What is news?
It’s a crucial question for the PR industry.
It’s the plural of new, a reminder that ‘if it isn’t new, it isn’t news’.
And: ‘News is something that someone, somewhere doesn’t want published. Everything else is PR.” There is a hard kernel of truth in this nugget, attributed to both William Randolph Hearst and George Orwell.
So, bearing these in mind, what really is news in, say, the B2B and trade press? Brief research in our office of leading titles, print and online, covering several different sectors, from The Grocer, Campaign and all the leading meetings industry titles to Heating & Plumbing Monthly and AV magazine, supplies the answers.
News is; major new business wins, especially by well-known agencies or suppliers; mergers and acquisitions; major controversies such as the Trump travel ban; the impact of topical issues like Brexit; major new product launches by well-known brands; senior staff appointments and departures; and revealing research.
News is NOT: new websites; small product launches; small investments in equipment; new colour or size variants of existing products; case studies; and office moves.
Now, from a PR perspective, it is important for a brand to maintain continual and regular visibility, at least across the desks and in-boxes of the media, by issuing a steady flow of news releases. So how can a PR team issue at least a news release every two months if not every month, when the brand isn’t launching major new products or wins so often?
Experienced PR teams make news. They proactively create stories that are good enough to pass the threshold test of the news editor as worth considering.
How? For instance, they develop a strong or unexpected opinion from the CEO or a director that will make an impact and cause a stir. They also create surveys and exploit the results. They delve in to industry figures and trends to identify angles. They create annual or half year progress reports on the business or market when official public accounts are not available. They search and segment areas of the business to find positive niche angles. They come up with trends and insights into the future.
Making news is vital for a brand or organisation and its media relations; it is an important PR skill.