Ben Dickens, August 1, 2013
How does a news editor decide what to publish? There are a strict set of rules which they follow to determine what’s going to make it into their news stream. It comes down to timing, significance, proximity, prominence and general interest. For your influencer engagement to work you need to generate online content that fulfils at least two of these characteristics to stand a chance of your brand making it into the news stream. PR based content distribution isn’t easy but reaps huge rewards if you can do this.
Timing: News editors relish breaking news simply because it sells. Hence, the more current your content, the more newsworthy it will be. Readers are used to being fed constant updates on events and being informed of the latest stories as they unfold, so your content has to contribute to this expectation.
Significance: A story about a newsworthy event involving hundreds of people is going to demand much more interest that an event involving a couple. The number of people involved determines the level of news significance.
Proximity: The closer a story breaks to home, the more newsworthy it’s deemed. There are exceptions to this rule (depending on the scale of the event), but the vast majority of the time, people want to know about what is happening around them. If something happened in your city, it’s much more relevant to something that happened on the other side of the world.
Prominence: Content featuring famous, well-known people or brands have much more sway in terms of news value than a piece of content featuring a member of the general public.
General Interest: These stories are unique in that, if they’re good enough, they disregard all of the aforementioned principles and still make the news agenda. These are stories which tug on a person’s emotions and don’t usually date as quickly as other news.
The overriding element that summarises all of these points is relevance. Content needs to be relevant to be picked up by news editors. That means relevant to their readership as well as your target market.
The fact is, no one is going to log onto a news website to read a piece of biased, ad riddled content. So, the content for your brand has to adhere to this.
The key point to remember is that news websites aren’t a marketing service, but they can be a marketing platform you can take advantage of if you know how.
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