the one question every PR person wants to answer. How do the news
producers and newspaper editors decide what to broadcast and print?
Most people ask this question
like there is a magical formula that scientifically reveals whether a
story should be pursed or scrapped. If it were this easy to identify news
stories, you can bet the formula would have been hacked and posted on the
Internet by now. The fact is news selection is an art and just like any
other profession involving creativity, opinions and experiences, it is
subjective to where you stand.
If you want a story written about you or your business, you need to first
identify what is different, new or unique about your story. News is based
on the root "new" so you must find out what is new about your
idea before you pitch it to the media. Are you helping underprivileged
children in a way that others are ignoring? Is your business contributing
to the local community in a unique way we might not expect? Are you about
to accomplish a feat where others have failed?
The more you can clarify and focus your pitch, the better odds you will
have of getting your story idea approved by the news organization. You can
help discover your newsworthy element by asking yourself the following
What is different about my
How does my business help
the public and why is that service unique?
Is there something timely
about my business or product?
Is there a personal story
to tell about my business, like maybe a grandfather is passing the
75-year-old family business onto his grandchildren in a public
ceremony? Or maybe the owner is battling cancer and running the
business at the same time.
Is there a new trend
arising in my business field that will affect the pocket books of
consumers? For example, is the rising cost of wheat starting to put a
damper on profits for bagel shop or Italian restaurant owners? Will my
business soon be forced to raise prices on the menus because the price
of wheat keeps rising?
Have any trade
organizations recognized my business as a leader in innovation that
will help shape the future? If so, what is that innovation and how
will it change lives?
Finding a unique angle is not
as difficult as it may sound. You just need to open your mind to timely
events that impact and influence sales of your product or service. If you
own a fashion or jewelry store, try to link your product to high-profile
events like the Academy Awards or the Grammy Awards. If your business is
geared towards a niche audience, like traveling business executives, scan
the headlines in the business sections of various newspapers for possible
tie-ins to current events.
The more you understand the definition and value of "newsworthy"
the better chance you will have of getting media coverage for you or your
business. And once you are successfully pitching story ideas, you are
better able to shape the message and spin the media into your favor.
Macias has been an Executive Producer with WNBC
and Senior Producer with WCBS in New York, sitting in early
morning meetings where stories are pursued or
killed. He is author
of the book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media.
You can read more chapter excerpts at: www.BeatthePressBook.com
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