What’s Newsworthy About Your Client?


Public relations done well can really help promote a client and attract links. But to get any decent coverage you have to be newsworthy. And therein lies a problem – genuine breaking news stories don’t happen often enough to sustain an ongoing PR campaign. So if you want to keep your client in the media spotlight, you’ve got to find creative ways of generating newsworthy stories.

I’m currently doing research with CitationLabs.com into how SEOs use PR in link-building campaigns. The research, not yet published, reveals that 75 percent of respondents had used PR in the past and more intended to do so in the future.

That shows that PR plays an important part in many SEO campaigns.


1. Your Client’s Customers

What if you have a client that is in a really boring industry, like a funeral home? How do you get publicity and links for that?

One funeral home in the U.K. came up with a creative idea and it got them coverage on the BBCTime Magazine, and a host of other top-notch media.

The secret was to look at their customer data for inspiration.

They had more than 30,000 customer records that happened to include the music people requested for their family service.

So they used the data to compile a chart of the top funeral songs in the U.K. The top of the list was surprising – and fantastically newsworthy.


2. The Founders or Entrepreneur Behind the Business

This is perhaps the most common type of "people story" that makes the news. This article from The New York Times kicks right off with a personal perspective:

"Most weekday mornings, Jessie Goldenberg can be found driving around the Flatiron district of Lower Manhattan searching for just the right parking space for her truck."

This opening is really just saying "it’s hard to find parking in Manhattan," but the personal story makes it much more compelling.

The reader thinks: Who is this Jessie Goldenberg? Why is she driving a truck? And why does she need "just the right parking space"?


3. The Staff That Work for Your Client

Another relatively easy place to find newsworthy stories is your client’s staff. This story on the BBCwebsite features staff who work at four different companies and enjoy some unusual perks.

What makes this story newsworthy is the story of how the staff "enjoy" their unusual perks as opposed to the fact that they actually have those perks. It’s the storytelling that makes the piece.

This story features four non-competing companies who share similar, unusual benefits. How did those stories get there?

Perhaps, the journalist involved spent hours researching possible contenders or posted a query on HARO – or perhaps, a helpful PR consultant did all the research, identified the companies and suggested them to the reporter.

The lessons are:

  • Listen out for unusual stories about your client’s staff, listen to chatter in the canteen or by the water cooler.
  • If you find something interesting, have some fun and see if you can put together a coherent story that might just be of interest to a journalist.