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Your press release did not make headlines..Journalists tell you what really matters

Blog post   •   Nov 03, 2014 12:30 +08

What makes news? 

Breaking news? Sure. 
Sex sells. Sure.
However, Byron Perry (Founder, Coconuts Media) explains, while the story that involves sex and violence may chalk up popularity points fast, other feature stories that provide useful information will win on metrics like page view duration or number of social shares

The shelf-life for news usually does not last beyond a day. What happens after? 

Public Relations practitioners could take a leaf out of a current affairs producer's book. Following a reported news, Augustine Anthuvan (Editor, Current Affairs, Channel NewsAsia) investigates further and brings the conversation to the audiences. Content for a follow-up story is "crowd-sourced" on his microblog and the result is, stories that often gets developed into an emotional discussion.

Features or human interest stories tend to get picked more slowly, yet still get circulated months after its publish date. Surender Dhaleta (Editor, e27) shared that people are interested to go deeper into the story, and find out, for example, the background story of an entrepreneur - the road to success, and personality quirks.

"The story that matters.. is the story that connects with one individual," said Augustine.

Brands Stories vs Editorial 

A good story is about making a connection, whether emotional, or intellectual. There should not be any difference - What makes a good story for a brand should also make a good story for editorial. 

For Forbes, Chief Revenue Officer Mark Howards said that making an intellectual connection is about stimulating the audience into learning or taking a point of view as a result of the content. 

Ride on a controversy
According to Byron, stories on brands that are controversial may be especially looked out upon. As Public Relations communicators, we definitely don't hope that our next press announcement is something negative about our companies. 

What about riding on an existing boo-boo from another brand? KitKat did it really well following iPhone's #bendgate crisis.
image retrieved from

Your story pitch is just an SMS/ a tweet away...

Journalists often tap onto their network for new story ideas. As often as every other day, Augustine receives ideas from his friends, which later on develop into journalism pieces. 

Likewise, for Coconuts Media, some of Bryon's story sources include talking to people. To reach out to him more effectively, you may have to first get some attention on social media. Similar to sites like Buzzfeed and Mashable, Coconuts media also depends heavily on social media and content aggregation.

Brands to act like journalists

Digital tools and social media have lowered the barriers of entry to publishing.
Mark explains what the birth of brand journalism:

 "Brands began to notice that it was no longer about publishers being able to broadcast to individuals but there was this two-way dialogue that was happening. (Brands) wanted to be organically inserted into the conversation. Brands had to act like journalists instead of that a piece of content doesn't read like a marketing collateral, but like a story."

On Press Releases...

Having received thousands of press releases during his 10 years of journalism career, Suren said that PR-led stories can be often "drab". He advises communicators to take on a "one-on-one" approach and to adapt emotions into stories. 
"A press release is a first step. How do you add value? That's the challenge."

This discussion was moderated by Lars Voedish, Principal Consultant for PRecious Communications at #Mynewsnight (What makes a good story? From a journalist's point of view) held on 17 Oct 2014. Didn't manage to attend the event? Watch the video below. And register your interest for the next #mynewsnight, so that we can keep you posted!

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