Health & Social Care New plans launched with free sector-specific training Learn more

Business Tips

Why being part of the news in PR is better than trying to set the news

Journalists set the news agenda, not businesses.  Sure, the journalists need the news angles, but they decide what is going to be written and broadcast. Which is why ‘news’ becomes what we are talking about, rather than what we are thinking

Journalists set the news agenda by what we are talking about not what we are thinking, and without being part of the 'talked about' agenda, your voice has little chance of being heard.

For example, any coronavirus based story right now will absolutely catch the eye of a journalist, but the launch of a new product without any real relevance to the trending news is hardly likely to be picked up.

The whole objective of PR is to be reported on and your messages be heard by your target audience. So, trying to set the agenda yourself is way harder than piggy backing on news that journalists have already defined as what they want us reading and listening to.

Your relationship with what's going on around you dictates whether you have a voice and whether you are listened to, which is why it is critical to do your research before setting about being part of the news and getting brand coverage.

Look at it this way

'Dead cat stories', the ones that are used to try and deflect from the trending news and position it elsewhere, frequently do much more damage to a brand than they do good. President Trump is a classic at this and is completely seen through by most viewers.

On the other hand, 'live dog stories' run and run. There are the trending ones that carry such interest that you to hold tight to the lead or they will get away.

So how do you make your PR life easier, and latch onto the trending stories?

This is where the research comes in, and where you need to create your own Business Calendar, so that you ensure both that you don't miss an opportunity, and that you make sure that your story is relevant. If it's not relevant, don't touch it as it won't fit your tone of voice and you will damage rather than enhance your brand, losing, rather than winning, customers.

Your Business Calendar has to be specific to your brand, but it can draw on several sources to be really effective. Trending interest in a TV series, or a celebrity 'drama' can be a very effective hook for you, as long as it's relevant, and news announced by, or about your competitors is an invitation for you to join the conversation and be listened to. Data being released by the Government, or days of national interest (there are hundreds of these from Mother's Day to Diabetes Awareness Day, and, yes there is one too, Kebab Day!), are good hooks, as well as being recognised in one of the list of Award Programmes. Various lists are available but JournoLink does the hard work for you on this with their composite calendar all for free.

Commenting, and adding to the news with authority is the best way to achieve good PR, and for that you need to know what's going on.

So, back the running dogs rather than the dead cats!

For more help with getting your story right contact the journoLink team on

Check out the broadcast from 'Isola-Tet', part of the JournoLink 'PR Tips' at

Use JournoLink to get your stories in the press

Easy-to-use, easy-to-learn publicity software built for small businesses.

We hope you enjoy reading our PR resources!

Want to see how JournoLink's PR software can create publicity for your business?

Book a demo