This article was first featured on Business Business Business.
From posting on social media channels to participating in a trade event, there are many ways that businesses can gain media exposure. Media release, however, still remains the key to unlock the door to many news agencies and to gain publicity opportunities such as an interview on TV or being published in major news outlets.
To have a strong media release is to tell a good story. How well we tell our story is very much determined by our knowledge of the media and news industry and our preparation on story telling.
In this post, we will discuss various news categories that a business should consider before drafting a media release.
By understanding different types of news categories available to news agencies, we gain an insight as to what reporters are looking for. This will in turn increase the “news worthiness” of our media release and thus improve the chance of our news being accepted.
So just how many news categories are out there? According to the award-winning journalist Tanya Charlotte Targett and her media training program “Winning Publicity Formula”, there are 11 news categories that we need to consider when it comes to prepare a media release.
Use the following news categories to plan for a media release, so your media release is more “news worth”.
1. Hard News / Bread and Butter News
Hard news is also known as bread and butter news. News from this category forms the backbone of our daily news consumption. More importantly, reporters are obligated to report hard news.
Some examples of hard news include crimes, politics and major events. While most businesses do not generate news that directly fit in this category, a technique called “news hijacking” can help businesses become relevant by leveraging the breaking news.
2. Major Announcement
News from the major announcement category usually is significant. As such, it is extremely relevant to the general public and often is an interest to a large group of people.
A government budget announcement about an airport upgrade is such an example.
This is a news category that generates interest because of the element of unknown or anticipation in the story.
Sporting grand finals and murder mysteries belong to this news category.
As the name suggests, this news category capitalises sensationalism to capture audience’s attention.
News about Airbnb and its ability to disrupt the hospitality industry is such an example. News on celebrity’s scandal or an underdog’s success story also belongs to this news category.
News stories about conflict attract the attention of reporters. Businesses can often leverage this news category to establish their authority or expert position.
For instance, a boutique construction company can prepare a media release using a conflict angle and discuss benefits of town house development to a particular local community. As the topic itself is a contentious topic for many people, a conflict story like this certainly is very news worthy.
6. Quirky / Novelty
This news category is very popular and is well sought after by editors and producers irrespective of media channels (TV, magazines, print and radio). News from this category is often used to balance hard news.
Reporters are, therefore, always on the lookout for stories that have a “wow” factor, which may be either shocking, bizarre or entertaining.
The news story about the 2011 Young Australian of the Year Jessica Watson who, at the age of 16, completed a solo trip circumnavigating the southern hemisphere was a good example of this quirky/novelty news category.
7. Soft News / Human Interest
Many news stories that businesses have to share fall into this particular news category. Soft news or human interest news is popular, because it focuses on what it is happening around us.
Reporters, therefore, look for stories related to sports, lifestyle, music and arts.
For example, local newspapers often feature a local business lending a hand supporting a much loved local community group for a good cause.
8. Colour Stories
Very similar to soft news stories, colour stories with a particular focus or theme are sought after by feature writers and feature style TV shows.
For example, a feature leading up to the International Women’s Day, featuring a day with successful female CEOs can be a good colour news story.
An emotive news story hopes to touch readers’ heart. By evoking emotions such as sorrow, joy, laughter, sadness or even anger, an emotive story can be a very powerful way to connect with your audience.
Charitable organisations such as World Vision and Red Cross Australia often adopt this news category and style when seeking to connect with their supporters and donors.
10. Timely and Current
Any news stories that have an expiration date fall into this news category. For example, a story right before an election that talks about a public forum encouraging young people to get involved in public affairs obviously has an expiration date.
But as a general rule, all stories should be timely and current. In fact, if your story is not timely and current, you need to make it so.
Using a small business who is about to launch a new product as an example. Instead of writing a media release about the new product, why not tie the product launch story to a festival or holiday?
11. An Exclusive
An exclusive is something that all reporters strive to discover. This is our ultimate weapon when it comes to attract free publicity as many reporters are expected to deliver a certain number of exclusive stories per month.
According to Tanya Charlotte Targett, the creator of the proven media training program Winning Publicity Formula, businesses should consider offering news story as an exclusive when it is first released.
Although a bit of training and strategies are needed to position a media release as an attractive exclusive, planning a media and publicity strategy around exclusive news pays off in a long run.
Take Home Message
- A powerful media release can unlock the door to major publicity opportunities.
- A good media release tells a compelling story. Use the 11 news categories to plan a media release and improve its news worthiness.
- Consider include “exclusive news” as a strategy to attract media attention.
About the author
To connect with Suzi Chen, visit her bio here.