Last week I was asked about how to create perfect news. My response from my public relations experience was to say that typical news stories have two or more of the following qualities: Impact, topicality, size, impact, human-interest, or an element of the bizarre. However it isn’t as simple as that and although those components are essential considerations, it’s what you do with them that’s important.
Very rarely will your story have every component mentioned but so long as you have identified a news story that is topical, timely, and relevant, you should have enough information to develop a story fit for distribution.
Here are a few more top tips on how to create the perfect news:
1. Make your headline stand out
Creating a news story starts with the headline, so often overlooked, this small line of copy is THE most important part of the article – it is the part that encourages the reader to continue reading. One simple way to get this right is to ask yourself, “Would this make me read more?”.
I’d like to think the title I’ve used for this item attracted your attention enough for you to read on. I usually demonstrate the importance of headlines by sharing examples from the tabloid press. Before you scoff at the thought, notice how short, snappy and attention grabbing their headlines are – this isn’t an accident, it is crafted that way to grab your attention; and it works.
2. Use the inverted pyramid
Once you have deliberated and created your perfect headline the next rule of news is: Important information at the top and least at the bottom. Also known as the inverted pyramid to journos, the first paragraph should always try to answer Who, What, Where, When, and Why. This presents your message immediately and encourages the reader to continue reading.
If you go back to the top of this article you’ll notice I have given you the most important information about creating perfect news to attract the attention of your audience first. In the time it’s taken to read one paragraph you are more informed about the subject and are in no doubt about the information I am communicating.
Expand upon your introduction in the second paragraph, maybe even into the third, unfold your story and go into more detail explaining the facts. Don’t repeat your introduction, it’s easy to reiterate without realising you haven’t actually contributed anything new, the purpose here is to explain and inform.
3. Human interest – give it personality
Humanise your story and add a comment, or comments from a spokesperson or people, who relate to your story. This is a great opportunity to put someones opinion, thoughts and experiences across so use it and make it of value. I’ve added my comments in this article by way of illustration but hopefully it humanises it more for you and helps you understand the message I am putting out here.
4. Highlight authority or expertise
Conclude your story with a bit of background about who you are and what you do. Don’t use it to sell, simply sum up who you are, where you are based and what you do. Have you been in the business for 10 or 20 years? Are you an award-winning speaker or authority on the subject?
Presenting the perfect news story isn’t always as easy as it looks but if you keep it short, to the facts, in simple language – no waffle or jargon, and humanise your message, you’ll have created the perfect news story for distribution.
Colette Lowe is the Founder and owner of Chew PR. Colette has worked in PR for over 15 years. She has seen both sides and worked for consultancy and in-house teams providing her with an insight not many see. Colette will be contributing to the Public Relations section. She is based in Wakefield, England.
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