How to make noise with news

The news pages of national, regional, business, trade and technical media, and the huge number of specialist blogs, provide ample opportunities on a daily basis for scale-up businesses to build awareness with those they wish to attract and influence.

Most of what is shared through the media is news based, and more than 90% of stories in the media today can be traced back to news angles created – in part at least – by PR people. Journalists and bloggers rely heavily on sharing news stories to keep their own audiences coming back to them for more.

News content can also play a valuable role in enhancing the value of an organisation’s own website. Roaring Mouse analysis reveals that content with a good hook and the other core components of a media story attracts more than three times the volume of visitors and page views than other forms of content on average, and also retains the attention of visitors for longer. Visitors are almost ten times more likely to begin their first interaction with a corporate website on page containing a news story than they are with other content forms such as thought leadership pieces or customer case studies.

Businesses that enjoy the greatest amount of exposure generally produce good news stories. They also work hard to share them with the right people, at the right time, and in a way that is easy for the media to understand and repackage.

5 components of a good news story

So, what does a good news story look like? Crucially for those choosing what to cover, as well as containing one or more elements of TRUTH, a good news story is:

  • Topical: Timely, new and likely to be shared
  • Relevant: Connected to the audience
  • Unusual: Out of the ordinary or surprising
  • Trouble: Conflict, competition and problems
  • Human: About people or impact on many people

What kind of news gets covered?

There are several types of news story that have become staples of PR campaigns for scale-ups. Here are some of the most commonly published stories about growing businesses in the media:

  • Innovation: Genuinely game-changing products or services can attract significant attention
  • Contracts: Customer wins validate products and services. The bigger the customer the better
  • Funding: From Series A funding rounds, to crowdfunding and flotation, raising investment is a powerful public endorsement of potential
  • Insight: Research, data and analysis saying something interesting about the audience or their problems
  • Appointments: Senior level hires show that a business is becoming a magnet for talent

Core components of a media story

Journalists are deluged in information and receive hundreds of emails every day, so how news is presented is crucial. Press releases must be written in plain English and have a short snappy headline. Summarise the story in the first paragraph, ideally using no more space than it takes to fill a Tweet. Include a quote attributed to a real person.

Remember that journalists need to include the following information in their news stories, so make sure you address them:

  • Who is the story about?
  • What happened?
  • Why did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • When did it happen?

End the release with a boilerplate, a short paragraph about the company, and contact details so that journalists wanting more information know whom to contact. Remember than a picture speaks a thousand words and a good one will enhance the chances that your news is used. Provide links to further information and other useful content.