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Read this post if: you’re just starting your media journey and you’re looking for exposure in local newspapers or business magazines.

What are the ingredients of a good story? If you’re looking to attract media attention for your business (and who wouldn’t want that?) then there are certain elements that journalists and editors are looking for. These are known as News Values, and whilst each publication may have their own specific values, understanding common news and content values will help you with your pitch to journalists, publishers and webmasters. Now, why does this matter? Well, there is a lot of content competing for people’s attention, and editors are very busy people. They need to see at a glance that the story contains at least one or two of the following.

Immediacy – why are you telling this story now?
When did it happen? If it’s today/tonight then journalists might be interested but remember news moves so quickly and you would need to be red hot at getting your story out there. The alternative to this is NewsJacking, which we will talk about in depth in a later post but basically, if something is happening in the news and it ties to your business or brand, create content around it and reach out to local journalists. You can of course, predict some events such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas etc and create stories around your business and product/services that tie in.

Emotion – how will readers feel after reading your story?
The great story driver! Does your story contain a degree of emotion? We all react to other peoples feelings, whether that’s anger, fear, love, hope, frustration. What emotional connection can you make with the reader to bring them into your story?

Quirky – does anything unexpected happen?
There’s always a place for the odd story, anything unusual or unique that will fascinate the reader. Stories about the best, worst, largest, smallest, funniest etc

Proximity – why does this story matter to the read?
Regional papers are concerned with local news – and sometimes that means very local. If your story involves the growth of your company then it’s doubtful that a national newspaper would be interested. Look for online news sites such as Forbes, Huffington Post that focus on different regions.

Conflict – who’s involved and what are their views?
Politics is a great example of this. Think about government elections. There are 2 (if not more) sides of opposition that never seem to agree. Simple 2 sided conflict engages us emotionally and you’ll find yourself watching a debate on Newsnight for example and have nodding dog syndrome or be outraged. But you don’t have to be political to write about conflict. Sometimes conflict happens within i.e overcoming obstacles or personal struggles.

Using news values can help you identify the strongest angle for your story so all your efforts in pitching will be focused and deliver the results in no time.