Media Relations: Key PR Elements of a Good News Story
The media is flooded with new stories every minute of every day. But have you ever stopped to wonder, “What makes a story newsworthy?” Because good public relations requires telling good stories.
There are certain key elements to consider when developing a newsworthy pitch that will capture media interest:
1. “Why now?”
A reporter always needs to understand “Why now?” In other words, why should they cover your story?
Is there a new product or service release? New data or new research? Has a company milestone been achieved?
Your story must contain a timely hook; information about something that has recently happened, is currently happening, or is about to happen. The news cycle moves fast, and a savvy PR and media relations practitioner knows that any outdated news will not be considered for coverage.
The relevance of your story is also a critical factor to consider. If your pitch has a timely hook but does not fit anywhere into your outlet’s editorial needs, a journalist will ignore or reject it. Your story must resonate with the publication’s content roster and audience. Make sure to choose a pitch angle that speaks to their needs and interests.
3. Human Interest
Oftentimes, a compelling story leverages a human-interest angle.
Human interest stories are excellent media relations tools because they connect with people on a deeply personal level. They tug at readers’ heartstrings and make people view the world in a different way.
Your story must be unique in some way. A skilled media relations specialist will offer a new perspective in your story—which is what will ultimately make it interesting and worth reading.
While not essential, conflict can certainly add edge to a story. Whether your story challenges people, places, or ideas, conflict can provoke and engage your readers in unimaginable ways.
Does the brand’s product solve a problem for consumers? Does the software solution address a common industry pain point? Consider building your narrative around that point of conflict and the solution the brand can provide.
A strong PR story angle should evoke some emotion in the reader.
Use descriptive language to paint a picture in the reporter’s mind, and inject timely news touchpoints and statistics to reinforce your perspective. The more vivid the imagery, the stronger the emotion the reader is likely to feel.
7. SEO keywords
SEO keywords are words and phrases that people type into search engines when they’re looking for information. By including these keywords in your story, you’re more likely to show up in search results and get noticed by potential readers.
You’ll want to choose keywords that are relevant to your story topic, have a high search volume, and are significant to the brand’s business goals. (Pro tip: If you need help with getting your SEO campaign off the ground, you can contact us here.)
Once you have your keywords, be sure to use them throughout your story, including in the title, headings, and body text.
It’s important to use SEO keywords in your pitch (especially if it is a contributed article or a byline) so that it ranks higher in search engine results. This will provide more visibility for your story.
9. A catchy headline
Your story—or the pitch you’re writing to convey it—must have a headline that is catchy and informative. The subject line of your email should make the journalist want to read more. Contributed articles should begin with a headline that intrigues readers enough to click on the link.
10. Quality content
Your story must be informative and factually accurate. Make sure you back up any claims with data from reliable third-party sources. Consider linking to important industry research, trends reports and academic papers to add even more credibility to your claims. Remember: Successful PR and media relations relies on trust, and the quality of your content will shape brand perception—for better or worse.
11. A call to action
Your pitch should contain a clear ask. What do you want the reporter to do? Review a press release they might find interesting? Speak with your client on their television program? Hop on the phone for an introductory interview? Give the reporter a clear set of next steps to access the story.
For contributed articles, remember to emphasize the brand’s goals without being too self-serving. Do you want the reader to consider the use of technology in their industry? Do you want them to think about workplace safety, logistics best practices, or at-home medical care? Remember to emphasize the brand’s key messaging.
The news cycle is constantly changing and what is newsworthy today might not be tomorrow. However, if your story contains all these elements, then you have a higher chance of earning the media coverage you desire.
And if you need a little help crafting a newsworthy story? Our expert team is here for you. Reach out to get started!
Trust Relations Team