17 Dec 2018

How to make noise with news

The news pages of national, regional, business, trade, and technical media, we well as the vast number of specialist blogs that exist today, provide ample opportunities for scale-up companies to build awareness with those they wish to influence.

Journalists and bloggers rely heavily on sharing news to inform their audiences and keep them coming back to them for more. Most of the articles shared through the media are 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. 

News content can also play a valuable role in enhancing the value of an organisation’s website. Roaring Mouse analysis of web content published by B2B-focused technology businesses reveals that content with a good hook and the other core components of a media story attract more than three times the volume of visitors and page views than other forms of content on average. They also retain the attention of visitors for longer.

Visitors are almost ten times more likely to begin their first interaction with a corporate website on pages containing a news story than they are with other content forms such as thought leadership pieces or customer case studies.

Businesses that enjoy the highest amount of exposure frequently 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 to understand and repackage.

Five 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 stories that have become staples of PR campaigns for B2B technology businesses. Here are some of the most commonly published stories 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 crowdfunding and Series A raises to Private Equity investments or the prospect of an Initial Public Offering (IPO), raising money from investors is a compelling news story and 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 you present your news 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, a picture speaks a thousand words. A good one will enhance the chances that journalists or bloggers use your news over someone else’s.