Today is the last day that a journalist will ignore you, if you follow our simple guidelines.
We are going to introduce a proven method for testing the news value of your story so that you can give a journalist exactly what they are looking for – every time.
You’re going to learn how to think like a journalist (we are trained journalists and beauty editors) and find newsworthy stories that guarantee you get media attention.
First thing first...
4 questions EVERY journalist asks EVERY time they read a press release:
Is it a ‘first’?
Is it new?
Is it remarkable?
Is it innovative?
If there’s a yes to any of these then you’ve got the journalist’s attention. If it’s a no they hit delete, in a heartbeat.
Let’s take the first two parts - is it a first and is it new?
Now the clue here is in the name of what we’re dealing with… NEWS.
Your story has to be new, an element of it has to be a first. Stories of firsts get viewers and drive web traffic. Think of your own behaviour. Would you watch a TV show that was always telling you stuff you already knew? Of course, you wouldn’t.
Now there are different elements to a first story, and that’s a good thing because it gives your story a few chances to be newsworthy.
Perhaps you are the first in your town or state, your country, first in the world.Perhaps you’re the first business with private funding or first with no funding to achieve this.Perhaps you’re the first type of person – first woman, first with a disability, first former politician, teacher, astronaut(!) to run such a business.
The list goes on...
Then ask, is it remarkable?
Think of the headlines which grab your attention. They are out of the ordinary, they are unusual. Journalists want stories that are different to the norm.
It’s not just products or services that journalists are interested in.
Often the people behind businesses are remarkable. Think of the personal story of the founders who set up the business. That's probably you!
News is emotional, it’s based on hopes and fears. Audiences connect with other people and their successes and failures.
Journalists are looking for contrasts – how a personal situation is transformed or becomes different. A clear before and after.
Did you quit your job at a FTSE 100 company because you thought you could do it better, and now you’ve launched an app which allows people to do it better?
Are you a student who thought, ‘do you know what, forget this course, I’m outta here I know exactly what I want to build and I need to get on with it NOW’?
Faced with a particular personal challenge did you resolve to change the world and now you’re running a successful charity doing just that?
And lastly, is it innovative?
What is the impact of your story? Is your story about creating change, is there an improvement that will affect the journalist's readers/viewers?
Avoid the tendency to think in the abstract, or get too bogged down in processes and procedures.
A journalist needs evidence of innovation.
Clear, hard facts that are indisputable.
If you’re just talking in terms of noble, but vague, ambitions and mission statements journalists will not care – this is NOT news.
Drill down into the tangible, real aspects of your business. The things that are proof of what you are actually DOING, not thinking about doing. Examples might be...
How much have you sold?How big is your turnover?How many customers do you have?How many staff do you have? How much CO2 has your company saved? How much electricity does your product generate? How many miles have your electric vehicles travelled? Get it? They want hard stats.
So now you know the rules of the newsroom. Try it for yourself.
Open your news app on your phone, choose any story. Start scanning and ask - is this new, is it a first, is it remarkable or is it innovative? EVERY story will include a ‘yes’ to one of these questions, guaranteed.
You are starting to think like a journalist.
Now apply these questions to one of your own stories in your business.
This is how you will start to give a journalist what they want.
Get in touch if you would like to see how we can support your business firstname.lastname@example.org