Newspaper, television and radio newsrooms are shrinking across the country, and with fewer reporters looking for daily content, it has become increasingly difficult for businesses, charities and organizations to attract the attention of busy news reporters.
Part of our job as PR professionals is to know what sort of stories are likely to interest the audiences news reporters are talking to. We pitch stories to journalists in rural and urban markets across Manitoba and Western Canada all the time. We work hard to make sure our pitches and news releases have solid news hooks that should interest local media and their audiences.
See below for four other elements that instantly make a story, event or product more likely to be covered in the news.
Keep it Short, Simple and Interesting
Remember, journalists are very busy and may not know a lot about your field. If you want them to cover your story, make it easy for them. Tell them why your story is important to their audience, give them all the facts they need and make sure you have people available to give an interview or answer their questions in a timely manner.
Partner with a Celebrity
An event, interview or photo opportunity with a celebrity instantly carries more interest for news reporters and the public. The more famous the celebrity, the more interesting your story. Though there are risks with associating your brand too closely with any one person, a well-chosen celebrity can help your story spread much further than it would otherwise.
Incorporate Eye-Catching Visuals
Journalists are inundated with invitations to ribbon cutting and cheque presentation photos every day. While these photos often make it into smaller newspapers or magazines, journalists don’t make it a priority to actually attend the ceremony and the photos are usually buried in the publication. If you really want to get your message out about an opening, donation or announcement, consider staging something more eye-catching. TV news programs especially are much more interested if you can offer them a unique or meaningful subject for their cameras.
Give Back to the Community
An event, announcement or product that has an element of charitable giving will have a greater chance of making it into the news than one that does not. Supporting a charity in your community is also a great way to motivate your employees and help others.