Newsworthy is a word that means different things to different people. But simply put, it means something of interest. But of interest to whom? Therein lies the struggle for businesses when trying to land media coverage. Every business has a story to tell, but the truth is not everything that’s of interest to a business is of interest to a journalist.
But there is a way to bridge this gap. To do so, it comes down to identifying stories of interest inside your business that also meet the specific needs of journalists.
The Newsworthy Sweet Spot
When it comes to landing media coverage, there are two types of outlets: mass media (New York Times, Arizona Republic, NPR, Fox News, etc.) and trade media (Nation’s Restaurant News, Modern Healthcare, Entrepreneurs on Fire podcast, etc.). Each type of media outlet has its own definitions of what they consider newsworthy.
This diagram illustrates that companies and media don’t always find the same things to be newsworthy or of interest — except for those stories that overlap. Still, it’s not always obvious what falls within this newsworthy sweet spot — and sometimes certain types of stories may garner interest from trade media but not mass media or vice versa. For example, an LED manufacturer’s new product line might not merit interest from mass media outlets, but it could generate lots of coverage from various trade magazines targeting the lighting and related industries.
Whether mass or trade media, each outlet has a particular audience and target reader/listener/viewer it’s trying to reach. If you take the time to understand what specific reporters are looking for and tailor your company’s stories in a way that better falls within their respective newsworthy sweet spots, you’ll be much better positioned to secure a story that’s mutually beneficial.
Identifying Media-worthy Stories
Stories and storytelling are innate to the human experience. People love to live and tell great stories. And businesses are made up of people — and they serve people, too. The key, then, is to identify narratives, topics and stories of your business that fall within that newsworthy sweet spot. Here’s how to do just that.
While specifics may vary, media-worthy stories generally fall into one or more of the following five areas.
If your business is offering or doing something truly unique, innovative, creative or different in the world, your industry or marketplace, it likely would make a good story for the right reporter. Examples:
- Your company introduces a new product or service that fills a gap in your market that nobody else does.
- A female entrepreneur launches a company within a market disproportionately represented by men.
Is your business expanding? Opening a new office or facility? Going on a hiring binge? Did you bring on a significant investor that will allow you to scale or grow? Examples:
- Your business is growing so rapidly that it plans to hire hundreds of new employees within a few months.
- Your company closed a big round of new investment funding that will help you expand into a new area.
News media moves fast and there’s always something new happening. Is your story timely? Did it just happen? Is it related to a current event or trend? Do you know if the reporter or publication is writing about something similar? Examples:
- Your cybersecurity company could offer up a specialist to share tips or insight following a high-profile data breach.
- During open enrollment season, your insurance brokerage could discuss best practices to determine the right benefits for employees.
Not all journalists and media outlets are created equal. They each have their own audience and goals. If your story isn’t relevant to them, it will be ignored. Answer the question: So, what? Why should people outside your company care about this news? Examples:
- A vegan ice cream truck operator could discuss her sourcing practices with a vegan foodie publication.
- A financial planner offers tips to a personal finance reporter writing a story on creative ways to save for college.
People like to learn about people — and journalists like to write (or talk) about people. Does your story have a strong human at its core? Someone with a compelling personality or backstory of their own? Think beyond your company spokesperson. Who are the people on the front lines who could speak for the company about key angles? Examples:
- Your company makes a significant hire, bringing in a well-known and respected executive in your industry who founded or played a big role in a high-profile firm or helped turn around a failing business.
- Your mortgage business could connect a reporter with a client who secured a mortgage with your company for a story about the current housing market or trends of homebuyers.
Becoming a Go-To Media Source
Ultimately, landing great media coverage is all about those two time-honored elements of business: building relationships and meeting others’ needs.
By taking the time to reach out and build relationships with reporters while regularly asking yourself what you can do to help them (expertise, industry insight, quotes, etc.), you’ll be able to create a reputation as a trusted, go-to source. When it comes to securing media coverage, that’s the sweetest spot to be.