Last week I posted about crafting a press release and promised to tell you what makes a story newsworthy. So here it is, what I learned in j-school!
PS I don’t recommend using press releases as your main form of communication with reporters and writers. Try contacting them with a unique angle relevant to the content they publish. Like I said last week, reporters are bombarded with press releases every day and prefer building relationships with their news suppliers.
My Tips for Crafting a Newsworthy Story
Ask yourself, is this new and current or is it old news? News goes stale fast, so keep your angle fresh. Also, don’t release your news the day it’s happening. Find out from your publications how far in advance they prefer to receive notice, a month, two weeks, ten days, and then deliver. This gives them enough time to research, interview, and write your story.
How many people are affected by this story? Frame your content in a way that will appeal to a broad audience. Or, what’s even better, get to know your customers + clients really well and submit your press release only to publications that they read. You can also suggest different angles to your story to different publications. Your daily newspaper will have a different interest than your weekly magazine or an online lifestyle blog.
How close is this news happening to the publication? Stories that are near have more value because the readers can relate. However, if your product, event, story is unique, useful, and accessible enough, for instance an ecourse or etsy product, this barrier is easily broken with today’s technology. Still, a publication based in your hometown will be interested in your story for its proximity, so try using that angle!
Did you get a celebrity involved in your story? Yes? Wow, you’re amazing, can we please be friends? Celebrities have a category all their own. News is more interested in new Will + Kate baby than they are about your new niece. Sorry, I’m sure she’s adorable, but it’s true. If you can get a celebrity endorsement you’ve already got news baby. Hint :: Try starting with a local celebrity or reach out to an influential blogger.
Human Interest Ness
Does your story evoke emotions? Human interest pieces break all the rules. These stories are told to capture our hearts. They can be sad, happy, funny, terrifying, courageous. Tell a story in your press release. Appeal to the senses. If you make a reporter laugh, cry, grimace you’ll probably get a call.
One more little tidbit
Give different reporters unique angles and exclusive information, they’ll love having a story their competitors don’t have.
Was this info helpful? Do you use press releases in your marketing rituals? Let me know in the comments below!