News or noise? Three questions to determine newsworthy content
You live and breathe your company every day — and to you, everyone should be interested in every update and announcement. After all, it’s newsworthy content, right? We get it.
But consider that in 2021, the average person saw between 6,000 and 10,000 advertisements in just one day. Cutting through the noise to get your brand’s message across is no small feat — especially when the goal is to enhance your brand’s public relations efforts through earned media.
Ensuring your news releases are chock-full of valuable information your audience cares about is critical to not just being another bit of noise scrolled past during the day or ignored in their inbox.
To do this, ask yourself these three questions to determine if your topic is legitimate news – or just more noise.
1. How does this news improve my audience’s lives?
With a firm understanding of who the target audience is, take a no-holds-barred audit of what’s important to them. Does your news fall in that category? Does it make life easier, more enjoyable or serve a use for your audience? Proving information that offers value to others is the first step toward newsworthy content. Of course, those answers are often subjective, so the next question is asking yourself how a journalist would answer those questions.
LF client Champion Seed took this to heart in recent earned media pitches. Instead of promoting their brand, their products or their business goals, they offered value to farmers by leveraging one of their agronomist’s expertise in weed management. Six media interviews later, their brand was associated with real-time problem solving farmers needed to know at that time of year. Value, timeliness, and improving their audience’s lives – the earned media sweet spot.
2. Is this meaningful information or am I just promoting my brand?
Promoting your brand is important. You know that. But there’s a fine line between advertising and public relations. To distribute a news release is to expect media outlets to find your information so newsworthy, they are going to publish it for free. If you only want to promote your brand, advertising may be the better route. But if your news item can provide value for your audience, it is newsworthy content.
Take LF client Rantizo and their exciting news in the ag technology sector. They became the first company in the U.S. to gain historic approval to fly a drone that weighs up to 169 pounds when fully loaded. Their news release focused on the history-making aspect and the added value this drone provides for their customers. Meaningful, interesting and valuable, this release garnered ten pick-ups in ag and tech-focused publications.
3. Is this timely or specific to a certain group of people?
Timeliness is to news what location is to real estate – everything. Timeliness and locality are key for any news item. If you can identify a key target audience and make it clear in your release who that audience is, you’re one step closer to getting published. If your information is dated, or if it exists online elsewhere and has for more than a few days, you’re better to wait for the next news release opportunity. Try sending out your news release no later than two days after the fact or within a day of the content already being posted on your website. Media outlets want the exclusive – not what’s already been published elsewhere.
LF client Conterra Ag Capital took timeliness and location seriously with a new hire release. Targeting the region specific to that new hire, they saw pick-ups in ag publications that knew their audience could be impacted by the announcement. This information was fresh, did not exist elsewhere and came conveniently packaged with a ready-to-go photo. Easy, timely and local, this release did it all.
Every company announcement can be news, but not every announcement is newsworthy content. Taking time to strategically think about location, value and service to your audience can make all the difference in establishing your brand as a credible source of news and information.
Interested in learning more? Contact the PR professionals at Lessing-Flynn to see how strategy can get your news published.
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