Too often, organizations fail to examine carefully whether what they are promoting is newsworthy before kicking a publicity effort into high gear. The result frequently is disenchantment with public relations as a method of building awareness and demand.

But media relations can be an extremely effective way to increase confidence in your company, its leaders and its products.

Before you take your story public, consider this five-point checklist to formulate the important messages that need to be communicated:

  • Prominence. How big is this really? Is this part of a larger trend or will it have a lasting impact?
  • Timeliness. Remember, the first three letters in "news" spell "NEW!" Did it just happen or is it about to happen? Does it tie in with a current public interest?
  • Punch. What impact will your story have on your company and your audiences, and how many people will be effected?
  • Proximity. Is this a good local story only, or will it be of interest to a regional, national or global audience?
  • Personal. Is there a human interest element? Who is helping to make your story news?

If your story doesn't score high on these elements, you may want to adjust course. Perhaps trade publications would be better to approach than the business page of your daily newspaper. Perhaps you should flesh out the personal side of your story, recognizing that an emotional element will be more interesting to many journalists.