Newsworthiness and Public Relations
News values must be understood by anyone who promotes a product. Marketing managers, publicists and business owners all need to know what is newsworthy. Brands can relate to the criteria of traditional news media in very achievable ways. Here are some news values to keep in mind.
Impact or Consequence
Audiences prefer to read about events which impact their lives. Lifestyle, economics and other topics often affect everyday outcomes for individuals and communities. The Census was relevant because it was intended for participation by those audiences. Weather is an easily consequential topic as people change their plans and outfits in adaptation to it. When writing about a news story or brand, it is best to ask how the subject affects readers.
Relevance of impact acts as a reminder to organisations as they target brands to the needs of targeted market segments and stakeholders. New fashion trends will be more relevant to fashion/lifestyle blogs, women’s magazines and lifestyle sections of newspapers. The latest toys will be much more consequential to publications that are targeted towards children and their parents. PR news can be more relevant to some audiences than others. Targeting is crucial for every step of branded news.
Immediacy or timeliness
Recency is crucial in news. The entire point of news is that it is new. Amounts of required time depend on the medium. Content may need to be planned months in advance for magazines. Whereas a Twitter account must speak to the conversation and trends of the moment.
Organisations need to be both quick and planned when publicising news about brands. Media with short news cycles require information that is relevant to audiences on the day. These are ideal when brands have announcements or flash sales. In contrast, general brand building should be done in a timeless manner for the slower media. Profiles about organisational leaders could be published at any time, with no major deadline. Innovative techniques can be explained in interviews at any time. Immediacy of branded news depends on the message and the media.
Celebrities and popular subjects are clearly newsworthy individuals. Keep in mind, prominence is different in various locations and social groups. Pop culture identities may be more well known in some countries than others. Meanwhile, professional industries look up to leaders and experts which general mass public groups may not need to hear about. Brands can associate themselves with different prominent ambassadors when targeting various audiences.
Geographic and cultural proximity both influence newsworthiness. News can have geographic proximity by being local or national. Australian brands may conduct newsworthy activities overseas, and then use their nationality to keep relevance to an Australian audience. Meanwhile, foreign brands can become culturally close by associating with Australia. Event sponsorship can link those brands with experiences locals can relate to. Local influencers will mention the brand in a way that is relevant to nearby audiences. Still, ideally a brand can be directly present in a location or related to the location to begin with.
News stories are like other general story formats. They include narratives with heroes, villains, victims, and the classic conflicts. Stories often exaggerate or dramatise conflict to get attention. Content creators and users should not completely make up conflicts where there aren’t any. But it’s something to highlight, because these themes draw people in.
Underdog stories can help brands in relating to everyday people. Many leaders of organisations, especially founders, struggled on the journeys to their success. They may have faced conflict against nay sayers. Beauty product supporters may have conquered aggressive acne. Public figures may have actual conflicts with other people. Competing brands may fight each other in differentiation, such as price wars. Real conflicts need to be handled diplomatically. Stories abound for a story of conquering conflicts.
Fun news angles can be unexpected novelties. There’s an old saying in the news world. It’s not news if a dog bites a man. But there is a news headline if a man bites a dog. Yuck. But fair point.
Publicists and marketers need to think outside the box. The Virgin group is iconic for embracing novelty for inexpensive publicity. News publications often share stories that will take audiences by surprise. Anything unusual can gain significant attention.
Audiences can hold ongoing interest to topics, which therefore have currency. Health is an ongoing issue people care about. A fresh angle on a continuous topic can help with telling people something they do not already know. New health food products, fitness programs and research are all ways to transform old issues.
Continuous Branded Use of News Values
Newsworthiness is subjective and culturally relative. It means different things to different locations, generations and interest groups. Every audience values different angles. Any brand can find a fresh angle to relate with diverse audiences in new ways. Branded news is crucial for anyone who owns or manages a brand or organisation.