So you want media coverage, preferably on the front page or the first screen. But is your story newsworthy enough? You have to ask yourself some challenging questions to figure that out.
How wonderful, or how shameful. Those two phrases could describe most of the news we consume. I’m guessing that you’re not pitching a shameful story, but is it truly wonderful instead?
News is information that the largest number of people in a particular place at a particular time either need or want to know. We no doubt need to know, for instance, about a new tax bill that will directly affect our take-home pay, so that would automatically qualify . But do we need to know about the private lives of silly celebrities? No, but many people want to read more gossip, so that would also be news.
We should also keep in mind why audiences turn to the media in the first place. I credit cultural critic Arthur Asa Berger for this partial list of the benefits audiences seek:
- to be amused
- to satisfy curiosity and be informed
- to find models to imitate
- to believe in magic, the marvelous, and the miraculous
- to participate in history (vicariously)
Moreover, the famous French short story writer Guy de Maupassant explained it even more emphatically. In his view, the public “cries out” these commands to writers:
- Console me
- Amuse me
- Move me
- Make me dream
- Make me laugh
- Make me cry
- Make me think
So, place yourself behind the eyes of a typical news reader. Does your story satisfy any of these criteria? Does your product or service connect with a larger social or economic issue, or are you just seeking free advertising? Does your pitch have emotional appeal?
If you’re wondering how to proceed, ask your customers for reactions. Chances are their stories will fuel yours.
For more business insights and strategies, sign up for our free management newsletter.
Develop your communication skills with these AMA seminars and tools.