeed. But they do want relevant news that will be of interest to their readers. Finding a newsworthy angle is crucial to getting their attention. A new reporter went to cover a wedding but came back to the office without any copy.

Editor: “Why aren’t you filing a report on the wedding?”
Reporter: “I’ve got nothing to write, the wedding was cancelled, the church burnt down.”

This often quoted newsroom story from the archives is a bit extreme but makes the point. There are stories within every organisation – you just need to spot them. Cast a reporter’s eye across your business, think about new developments and ask yourself the following:

  • Have you had a recent increase in business or hiring?
  • Have you just launched a new product or innovative technique?
  • Can you show off an interesting trend?

And don’t forget it’s people that make great stories so make sure you keep up to date with what your staff are up to. If someone is running a marathon, cycling to Paris or parachuting out of a plane – this is an opportunity to promote their cause, your company, and will definitely be of interest to a newspaper. If you can’t see an obvious story there are alternative ways to get media interest. You could hold an event at your business – an open day, charity event or competition and invite the press to cover it.

Now you’ve identified a story it’s time to contactte for dia. Before you do, see the Mackman Group’s guide to writing a press release.

press release“Identifying a great news story is essential if you want your story published in your local paper, trade magazine or industry website.” Jonathan Schofield, PR and Communications.

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