In a creative field like PR, identifying a relevant and compelling story is subjective.
News decision-makers and PR pros share the frontlines of
determining what is worthy of coverage, especially given that the
definition of “newsworthy” has evolved.
Newsworthy content now includes trending topics about selfies,
the color of a dress and even dog pants. How can dog pants be
categorized as news? Stay with me here. Yes, dog pants may be
considered newsworthy by some, which means PR pros have an intriguing
opportunity to transform pitching strategies.
Evolution of news
In the past, a successful pitch might include breaking news,
fresh statistics or updated information for an ongoing story. However,
news consumption has shifted significantly, and in a quest to pique
and keep people’s attention, PR pros and journalists have had to adapt.
Topics that would not have been considered newsworthy a few years
ago are prominent on social media sites and leading national news
outlets. This probably will continue in 2016 with more media
organizations featuring stories based on trending topics rather than
breaking news. A growing need for content offers possibilities to
public relations pros who understand how to integrate this kind of
material into their mix and pitch it to the appropriate
Nontraditional news topics
For example, in the final week of 2015, social and traditional
media outlets posed a seemingly important question: If a dog wore pants,
would it be on two legs or four? The buzz around this topic
originated from a tweet posted by the deputy editor of Maxim. It included this picture:
How did this topic, which by traditional news standards is not
newsworthy, go from a single Twitter post to a viral sensation? Within
hours of the original post, many of the editor’s 24,000 followers
shared it with their communities. Before long, the photo went viral and
began trending on social media, which was an important part in its
appeal to traditional news outlets. Today, Time magazine and BBC picked up the story. President Barack Obama weighed in on the content, too.
This isn’t the first time that an offbeat story has pervaded
traditional media channels. Last year, the Internet was abuzz when a
post on Tumblr asked the colors of “the dress”: