What Is a Media Angle?
Identifying and presenting the right media angle for a particular media outlet is often the primary difference between getting news coverage and your news release sliding through the paper shredder. "This angle is what makes your story newsworthy. It is often referred to as a ‘hook', because it is this which catches a reader's attention and draws them in to reading the rest of the story,” according to the Forum of Private Businesses.
Imagine a prism. White light goes in and is refracted into the many different colors that were there from the start but that you couldn’t see at first. This is a great analogy to a media angle.
At first glance, the news you have about your business may seem one-dimensional. Now, imagine putting your news through a prism and identifying the many different angles it could have to different media outlets, at different times or in front of different audiences. It is still the same story, but it can be relevant in different ways.
“Sometimes the best way to pick a news angle for a press release is to take a step back and look at your company with an eye toward identifying what's going on that could be considered newsworthy and that would be of interest to people whose attention you're trying to capture,” according to PR Web, a news release distribution organization.
Some buzz words to think about when considering news angles are trends, current events, innovation, impact, prominence, human interest, controversy and local significance.
Think about ways your news could represent larger trends or a local representation of a national issue. Does the story tie into local or national current events or hot topics already being covered in the media? Think about how your news impacts a large number of people or an industry, or represents something fresh, new, or innovative. Audiences also love feel-good, human-interest stories and unique, quirky stories. Some good angles come about by highlighting the human side.
There can often be a half dozen different angles in one news-worthy development. Take the example of a new hospital construction project. Which angle you pitch depends on the audience and focus of the media outlets you are approaching.
The most obvious new construction angle would appeal to general news and business editors. The purpose behind the hospital project, the medical services it will provide, would appeal to health and medical writers. Other potential angles would depend on the project, but could include a local representation of a national trend in medical advancements, an article about how the development ties into local economic issues or a feel-good story about an individual patient’s opportunities for medical treatment through the new facility. Industry or trade publications often zoom in on more specialized angles of a story. An engineering or construction publication, for instance, would be interested in the unique design of the building itself.
You often will have just one news release, but you can customize an accompanying letter, known as a pitch letter, to each editor. This is where you will present the media angle that is relevant to their unique beat and audience.
The most important thing to always consider when presenting a news angle is how the angle will affect the publication’s readers. The angle should never be just about your organization. It is not about you, it is about the readers. Tell how it impacts them, and your chances of seeing your product or business in print will increase dramatically.