Two Questions You Must Answer First to Determine the Impact of Your News Release

Journalists — and every other audience you want to influence — only care about stories they consider newsworthy or interesting. So you must ask yourself, and answer, these two critical questions before delivering what you consider news, or to make an announcement or pitch a story:

o Is this really news?

o Who cares?

Just because your company did something you or the CEO considers unusual or newsworthy doesn’t mean a reporter or editor or anyone else will read past the headline. Other organizations like yours could be bombarding the same journalists with similar stories every day. Yours isn’t different or special.

So what’s next if — in the cold light of day — you determine your potential news story isn’t really news or that no one would care about it anyway? You could ditch the entire idea right then and there, or you could ask — and answer — two more questions:

o What unique angle can I use to make this topic newsworthy?

o Who would care now?

For example, reporters frequently hear how hospitals’ fundraising events generate record-setting donations. It’s a weak story.

However, a story focusing on a particular patient — perhaps a child — who received life-saving care or a specialized treatment made possible through such donations would contain a poignant human element.

How is the child doing now? What doctor provided treatment? What made this case unique? What impact did the child’s recovery have on family members?

Now the story has a personal touch — lots of them, actually.

Is it news? Yes.

Who cares?