What makes a story newsworthy?

Billie Justice Thomson, ‘Diamonds’ via  Modern Times

Billie Justice Thomson, ‘Diamonds’ via Modern Times

Even though there is a seeming avalanche of content, and publishing platforms, there will always be a place for newsworthy stories. Defined as ‘noteworthy as news; topical’, newsworthy content can be as broad or as specific as the story you want to tell. The evening news features stories that are topical and noteworthy to a broad national audience, while a blog tackling a specific industry or culture may only be topical to a niche audience – but at both ends of the spectrum, the content needs to be relevant and interesting to its audience.

Here are five checkpoints you should run your pitch through to determine who will find your content noteworthy, and make sure it will be considered ‘news’ to them.

1. It's truly new or different

Whether you’re taking your business to market, unveiling a new product or making an important change in your brand, what makes this story truly new and different from what came before? If you are launching an online service, for example, what makes it different from its competitors and what does it do that no other service is doing?

2. It reveals something or adds new information

Perhaps your story isn’t about a new product or brand, but adds context to an existing story. It could be new data, research or results that would be relevant to the audience or add additional detail to a product or service they’re interested in.

3. It involves high profile or interesting people

Again, come back to your audience and think about who they would regard as influential or high profile. Location, industry and community each drive different profiles, so this doesn’t mean you need an international celebrity in order to get your story picked up (although it can help!), if there is a person noteworthy to your story you can involve as a partner, spokesperson, or customer, it can help add traction to your pitch.

4. It has an impact at an industry level or involves a high profile company or brand

Who is your story affecting? Will it benefit a broad audience or is it tailored to a small user base? Perhaps your startup has been funded by a high profile investor, or you’ve started a new graduate program in your organisation to help develop emerging talent. If your product/business/brand will have specific results, make sure you detail them.

5. It's tropical / relevant to news of the day or a global trend

Your story might be highly time-sensitive, linking to a key news story that breaks at a certain time, or it could be relevant to a wider global trend occurring over the course of weeks, months or even years. As mentioned above, what constitutes ‘news of the day’ really depends on your audience, whereas a global trend may span multiple audiences and have less immediacy.

As we’ve drilled in, the term ‘newsworthy’ means different things to different audiences, so defining who is your audience, and why they should care about what you have to say should drive your story, rather than its perceived virality. If you’ve clearly answered these questions, defining what media will find your story newsworthy and when to release it should come easily.