24 January 2014 Guest Contributor

Whether you choose to DIY publicity or get some expert advice, there are four must haves when it comes down to generating media interest. Today, we're looking at the first must have in more detail.

 Must Have Number One: A strong news story or angle

In order to achieve publicity for yourself or your business, you need to offer what the media wants. Anything that appears on radio, television or in print does so because a journalist or editor has deemed it newsworthy. But what is news?

Most journalists agree that the following eight elements make up what is considered "news."

Immediacy: Reporting something that has just happened or is about to happen.

Proximity: Facts and occurrences that are important to the audience. The question most asked by journalists is: "If this happened outside my immediate area, my city, my state, would I be interested in reading about it?"

Prominence: Prominence as a news element is well-known to most of us. The public figure, holders of public office, people of renown or those who stimulate our curiosity, people in positions of influence all enjoy news prominence.

Oddity: Oddity is often news. The bizarre, the unusual, the unexpected often make news. Such as a woman lifting an automobile off her child, travelling around the world in a sailboat, unusual recycling methods. In journalism, oddity is defined as the "man bites dog" formula.

Conflict: Conflict is one element most observed in today’s news with the clash of ideologies making headlines worldwide.

Suspense: Suspense creates and expands news appeal.

Emotions: Emotions are a news element commonly called "human interest" stories.

Consequence: For a story to have consequence it must be important to a great number of readers. It must have some impact for the reader. Such news will affect him or her in some personal way...the safety of the city's drinking water; running out of drinking water. Thus it becomes an important news story.

Stay tuned for the other three must haves over the coming weeks. 

An award-winning print and radio journalist for over a decade, Phil(ippa) Lowe is the founder of Publicity Express, an innovative PR mentoring business offering products, programs and advice to help soloists & small business do their own PR.