Anything can be news, but not everything is newsworthy.
Who, What, Where, When, Why, How? – These are the 6 elements that form a news story.
The ultimate aim is to pass on information to readers, listeners or viewers. Is the story easy to understand? It should be as concise as possible.
But what makes a good broadcast PR news story?
This is when the story does more than simply inform, it will add value and engage the audience.
This can be achieved by using 4 key factors:
Significance – Facts and figures & stats
Are there any facts or statistics you can use to give your story credibility? How many people has the topic affected?
1) “More people in the UK are opting for a gluten free diet.”
2) “Almost 20% of households in the UK are opting for a gluten free diet, according to research by Mintel.”
In the second example, you can see the statistic and research evidence which adds value to what you are reporting.
Whilst it’s important to use them, do not use too many! You do not want to overwhelm the audience with numbers. They will simply lose interest.
Timing – Is there new information or a new angle?
You do not want to report something everybody already knows. Has there been an update on the story? Has something else been discovered? Think about man bites dog, not dog bites man.
Also have a look in your yearly calendar. Are there any anniversaries or special events taking place? Can any of your contacts or media relations team help with a new angle?
Location – The area you live in affects the importance of news to you.
Stories that happen close to us are more likely to engage an audience. It isn’t always distance that makes a news story worthy either. For example, a story in the USA is of more interest to Londoners than a story in the Czech Republic.
Local stations will like finer details about towns/villages, whereas national stations will prefer counties or cities.
Shout! recently secured coverage for P&O Cruises’ ship Britannia on her ‘lap of honour’ around Britain. Around 90 pieces of broadcast PR coverage were secured across TV and radio stations around the UK. This appealed to so many stations because she sailed past or docked in their regions. Media relations were vital in this task because of the amount of stations targeted.
You can see our work here.
Human Interest – pub stories
Imagine you are with a friend having a few drinks at a pub. What do you talk about? What’s happened in the news that stands out? These tend to be stories involving celebrities, sports or any unusual or quirky news.
For example, commercial radio stations will use a celebrity gossip story at the end of their news bulletins, whereas BBC Local Radio may choose a quirky story about wildlife. Eg) A spider spinning a spider shaped web. On TV, news bulletins usually end with an upbeat story to finish on a positive note.
Take note – the media often feels they should report the nation’s mood. For example, many people grew up watching Cilla Black on the television or listening to her music. Therefore, many felt upset by her passing and wanted to hear more about what happened.
So remember these 4 key factors: significance, timing, location, human interest.
Of course, stations will vary in the stories they use based on their target audiences, but understanding these guidelines will overall help to secure and maximise broadcast PR coverage for your clients.
Shout! also assists clients with taking interviews on ‘radio days’. You can find out more information about these here.
Many of the team at Shout! Communications have worked as broadcast journalists – so if you want to see if your next story is really newsworthy give them a call to chat it through.