Tips for Identifying Newsworthy Content

March 12, 2020 | Colleen Scott

“What makes this newsworthy?”

This is a tough question that almost every communications professional either receives — or asks themselves — at some point early on in their career. The answer to this question remains subjective. Luckily, despite the level of subjectivity, experience and knowledge can make this question easier to answer.

As public relations professionals, we are charged with identifying newsworthy stories on behalf of our respective organizations or clients. In doing so, it’s important to consider the following key questions to determine media strategy:

Will your story educate or engage the community? Will it motivate them to act?

The media looks for content that directly impacts their viewers or readers. Staying smart on trending topics within your industry will help strengthen your sense of the news cycle. Make it a priority to inject industry-related information into your routine each day. Whether it be reading trade publications or following industry-related thought leaders, any intentional effort to stay in-the-know will assist in making connections that can blossom into more complex, newsworthy content.

Does data support the story? Is there a human-interest aspect? Or both?

Incorporating supportive facts and findings is key when packaging your pitch. As you sift through industry-related information, consider if the content in mind is timely or groundbreaking. Is there applicable research or data to support your claims? Does the data establish a position from which we can advocate?

Otherwise, everyone loves a good “people” story. Showcase a remarkable person connected to your organization. Media outlets look for positive, uplifting and inspiring human-interest stories to round out the news cycle. You can really drive a story home with a personal example that aims to connect to the audience.

In some cases, your story might include both elements — facts and a human focus — making your news even more appealing to an audience. (Therefore, more likely for an editor or reporter to express interest.)

Does the story relate to your organization’s mission, vision or values?

Finally, consider how your news supports your organization’s overarching goals. You want your story to pass the newsworthiness test, but, more than that, you want it to work for you. When sharing stories, every pitch to the media should somehow have an underlying connection to what your organization or client represents. Being thoughtful in your approach will further demonstrate how your efforts contribute to reaching overall business goals.

Although a tough question, asking yourself the basis on which content is considered newsworthy underscores the value of your work. After all, a smart, consistent and intentional media strategy goes long way in establishing brand reputation.