Man Bites Dog? Using the 7 Elements of Newsworthiness to Increase Your Brand’s Coverage

September 7, 2023

By: Audrey Neumann

Capturing the attention of journalists and securing coverage for your brand can sometimes feel like an elusive challenge in today’s crowded media landscape. However, understanding the elements that make a story newsworthy can significantly increase your chances of gaining media attention. Here are the seven key elements of newsworthiness that communicators should keep in mind to enhance their brand’s visibility:

1. Timeliness: News is inherently timely, and in today’s 24-hour news environment, brands that tie their stories to current events or trends have a higher chance of gaining media coverage. You may not always have a breaking story, but keeping an eye on industry news and upcoming events you can connect your brand to – either through a press release or reactive media pitch – can help you secure additional coverage throughout the year.

2. Significance: Stories that have a substantial impact, positive or negative, on people’s lives, businesses or communities are more likely to attract media attention. Identify the ways in which your brand’s story can address questions, solve problems or provide unique insights.

3. Proximity: Proximity refers to the geographic relevance of a story. Local news outlets are more likely to cover stories that directly impact their communities. Consider how your brand’s activities, events or initiatives can connect to a specific location or community.

4. Prominence:
Prominence relates to the status of the people or organizations involved in a story. If your brand has notable individuals, experts or influencers associated with it, leverage their prominence to attract media attention.

5. Conflict: Conflict, controversy or contrasting viewpoints tend to draw attention. Identify areas of tension, debates or industry challenges that your brand can provide insights on.

6. Human Interest: Stories that evoke emotions and resonate with people on a personal level have a strong human interest element. Share compelling anecdotes, inspiring narratives or stories that demonstrate the human side of your brand.

7. Uniqueness: As the journalistic aphorism goes, “When a dog bites a man, that’s not an interesting story. It happens all the time. But if a man bites a dog, then that’s news.” While reporters are likely to notice stories that are exceptionally bizarre or unusual, your story doesn’t always need to bring the shock factor to generate positive coverage. Identify what makes your brand or story distinct, whether it’s a groundbreaking innovation, an unconventional approach or an unexpected outcome.

By leveraging these elements, you can craft compelling narratives, angles and pitches that captivate journalists and attract attention to your brand. Remember to continually seek innovative ways to make your brand’s story stand out in the crowded media landscape.

Still not sure where to start? Contact our team to learn how we can help with your media relations needs.