A story in a newspaper or mention in a magazine article can put your business on the map, boost sales or promote an event without the cost of advertising. But when you're busy with the day-to-day business of running your company how do you find the time to grab the attention of an editor? Here’s Mackman's guide to help you identify news stories within your company, and make the headlines.
"News is anything that interests a large part of the community and which has never been brought to their attention." Charles Dana, former editor of the New York Sun.
When planning a potential news item, the first thing to consider is the reader. Whether you want a headline in a niche business publication or an international magazine, you need to ensure that your story is interesting to the reader. Put yourself in their shoes; will they care? Also, is your story relevant to your target publication?
For instance, David Beckham opening a new Kitchen showroom would guarantee the news angle and subsequent press coverage. However, if he's not then you need to look at all the non-celebrity angles that will grab an editor's attention and hook a reader. On it's own, the opening of a kitchen showroom is not enough. Ask yourself the following questions: Why are you expanding? Is business booming? Are you bucking an economic downturn? Have you recruited extra staff? Are you bringing in a new or unusual range of kitchen ware?
Instead of "New Kitchen Showroom Set To Open", you get:
A family run kitchen company is recruiting 20 extra staff for the opening of its new showroom in Colchester town centre after a year of record sales. Despite the economic downturn Taylor's Kitchens have invested £300,000 to show its new range of kitchen ware after signing a major deal with a Swedish design company.
This announcement has news value and impacts on the reader.
Most media outlets have little interest in helping your business succeed. But they do want relevant headlines that will be of interest to their readers. Finding a newsworthy angle is crucial to getting their attention.
When it comes to spotting your angle, try and do better than the reporter in this oft quoted newsroom story. The reporter went to cover a wedding but came back to the office without any copy.
Editor: "Why aren't you filing a report on the wedding?"
Reporter: "I’ve got nothing to write, the wedding was cancelled, the church burnt down."
This is a bit extreme but makes the point. There are stories within every organisation – you just need to spot them. Cast a reporter's eye across your business, think about new developments and ask yourself the following:
And don't forget it's people that make great stories so make sure you keep up to date with what your staff are up to. If someone is running a marathon, cycling to Paris or parachuting out of a plane then this is an opportunity. In one fell swoop, you can promote their cause, your company, and garner the interest of a newspaper. If you can't see an obvious story, then there are alternative ways to get media interest. You could hold an event at your business – an open day, charity event or competition and then invite the press to cover it.
Now you've identified a story and are set to make the headlines, it's time to contact the media. But before you do, see Mackman's guide to writing a press release.
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