That’s the question we ask ourselves whenever we’re listening to a client (current or prospective) tell us what’s new with their business. Sometimes, companies sit on news, often because they’re unaware that what they have is newsworthy. Of course, there are other times when companies share what they think is news and, in fact, what they have is just a minor update.
How do you know if something is newsworthy? Here’s a quick list of things to check to help you know if you have a good story.
Has something changed?
By definition, news is the story of things changing. Very few news stories happen when things stay the same (though they often depict the struggle of people who are trying to create change). Your news needs to illustrate some type of change. That said, not all changes make news stories.
Is it timely?
The second most important thing about your news is that it’s timely. We live in a world that has a less than 24 hour news cycle. That means that the news media moves fast…reporters often cover stories and then quickly move on to the next topic. If your news is several months old, then it’s possibly past its shelf life.
Is your news relevant?
This is what we affectionately call the “so-what factor” and is probably one of the most difficult things to gauge. After all, we all think what we’re doing is important. But ask yourself–Will anyone care about this? is your news part of a trend? Or perhaps it bucks an important trend?
Will anyone outside your industry care?
Once you’ve figured out if someone will care, you should ask yourself if it’s relevant only to your industry. That’s not to say what you have isn’t worthy of the front page of the New York Times, but if no one outside your industry will care, then you might want to hold off on calling the New York Times. Instead, focus on reaching out to outlets that cover your industry.
Is your news entertaining?
In today’s fast-paced news cycle that races to grab as many eyeballs as possible, it’s important for your news to be interesting, or at least entertaining. Remember, news outlets want to publish stories that drive page views–and you want your news to be viewed! Think about what you can do to make your news more interesting and entertaining, to make it really stand out, grab people’s attention.
So the next time you think you have some news you want to share, be sure to think critically about whether it’s really newsworthy. You’ll get more mileage out of better quality news, look better to your customers, your industry and your peers. Plus, do you really want to get on the bad side of an important journalist by pitching a boring news story? We didn’t think so.