Whether you’re a journalist, in public relations, or run a company that wants publicity, you want people to read the news and releases that you share. The principles of a good news story are similar to writing a great book. Grab people’s attention and keep it on what you’re sharing. Here’s how to make news that people will actually want to read.
When you start to share a story, think about, what’s the slant here?
The slant is the approach or point of view your story is being presented from, and it makes a world of difference. Simply reciting facts that have happened doesn’t make for an interesting story that people want to read or listen to. Note, having a slant on a story is different from bias. You don’t have to sacrifice impartial reporting to make things interesting.
The difference between an okay and a great story is that a great piece of reporting will select only the meaningful facts. The author takes these facts and makes them into a story with meaning. They also provide context and tell a coherent story. Just like any other good piece of writing, there’s a beginning, middle, and end.
Your news story should always include the most accurate figures available. For example, don’t use the phrase “a large investment” if you know that the real figure is $10 million. Also, stay away from mindless words that don’t actually say anything. If your sentences sound like a string of puffery, a reader will get bored and not take your subject seriously.
Another tip to keep in mind is that people are much more likely to engage with a story that has a good photo attached. Just make sure that it’s relevant to the story you’re telling. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. What about companies? If you’re in business, you probably usually put out a press or media release when you are trying to sell a product or service or inform the public about developments in your business. But who really cares about this form of news? Usually, the average consumer doesn’t unless you make them.
If you’re struggling, keep these principles in mind. Good news is fresh, out of the ordinary and affects the reader. So think about events that you believe are big in your company, like you’ve just got a new shipment of office equipment delivered. That’s great, but will anyone outside your company really want to know?
Does your news pass the checklist?
- Is it reader friendly, using simple language, with only the words that are absolutely necessary?
- Does it use direct speech and quotes so the reader feels like it speaks straight to them?
- Is it free of unnecessary “fluff” words and phrases?
- Have you explained everything, without assuming that your readers understand everything about the subject?
- Is there a human angle that will make a reader empathize with the story?