What 5 things make a story newsworthy?

. Here's what you need to hook people and make them engage with your content.


Successful public relations (PR) and marketing campaigns, including press releases are couched in newsworthiness. Newsworthy elements are what make your content interesting to media and any other target audience.


"Newsworthy" is a term you'll hear PR professionals say, but I often find clients looking for a simple explanation of what makes something newsworthy. Journalism and PR canons cover the tenets of newsworthiness and while some lists vary, the basics always stay the same.


A release or PR campaign lacking newsworthiness – something worth talking about – is doomed to fail. Newsworthy content falls into the following categories that you need to think about when you're brainstorming what you should promote and the angle you should focus on.


1. Timeliness

Timely PR campaigns are tied into something that recently happened and is on people's minds. Oftentimes, it's a topic that's been covered in the media already but is still trending.


2. Human interest


Human interest is arguably one of the most important element, particularly when your target audience are general consumers. People like watching positive, uplifting stories with a small "wow" factor.


Good, heartwarming stories still hit the spot for people. These narratives tug at the heart strings with stories of struggle and triumph, relatability and sweetness. These are very common on television news stations and daytime shows, like all of thee inspirational stories you'd see on Oprah.


3. Relevance

Relevance is kind of a catch-all category, but people are more likely to engage with stories and content that is relevant to them, whatever the reason is. People in PR are interested in things relating to their profession, new pet owners are interested in training tips, green thumbs are interested in good potting soil brands and I think you get the point.


However, not all content is for the a general consumer audience. Perhaps you work on internal communications tactics. Then, you need to focus on finding content that's relevant to your company's employees. Perhaps it's news of a new restaurant to opened nearby for a possible lunch location or news of a construction project happening on campus.


Determine who your audience and then figure out what would be most relevant and interesting to them.

4. Proximity

PR campaigns based off of something that's relevant to people in a specific area can sometimes be the easiest. Most often, proximity refers to a geographic location, like local news about something that affects residents.


However, this isn't always the case. Sometimes proximity can be to an issue or specific hardship. Perhaps you're writing a release about depression that will resonate with people who have depression or know someone who does.


5. Conflict & controversy

Conflict and controversy, while difficult to get a handle on when you're trying to build your clients' reputation, always draws eyeballs. For example, a medical professional commenting on the new FDA-approved Alzheimer's drug that's caused much upheaval in the pharmaceutical and health care industries, is bound to get attention because of the national conversation taking place.