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How to Identify and Prioritize Great News Stories

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Securing media placements is an important part of public relations and consumer outreach. If you’ve got a lot going on at your company, you may identify a plethora of news story angles, many that are concurrent to one another in terms of timing. It’s important to be able to not only identify great news stories, but to prioritize them to make sure you get the most coverage with the best timing. Here are some news story pointers:

Evaluate the timeliness of the story at hand and determine which type of content you have.

Evergreen content – Can be used any time throughout the year and does not rely on current events or trending news. This type of content can be stored in a reserve for future use and because of this may take more time to see as published pieces. It can be picked up by different outlets at different times depending on their needs – often when there is a lull in the news cycle.

Timely content – These stories need to go out in concurrence with topical or trending conversations in the media. If content can position you as an authority in your industry it would also be considered timely. The stronger the brand’s assertions are in terms of relevance to a specific topic, and the sooner the brand delivers the content to media, the more likely the content will be used. The quality of content plays a crucial role in the results, so anytime the brand can share hard numbers, statistics, data, valuable quotes, etc., the better chances a brand has of being featured or referenced.

Seasonal content – These stories align with conversations that are discussed during specific timeframes such as fall and back-to-school, holidays, summer and vacation or travel. It is important to keep in mind that other brands are competing for the limited space, so to get ahead of a saturated season it is ideal to pitch stories far in advance to ensure your story is top-of-mind when media begins sourcing.

Is your story hard news or soft news?

Hard news stories are often related to a specific timeframe or event and are thought-provoking, innovative or highly topical. These typically take the front seat in terms of prioritization as they potentially could have a big impact and require a sense of urgency. Soft news, on the other hand, is not on a stringent timeline and therefore is not considered high priority. These stories, while still meant to be informative and educational, are not urgent and may often consist of human-interest stories or case study type content.

There’s more to consider!

  • If your news story pertains to an event or is tied to a hard launch date, this usually needs to go out at least two weeks in advance to help garner coverage, create buzz and build awareness. Depending on your goal, time is of the essence when strategizing dissemination.
  • If your story pertains to a recent promotion, individual within the organization or an award received, it is ideal to get the story out within the week to ensure media is receiving the latest news.
  • Your story can find strength in numbers by consolidating similar newsworthy happenings into one single story. This could include product launches, program offerings or award wins.
  • If you have a story idea but the full details such as solid numbers, dates or other necessary information are still pending, consider pressing pause on this idea and push other stories until this angle is worked out.

Identify and prioritize
There is a lot to consider when planning your media outreach! Start by identifying different types of stories, and then consider timing in relation to current events or seasonal topics. When you have a lot of news opportunities, it is a good idea to create a calendar and lay out potential stories and timelines so that you make sure everything gets pitched in a timely and effective manner.