No matter the PR strategy, creating newsworthy content is crucial. This is just as true when writing a guest article for a client as it is when pitching a story. Despite its importance, it can be challenging to come up with newsworthy content in PR. The following tips will help you sharpen your news sense and create that solid content that achieves your goals.
Think Like a Journalist
The first step to creating newsworthy content in PR is to think like a journalist.
Start by always keeping the news values in the front of your mind. Remember that journalists use them to decide what story to cover. The news values include:
If you can create a story that includes all seven of these news values, then you should be on the path to success. However, you don’t necessarily need to include all of them. Do your best to include as many as you can. Keep your audience in mind when you decide which will be your priorities. An example would be that a nonprofit organisation may choose to prioritise stories with impact, while a lawyer or therapist may choose to prioritise those with conflict.
Another important aspect of thinking like a journalist is learning how to skew the angle of your content based on the audience. When writing for different publications, you will change your angle slightly to fit the audience. For example, if you are writing a story for a tech publication, you would focus on the innovative digital technologies used. So, imagine you are writing about new technology that helps with medical diagnostics. The article for the tech publication would zero in on the technology itself. An article in a publication for doctors would focus on efficiency and accuracy in treatment and diagnosis. An article for patients would focus on how it helps patients.
Manufacture Thought Leadership
You are not always going to be lucky enough to find newsworthy content in PR that you can easily work into your brand. Maybe nothing relevant is happening in the news, and your client has normal day-to-day operations. In these cases, you need to be ready to manufacture thought leadership. The goal here is to create news that will add value to current news.
Start with a high level of creativity. This will go a long way when using newsjacking. “Newsjacking” refers to when your insert your client into the conversation about breaking news stories. This is a creative way of generating original content that is relevant. For example, if there is recent news on environmental friendliness, you could mention similar sustainable methods your company uses. As you get creative with newsjacking, remember to pay attention to the audience. You should avoid newsjacking tragedies or sad stories, as this tends to appear insensitive. You also need to find a way to make a deeper connection; superficial connections can seem forced.
In addition to newsjacking, you can examine industry trends. Identify, explain, and share them with others. This type of content works very well as thought leadership. It keeps your client relevant, as readers will want to read about the latest innovations. It also helps position your client as an authority in the industry. They will seem knowledgeable, and potential customers will associate them with the latest information. This will translate into more conversions in the future.
Treatment Trumps Topic
When it comes to creating newsworthy content in PR, remember that treatment trumps the topic. You need to pay attention to how you deliver the content, not just what it is. As you deliver the content, do so in a way that appeals to the community and audience. This ties into the tip above about being careful when choosing a story to newsjack.
One of the most popular approaches is to position newsworthy content as a human-interest story. Focus on a person overcoming obstacles to achieve their goals. Focusing on one or two people in the story helps readers develop a connection to the content. Human-interest stories are also highly shareable on social media, further helping your clients. Taking this approach also gives you the opportunity to include pictures of people, something that helps further develop a connection.
Another popular angle is to create data-driven stories. If there are facts and figures in your story, focus on those. This gives readers a measurable impact. It also reduces the potential for biases, which readers will want to avoid. Simply including figures adds credibility to your story. If you can include proprietary data, that is even better, as other content journalists may decide to cite your content to share those figures. Including data also lets you include charts and graphs. Those are highly shareable, break up the text to make it more readable, and help people skimming the piece. Including graphics even helps engage both sides of the brain, cementing the information in the brain of the reader.
When you cannot decide what approach to take with your story, go for the “local” angle. Focus on how the story affects a local person or people. This always helps readers feel a connection to the story and makes it newsworthy content. This strategy is why, whenever there is a tragedy that affects many people, each country or city generally focuses on the affected people from their area. It also applies in more positive cases. For example, if a local is in a major competition of some sort, you can focus on their journey leading up to the competition. It doesn’t matter if they win; their journey will interest locals. That example is actually a combination of taking the local angle and crafting a human-interest piece.
Knowing what newsworthy content is is no easy feat, but practice and a keen eye makes perfect.
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