What can bloggers do if there’s no news?

Posted on December 12, 2017

 

If your business has a blog, one of the best ways to make sure it stays up to date is to report on news from your industry, but what if you can’t find any? What if it seems to be a ‘slow news’ day, week or even month?

Perhaps that was the problem that befell The Cambridge News last week when it was inadvertently sent to print without a headline on the front page – a mistake the editor put down to a “technical problem”.

There’s also a spoof video on YouTube that shows a pair of BBC newsreaders simply sitting at their desk with nothing to report on.

Of course, there’s no such thing as “no news”. There’s always something going on locally, nationally or internationally – it’s just not always immediately obvious. If you’re looking for something to report on and finding it difficult, here are some suggestions:

Hunt for events

If there’s nothing terribly headline-grabbing going on in your industry, there’s sure to be some sort of event related to it coming up. Why not write a news piece reporting that it’s going to happen, or turn it into a preview or feature, such as:

‘A look ahead to the Milk Bottle Top Convention 2018’

‘What can we expect from the International Curtain Rail Conference?’

‘Five things we’re most looking forward to at PilchardCon’

The trap you need to avoid falling into here is replicating the tone of event listing websites, many of which use promotional or salesy language like “amazing convention”, “spectacular displays” and (my pet hate) “…and much, much more!” If we’re being journalistic and newsy, we should avoid this sort of subjective language.

Change the angle

If you can’t find any news about your industry, perhaps you can find something from another industry and report it differently so that it becomes relevant to yours?

This is something regularly done by regional newspapers, who take national and international news and find a way to give it a local perspective. Take this Chester Chronicle story from July 2016. There seems no logical reason at all for a Chester news website to be running a story about an attack in a German town, except that the town in question is twinned with Ellesmere Port.

Create news yourself

Now, this doesn’t mean make something up, but given that you’re immersed in your industry, you’re probably noticing news and going through experiences that the media is not picking up on. This is ideal because it means you’re actually breaking a story yourself. You’re being a true journalist.

As an example, three months ago, my obsession with both Chester FC and the internet led me to spot something unusual going on with the applications to be manager of the club, so I wrote a piece with my own angle on it.

Similarly, our Technical Director Darren’s rants (sorry, blogs!) are usually about his recent observations and annoyances, and are ideal to develop into something readable and entertaining that at the same time makes a valid point.

It can often just take a segment of a news piece or event to provide a spark for a news or feature article. In fact, I’d say my inspiration for this piece came from the headline glitch by The Cambridge News and the idea of reporting on nothing, so maybe some good came of that particular gaffe after all.

John Murray

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.

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