What makes a great media story?

A well written press release can result in significant media coverage if it offers something that is genuinely newsworthy.

Although the definition of what is deemed to be newsworthy may differ from publication to publication, journalists almost always assess the merits of a story based upon its relevancy to their readers.

They often look for what are commonly known in the industry as “Man bites dog” stories, a phrase coined by nineteenth century American journalist Charles Anderson Dana who said:

“When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.”

It sums up what journalists often look for in a press release:  a story that”s slightly unusual or different from the norm.

Assessing the newsworthiness of a story means being able to answer some very simple questions: Does it offer something that my readers will be interested in? When did it happen and why? And perhaps most importantly of all is it sufficiently different from the norm from other stories that have been published. In other words, is it a genuine “man bites dog” story?

Cannon PR offers professional press release writing services. We also provide editing and distribution services, helping you to maximise the media opportunities of your own press releases. Why not contact us today to see how we can help you?

To avoid your story from hitting the dreaded spike, here are a few tips to consider when thinking about working with the media:

Be able to answer the questions: Who? What? Where? When? and perhaps most importantly of all Why?

Hints and tips for writing a press release:

    • Give thought to an attention grabbing headline that sums up your story.
    • Try to make the content of your press release as relevant to the publications you are targeting. If you”re targeting local and regional newspapers for example, make sure that there is strong local association
    • If writing for the mainstream media, avoid jargon or complicated technical phrases wherever possible. Conversely, if working with a specialist industry publication, they are likely to require more tech-specific information. Remember to tailor your story accordingly!
    • Take time to get to know the publications you want to target with your press release and understand what types of stories different journalists are interested in. For example: does the publication have a specific correspondent covering the types of issues that you are wanting to talk about? Sending a business story to a sports journalist, is unlikely to result in your story being printed!
    • If you are planning to send your story to more than one publication, try to ensure that there is something relevant to their readership. For example, newspapers such as the Sheffield Telegraph and Hull Daily Mail are unlikely to be interested in a stories that aren”t relevant to the newspaper”s patch.
    • If using quotes, ensure that they genuinely add something to the story. Try to avoid cliches such as “We are delighted about…”
    • A picture can say a thousand words. If you have the budget available consider professional press photography to accompany your story.

To find out more about how Cannon PR can help you, contact us today!