Here are the five ways that will allow you to think like a journalist:

1. Don’t sell a story — rather, tell a story

It is not a secret that journalists receive countless emails daily from different PR pros, and since the journalists have so many options to choose from, you stand a chance of not getting your story published.

PR pros are storytellers; they need to be able to create beautiful ideas using words. People, or in this case, journalists, will be more interested in a story well told than a story that the PR pro wants to sell to them.

If you, as a PR pro, want to ensure that it gets the journalist’s attention, be sure to include the five senses in the story. This includes sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. By adding in the senses, you will reach the person reading it through one of their dominant senses.

In an article for Dittoe, Greta Snell says: “The best content is rich with details that will hook readers and give them more than just a compilation of facts and quotes.” This is exactly what your story should do.

2. Understand what is newsworthy and topical content

There are five factors that allow you to determine whether or not the story that you are writing about is newsworthy. If you want to think like a journalist, one of the most important skills to master is to understand when a story will do well.

These five factors are:

1. Timing
2. Significance
3. Proximity
4. Prominence
5. Human interest

Ensuring that your story meets the requirements will increase the chances that a journalist will take a look at it. Writing about topical content might not always be possible, but if you can focus your content on trending topics, it may assist you in getting your story published.

3. Know your audience like it’s your BFF

They say keep your friends close but your enemies closer. In this case, keep your friends close but your audience closer! You need to know and understand your audience with 100% accuracy. The moment you really understand your audience, you will know what they want to read and you can write about that.

Journalists always keep the audience that they are writing for in mind because, if your readers like a certain topic, but you always focus on the opposite, they will no longer want to be your audience. Simply, they will find another person who writes about what they want to read.

4. Play it safe and stick to the facts

As a storyteller, it is appealing to write about something and make it sound amazing, but fake news is a reality and readers are getting smarter with each new story that they read. It will not benefit you if you write a great story that is not backed up with facts — the journalist that you send your content to will skim through it and move it to their spam folder.

Facts should be your number one priority when writing a story. That also includes making sure that your facts are from credible sources.

5. Be attentive to details

Journalists are all about the details; this includes the structure of a story, the grammar, spelling and flow of sentences. If a PR pro sends a story to a journalist and the heading doesn’t make sense, it’s difficult to follow and if there are spelling mistakes for miles, you can be sure that they won’t pay much attention to it.

Before hitting the send button, you need to ensure that you are 100% happy with what you have written because your work is a representation of you and the company that you work for.

What else do you think a PR pro can do to think like a journalist? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Now that you know how to think like a journalist, why not check out these Four things journalists want you to know.
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