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How to Determine If Your Announcement is Newsworthy

by | May 15, 2024

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Evaluate your proposed press release against the core news values to unlock press potential

 

“Is this announcement newsworthy?” is the first question you should ask before writing a press release or creating an elaborate PR campaign. 

 

The reality is that not all announcements and company news will garner press coverage. There are, in fact, many instances where news may be important to you and your organization, but it is not “newsworthy” in the media’s eye. Other times, an announcement may be noteworthy for a targeted, specific set of media outlets, such as trade or local media, but won’t be for a broader or national audience. 

Measure your announcement against the 10 core news values

 

In today’s fast-paced media landscape, an announcement must check many boxes to capture a reporter’s attention and earn coverage. Reporters receive countless pitches and press releases each and every day, and all are vying for coverage. How can you tell if a press release is newsworthy? How can you determine whether your announcement will pique the interest of journalists and editors and elicit a response? To up your chances of getting coverage, your press release or pitch needs to meet the criteria for most of the following core news values.

1. Relevance: The first criterion for assessing the newsworthiness of a press release is its relevance to current events, industry trends, or societal issues. Ask yourself whether your announcement addresses a topic that is timely and significant for the readers of your target publications. Journalists are more likely to cover stories that resonate with their audience and offer fresh perspectives on relevant subjects. For example, trade publications may find a story relating to a new approach to addiction recovery therapy of high interest, whereas mainstream news outlets will find this news less relevant to their audiences.


2. Impact: Consider the potential impact of your news on various stakeholders, including clients, investors, and the community. Further, how broad is the impact of your news? Is it meaningful to a small group or community? What about the region, country, or world? Does your announcement introduce groundbreaking technology, unveil a strategic partnership, or present compelling data? The broader the impact of your news, the more likely it is to attract media attention and spark conversations within your industry and beyond.


3. Timeliness: Timing is everything when it comes to newsworthiness. Ensure your press release focuses on new or current information, aligns with the news cycle, or is relevant to current events. Consider any upcoming events, holidays, or industry milestones that could influence the timing of your announcement. Issuing your press release at the right moment can maximize its impact and relevance. For example, a story focused on maternal mental health will see the best results if released in May to align with Mother’s Day and Mental Health Awareness Month.


4. Prominence: How prominent are the key players in the news story? If the story involves Madonna, Coca-Cola, or the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the media will likely take note because the key player or players are nationally prominent. An announcement for the promotion of the director of development of a small, local nonprofit will likely not have enough prominence to earn media attention beyond a “People on the Move” blurb in your local business journal. 


5. Local Relevance: If your press release has a local angle or impact, leverage it to increase its newsworthiness for regional media outlets. Highlighting how your news directly affects a specific community or geographic area can make it more relevant and appealing to local journalists seeking stories with a hometown connection. Don’t underestimate the value of local media!


6. Conflict: The adage in broadcast TV, “If it bleeds, it leads,” rings true for all news announcements. Hostile takeovers, disagreements, bankruptcy, and scandal all capture media attention. 


7. Human Interest: Don’t neglect human interest angles to make your press release more compelling. Stories that evoke emotion, highlight personal experiences, or showcase human triumphs are often deemed newsworthy. Consider how your announcement resonates with the human experience and whether it has the potential to tug at readers’ heartstrings. If your nonprofit is saving lives, lifting the downtrodden, or rescuing puppies, the media will jump to cover it.


8. Uniqueness: Is your press release offering something unique, innovative, exclusive, or groundbreaking? Journalists are always looking for stories that stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s an innovative product launch, a one-of-a-kind event, or an unconventional approach to solving a problem, highlighting the uniqueness of your news can increase its newsworthiness and appeal to media outlets.


9. Authority and Credibility: Building trust with journalists is crucial in securing media coverage for your press release. Demonstrating authority and credibility in your industry can significantly enhance the newsworthiness of your news. Provide relevant facts, statistics, research, and expert opinions to support your claims and position your organization and leaders as reliable sources of information.


10. Trendiness: Keep a finger on the pulse of current trends and hot topics within your industry or mainstream culture. What happens on TikTok makes it into the mainstream media more frequently than you think! Press releases that tap into emerging trends or offer insights into the market’s future direction are more likely to attract media attention. Showcasing your company’s ability to stay ahead of the curve can position you as a thought leader and increase the newsworthiness of your announcement.

Position your press release for success with solid writing and good imagery 

 

In addition to the 10 core news values outlined above, additional factors can help determine if your announcement is well-positioned for media success. Ensure your press release is well-written, concise, and easy to understand. Journalists are busy professionals with limited time, so make it as effortless as possible for them to grasp the significance of your news. Avoid jargon, unnecessary fluff, and overly promotional language that can detract from the newsworthiness of your announcement.

 

In addition, be aware of the media’s highly visual nature. You’ll gain points if you accompany the announcement with high-quality images, videos, or infographics. In today’s multimedia landscape, visuals play a crucial role in capturing attention and enhancing the newsworthiness of your press release. 

 

Evaluate your press release against the core criteria for newsworthiness 

 

By evaluating your press release against these key criteria, you can better assess its newsworthiness and increase its chances of grabbing the attention of journalists and editors. Knowing your target audience and being realistic about who will be interested in your news will help determine where you pitch the announcement and how much media attention you’ll receive. 

 

Remember that determining newsworthiness and defining which audiences will find your news interesting are the first steps toward success. Crafting a clear, well-written press release that piques the interest of your target audience follows. Pitching and building relationships with media contacts, following up effectively, and providing additional resources and information will be the final steps to secure press coverage and amplify your message.

 

 

Photo by Vanilla Bear Films on Unsplash

Rhiannon Hendrickson

About the Author: Rhiannon Hendrickson

Rhiannon Hendrickson is the founder and CEO of Orapin, which helps purpose-driven organizations transform their random acts of PR into a strategic, consistent approach that generates greater awareness and impact. She has worked with organizations of all sizes across myriad industries and causes to develop earned media and thought leadership programs that generate awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for those that are making a meaningful impact.