How do you spot a good news angle?
That’s a question that I, as a former journalist turned PR professional, get asked quite frequently by clients.
Before writing an article, press release, or blog, everyone will ask themselves if the topic they are considering writing about is, in fact, interesting enough to warrant further discussion.
The term we often use to refer to a good article angle is whether it is newsworthy or not.
Identifying a newsworthy story can be the difference between achieving great coverage, or sending an article out into the media abyss.
1) Newsworthy or not?
But how do you know if something is newsworthy?
Generally, a good news angle is deemed to be something which is genuinely new, interesting, informative and provides a unique perspective which promotes widespread interest and discussion.
However, when it comes to PR, this can be tricky. What a journalist deems newsworthy, and what a business believes is newsworthy maybe two totally separate things.
There are many reasons for this. It can be difficult for managers or those personally invested in a business to separate what’s interesting to them, from what’s interesting to the general public.
Being realistic and truly assessing the wider news value of your company information, can often shed a light on whether something is actually newsworthy.
When deciding on news value, it’s always handy to carry out a little bit of research online into similar industry stories and gauge interest.
2) Tapping into the news
Then there’s current events and news.
This could be seen to be an easy win for businesses in achieving coverage.
It allows businesses to comment on a story with in-built media interest while offering their own specialist opinion and adding genuine value to the article.
Any time a company can legitimately further the discussion around a news story or widely discussed topic, they are ensuring their story is newsworthy.
Let’s be honest, if you’re talking about something in the news, chances are the public will be too.
3) Human interest
Heartfelt human interest stories are particularly newsworthy and effective in engaging with the general public in an emotive way.
Readers will empathise with articles which detail personal achievement, overcoming adversity, tragedy and triumph, and heartfelt struggles. This enables them to form an emotional attachment with the story’s subject matter increasing their engagement and understanding of your message.
But this can be challenging when you are searching for a human angle in a business story.
Ask yourself, did this promotion come after years of tireless work and personal achievement for the staff member? Has an MBO allowed a family member to continue their family’s business legacy? There could be something you haven’t considered!
Obviously, this should only be used under appropriate circumstances and when there is a legitimate story to tell.
4) Statistics and figures
What catches your attention more effectively – ‘Workers taking duvet days due to stress’ or ‘Over 1.8 million workers forced to take duvet days due to stress’.
Using statistics and figures within an article, and headline, not only strengthens it and draws in the reader by quantifying what you are discussing, but it backs up your point with numerical evidence and legitimises it.
More people are likely to be engaged by an article that discusses specific figures that they can relate to, rather than something vague, such as terms including ‘large sum’, ‘significant amount’ or ‘numerous’.
If a story said: People in Wales were consuming 100 chocolate bars per hour – I’d definitely want to read it! And be honest, you might too …
5) And finally…
Overall assessing whether a story is newsworthy or not is really about being realistic, doing a little bit of research, using some news savviness, and exercising honest non-biased judgement.
If in doubt, the PR team at jamjar are always here to help steer you in the right direction! As content and media specialists, we have a ‘nose for news’ and are happy to advise you on what has news value.