Creating Publicity: What’s Newsworthy?

creating publicityWe all know that “getting your name out there” is a good thing. Creating publicity can accomplish this, but you need to tell the right story the right way.

While the catch-phrase “even bad publicity is good publicity” might hold true for celebrities, that’s not usually the case for businesses. Publicity is about sharing your news through the media to get your company or product highlighted in a positive way.

So what “counts” as news? That question is the key to publicity success. Journalists are bombarded with press releases.

To get your release to the top of the pile, tell a compelling story. If  journalists believe their readers will find the story interesting or useful, they’ll use it!

Ideas for Creating Publicity

Let’s take a look at some obvious newsworthy events and happenings within your business:

  • Launching a new company. If your business is new or being “born again” after a merger or acquisition, you have a newsworthy announcement.
  • Sale of a company. Tell your story, thank your customers, and let everyone know what will happen next.
  • Hiring a new executive. If you have an established business with new leadership, many media sources will consider the change to be worthy of a news spot.
  • Introducing a new product/service. People like new things! If you are offering up something new, your audience will want to know about it. A word of caution here–if your company introduces new products frequently, use this opportunity sparingly. Save it for the really big moments, like the offering targeted at the most diverse or unique audience. Journalists will tune out after reading numerous media releases with similar subject matter.
  • Achieving a major milestone. If your company has been a part of the community for 100 years, has opened a new facility, or is expanding exponentially, inquiring minds will want to hear your story.
  • Recognition. Receiving an achievement award is often–but not always–newsworthy. If you’ve received a significant award within your industry, it’s newsworthy, but only if the awarding organization is recognizing true achievement. If your industry is constantly congratulating itself, be cautious about sharing every award announcement. Again, repeat media releases are a red flag to journalists.

Beyond these obvious publicity moments, consider these unique opportunities:

  • Community involvement. If your company has a reputation for providing volunteer or monetary support to your community, brag about it! Companies sometimes shy away from telling this story. They worry that self-promotion will diminish the altruism of their efforts. Nonsense! Highlighting your company’s community involvement not only provides positive press for you, it may inspire another company to do the same.
  • Profile an extraordinary employee. You may have an employee who has overcome illness or tragedy, or accomplished something unique. People like to hear stories about “average Joes” who rise above their circumstances. These stories will highlight your company in a positive light and–more than likely–make the day of the employee being profiled!
  • Share your client’s success. If you have a client who has experienced phenomenal success with your company’s products or services, invite them to share their story in a joint release with your company. It will benefit both you and the client. Again, use this opportunity sparingly.
  • Announce your entry into a new market. You’ve always sold running shoes to the local schools’ track teams, but because of a new contract, you’re now selling to universities in your region. That’s a big expansion and worthy of some attention.
  • Highlight a partnership between your company and something bigger. If your company is making donations to the Salvation Army during the holiday season or joining companies across the nation in recognizing Black History Month, tell that story. Anytime you can connect your company to a national or international event, holiday, or special happening, you have a potentially newsworthy story.

And don’t be limited by this list! The true key to determine what is newsworthy is to ask yourself if you have a compelling story to tell. Interesting stories make the greatest impact. Focus on the people. Who would be interested in this story? Is it a large audience or a small segment of the population? If the story is of interest to a larger group, it is more newsworthy.

Finally, as you’re writing your publicity pieces, focus on the people (again) by telling their stories. People want to read about people, not things. Don’t just announce that your company is expanding. Instead, announce you’re expanding, adding 50 new jobs, and promoting Jane Doe and John Smith to associate managers because they’ve led the charge in getting this expansion off the ground.

Just keep telling your company’s stories–the really good ones with far-reaching appeal–and you will create newsworthy pieces that get picked up by the press.

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