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Are You Newsworthy?

Non-news professionals often have a hard time understanding why their ENORMOUS news announcement, creates barely a ripple in the media.

That's not to say a news release shouldn't be done about it. There are audiences besides the media - like employees, customers and trade allies - to whom news releases may be sent. But the media is interested in things that are different from the norm. So, generally, bad news gets more play. Let's examine these six categories to help us better understand what the media wants.

MONEY TALKS - In an age where cash is king, financial matters concerning your company can be big news. Mergers, acquisitions, good or bad earnings reports, new technology that will save or make money, all are good copy. Coverage increases the more you mention amounts and values.

TAKE THE GLOVES OFF - This category has a couple of dimensions. First, is in the arena of controversy.

Whether it's DOS against LINUX, Cable TV against DISH, or Dial-Up against Broadband, the media loves an argument about which standard is better. If an argument is good, an all out war is better. Ford vs. GM, or Apple vs. IBM - those are the kinds of battles that get an editor's attention. Don't be afraid to take sides.

GIVE ME A HUG - Editors even like a good love story. It could be a strategic alliance or an outright merger between two companies. No matter, the media are interested, particularly if there are questions about the cooperative effort's chance of success.

LEADING EDGE - The rarified air where technological history is made intrigues the media. Show them tangible evidence of how the technology will improve things in the here and now, and they'll cover the story.

CARRY A BIG STICK - If your name is not GM, Microsoft, or IBM, don't worry. You can take advantage of a big brand name. Leverage a new agreement, alliance or partnership between you and one of the big boys for your benefit.

CHANGES - Established companies with proprietary methods like the status quo. Shake it up a little with a new system that changes the paradigm and you have the beginnings of a story.

The best stories will include something from each category, and then they will have major media staying power. Rarely does a release get covered if it centers on only one category.

For the business media, focus your efforts on MONEY TALKS and TAKE THE GLOVES OFF categories. Getting trade media coverage typically is a little easier. Although the first two categories will ensure coverage, LEADING EDGE, CARRY A BIG STICK AND CHANGES are good enough for some ink.

Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR, He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Bray Law Firm, Levolor, New World Mortgage, North Carolina Tourism, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX and Verbatim.


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