8 tips to make your business’s content newsworthy [What makes a story newsworthy?]

Simone Cunningham 8 tips to make your business's content newsworthy




If you’ve ever wondered what makes a story newsworthy, then you’re in the right place. 

This blog article is all about letting you in on some media and public relations secrets so you can start looking at your business’s content through different eyes and discover good stories to pitch to the media, online publications, bloggers, or podcast and video hosts.

While I did call them secrets, it’s more accurate to describe them as news values.

Essentially, it’s how journalists intuitively know what is and isn’t a news story. 

So, if you’re ready to learn what a good or great news story is, keep reading.


Listen to the podcast


What makes a newsworthy story? Tips to get your business’s content featured




I can’t exactly remember when during my journalism career that knowing a story’s newsworthiness became second nature. 

It was probably when I was fresh out of university, reporting for Channel Nine, that it kind of absorbed through my skin and never left. 

It’s almost like you develop an instinct for what’s newsworthy. You just know.

However, for those new to the idea of ‘newsworthiness’, there is a set of 8 news values that can be used to filter what stories are newsworthy.

But first, let’s discuss what I mean when I say ‘newsworthy story’. 

A newsworthy story or a good PR story is something that’s interesting or important to the audience of the media outlet, online publication, blogger, podcast and video host.

It’s important to remember that this story is not for your audience, like the rest of your marketing or advertising.

Your PR story needs to be interesting or important to a wider audience. 

This is where many people go wrong.

They think that if something’s important to their business or marketing audience, then the media, online publications, bloggers, or podcast and video hosts should care.

But unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Your story has to have more widespread relevance than your immediate audience. 

I know that sounds harsh, but it’s the reality of PR. It’s very different from marketing and advertising

If you want to learn more about this listen to my first podcast episode, 3 reasons why your media pitch gets ignored or deleted

Related blog: 3 reasons why your media pitch gets ignored or deleted 




8 news values that will make your business content newsworthy


So now let’s get into the 8 news values that determine what stories are newsworthy.


1. New


Anything new, groundbreaking or happening right now (otherwise called ‘breaking news’) is considered newsworthy.

Ask yourself what is new about your story. For example, a new service, new statistics, new acquisition, and new technology. 

You can also think of it in terms of ‘firsts’, such as this concept, product or event is an ‘Australian-first’ or ‘world-first’.


2. Impact and Scale


Ask yourself how many people will this story affect? How big is the issue? 

Use examples and statistics that emphasise the fact that your story will be of interest to a wide range of people. The more people affected, the bigger the story. 

This is why political and federal budget stories feature prominently at the top of news bulletins.


3. Conflict


Controversy is newsworthy. The media and audiences love a fight or a scandal where people or businesses are pitted against each other.

If you saw the headlines about Will Smith’s slapping of Chris Rock at the Oscars last week, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. 

Had the event played out differently as a verbal argument, it would not have been considered such a newsworthy occurrence.


4. Prominence


The larger your profile or the larger your business, the more newsworthy you are, and the easier it is to get your media pitch or media release read. 

If you’re well-known, then even small events can be newsworthy.

Consider what makes you (or your business) worth quoting in stories? What qualifies you to be the spokesperson in this story?

Also, think about if you can associate a high-profile person or event with your story, as this will make it more newsworthy.


Prominence content marketing


5. Proximity


You need to think about where the audience you’re targeting is located and if your story matters to them. 

News editors are more likely to cover your story if it’s where their viewers or readers live, as long as it ticks off one or two of the other news values as well.

Related blog: 3 ingredients for a compelling PR story pitch [Plus email template]

Or listen to the podcast below.




6. Change & Trends


Journalists are always interested in changes and initiatives that shape the future or affect how we live. 

If you can include statistics or examples that illustrate new trends, there’s a chance you have a newsworthy story.

Also, think about recent trends you’re reading about and how you can provide commentary on what’s making headlines or happening at a certain time of the year. This is also known as what’s ‘trending’. 

At any given time, there are new trending topics that you can piggyback off of to get yourself featured alongside trending news stories (also called ‘newsjacking’).

For example, with the ‘cost of living’ a hot topic right now, a budget or financial planning expert could find a newsworthy angle to add to the conversation around the financial pressures many Australians are facing.


7. Human Interest


Think about how your story affects people, either in a good or bad way. 

Perhaps you can put a human face to a bigger story to personalise it. Is there someone who has been assisted by your business and is willing to tell their story? 

Stories about overcoming adversity and emotive interviews are popular as these types of stories tug on the heartstrings. 

Human interest stories are often not time-sensitive, which is good because they can be published or aired at a time when there is less news available, making your story the perfect ‘filler’ piece.


Human interest content marketing


8. The Unusual


A different or quirky story angle can help make your story newsworthy.

Ask yourself if there is anything unexpected about this story?

The bizarre, strange, and unusual will often make headlines, so if you have this covered, you’re in luck because there’s a good chance you will generate some media buzz.

See the amusing, but clearly fictional, new story from the movie Anchorman below.



In summary


The 8 news values that determine what stories are newsworthy:

  1. New 
  2. Impact and Scale
  3. Conflict
  4. Prominence 
  5. Proximity
  6. Change & Trends
  7. Human interest
  8. The Unusual


Getting featured in the media, online publications, podcasts and videos


If your story doesn’t have at least one of these news values, I’m sorry to say odds are that it’s not newsworthy and it won’t get picked up by journalists, bloggers, or hosts. 

However, if your story has one or more of these newsworthy angles, strengthen your PR story pitch by working in statistics and examples that will help them imagine your story as being of value to their audience.


[Infographic] 8 tips to make your business’s content newsworthy


For a summary of today’s blog read the infographic below: What makes a story newsworthy?





Ready to increase your visibility and secure coverage?


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public relations and thought leadership training to maximise your media coverage and publicity opportunities in podcasts, videos, social media and online publications.

Over 3, 6 and 12-week structured sessions, we develop your PR strategy, targeted plan, story pitches and more so you can start securing coverage now.

These are practical training sessions where we work directly on your business PR. No time is wasted. We get it done!

Learn more by booking your free 30-minute chat today.

You can also email me by visiting my website contact page or by clicking here.


Want more public relations and content marketing tips?


For more great resources about public relations, interviewing, podcasting, content creation, content marketing, and video marketing be sure to check out my new podcast series “Improve Your Content in 7 Minutes” by clicking here, or find me on your favourite streaming app.

If you’d like to learn more about the differences between press releases, media releases, media alerts and media pitches read this article or listen to the podcast episode below.




Watch Press Release vs. Media Release vs. Media Alert vs. Media Pitch: What Are the Differences? [Video]


Simone Cunningham

Simone Cunningham

CEO Simone Cunningham Media & eWords Agency

Simone is a public relations and content marketing strategist. Partnering with businesses and individuals over the last 20 years to achieve their content and publicity goals.

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CEO Simone Cunningham Media & eWords Agency

Simone is a public relations and content marketing strategist. Partnering with businesses and individuals over the last 20 years to achieve their content and publicity goals.



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