In the public relations business, particularly the media and blogger relations side, we owe it to our clients to approach their “news” with the total environment in mind. It is human nature to think that what you are doing or what your organization is doing is important, meaningful, impactful. And, it probably is all those things to those directly involved. But, that does not necessarily make it newsworthy.
A few questions we must ask in determining newsworthiness:
- How soon to the game is the client? In other words, will this merely be perceived as “me too?”
- Are the numbers involved big enough? Often what is a big number to a client is not a big number in the industry.
- How well known is the brand name or individual? The bigger the name, the smaller the news needs to be to get attention.
- How much impact does the product or service have on the outside world? Is it a disruption in the market, an addition to the market, an option in the market, an improvement in the market or some other impact?
- What else is happening in the world or the market or the particular business line? Sometimes there is just too much “noise” in the market for any additional news to garner attention. Sometimes what wouldn’t normally be newsworthy fits into a bigger story that is hot.
- Timing is everything. If a client’s news happens to hit at the same time a reporter is looking for something and on deadline, then all the other factors about newsworthiness might not matter.
Still, sometimes we just have to tell a client NO, that item you want us to get to the media is not worth it. Sometimes we must explain to a client that pushing something that isn’t news can have a negative long-term impact. Pushing non-news is like crying wolf. If you do it too often, your real news will fall on deaf ears.