The Nature of News – a PR perspective

There are only two ways to make news – Create a story or Follow a story.
This is of vital importance to anyone who wants to understand, execute and exploit the power of public relations.
Journalists, bloggers and other influencers will want good answers to the three basic questions: What’s the story? Why should I care? Why should I care at this point in time? Additional criteria to consider could be:  Is it new?  Is it unusual? Is there a human interest angle? 
Here are the two ways to make news:

tell a story or follow a story

Create A Story.  This involves storytelling and is the most common form of public relations.  Firms looking to make the news want to promote something fresh:  a new car, a new app, a merger and the like. They would release the information to the media and it would get picked up provided there are good answers to the basic questions. 

Other methods of making news include bylined articles written for a publication, Op-Eds, social media, content marketing on websites and similar initiatives. Some firms create their own events or speak in front of prestigious groups. Entrepreneurs and small businesses sometimes use brief series of questions that result in new information that sheds light on an issue might be newsworthy to the trade media.

Follow a Story.  This is when one notices a story in the news and responds. For breaking news, journalists often need an expert to comment in real time and contact their usual list of suspects, experts whom they know or trust. With some quick thinking, reaching out can lead to new connections and media attention.

When the story isn’t immediate, businesses can insert themselves into a trend.  These are usually feature stories, in contrast to breaking news. For instance, if law firms are cutting deals on hourly prices in return for guaranteed monthly retainers, and your law firm clients cuts a similar deal, that’s one instance of a trend.

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