The age old question… You’ve just been shortlisted for an award, signed a new contract, supported a local charity or invested in a new technology or service. But, is it news?

With so many clever ways to communicate with your target audience these days, it’s important to take a step back and assess the content of each story. Is what you have to say enough to get a journalist’s fingers typing, or should you be putting your creative hat on and communicating in other ways?

Nothing can harm your oh-so-important reputation with journalists more than sending them something that is far from headline hitting.

Here at ramarketing, we like to think we know a thing (or six) about what could get you that front-page scoop, after all we work with the trade media in pharmaceuticals, life sciences and manufacturing day in, day out. So, here are six important questions to ask yourself before clicking send on your latest ‘news’…

1. Is it new?

The clue is in the name. News must be new. It needs to tell your audience something they didn’t know before. And it needs to be timely. If your new CEO was appointed last June, you may have missed the boat. If you’re planning to talk generally about ongoing growth within your organisation, you may need some fresh statistics to add the ‘new’ into your news. Better still, time your news with the launch of some new research, industry developments or regulatory changes to add the hook all journalists are looking for.

2. Is it significant?

You may be really proud of your company’s latest accolade, but will it mean anything to anyone outside of your four walls? A trade journalist is unlikely to be interested in the fact your company has been listed as the best place to work, yet, a local journalist may lap this up as a ‘good local employer’ story. Try to put yourself in the journalist’s shoes and make sure what you’re sending them will be interesting to their readers.

3. Can you put a figure on it?

You’ve made a new investment, grown your team or turnover, or perhaps you have a new piece of research that has identified some new trends in the industry. But can you share figures to support these claims? Often without the facts and statistics to add colour to your news, journalists are left with nothing but an empty claim and a generic story. So, before you send that press release, make sure there’s enough facts and figures to make sure your story packs the punch it needs!

4. Tailor, tailor, tailor

Is your story about creating more jobs for local people? Make sure you tailor it to the region in which the investment is taking place. It may sound obvious, but sending a press release to the North West business press about a success story happening in the North East is unlikely to push their buttons. Tailor your story to the journalist in question or the publication you’re writing it for.

5. Don’t lose sight of your objectives

While it might be nice to tell the world that you’ve raised £100 for a local charity, does this really fit within your communications objectives? If you’re looking to position yourself as a responsible and desirable employer in your local community, or to evidence the caring nature of your team, the answer could be yes. But if you’re looking to highlight your pharmaceutical manufacturing expertise, you may be losing sight of your audience and goals.

6. Consider other mediums

Think twice before launching into a press release. You may find the story about your latest charitable cause is better suited to your internal or customer newsletter or perhaps your blog…after all, everybody wants to work with and for a company with its heart in the right place. Or even better, consider using your social channels such as LinkedIn and Facebook, where your objective may be to attract talented new recruits looking for a fun and friendly place to work. Consider your content and be creative with how you communicate. Press releases might be the obvious choice, but could be a wasted effort if the story isn’t newsworthy.

And there you have it. Some simple steps to make sure your press releases never miss the mark again.