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How to change a news story’s angle to suit your audience


How to change a news story’s angle to suit your audience

Something we have plenty of experience in here at Engage Web is finding relevant news stories for our clients’ industries. The process usually starts by visiting sources we know to be reliable and searching Google News for keywords to do with the client.

You can’t always expect a nice, usable news story to be presented to you though, and it’s often not enough to simply take a story another source has written and put it into your own words. Sometimes, you need to do some work to tailor it around the target audience.

It’s best if we use an example to illustrate this. Let’s imagine you’re a plumber whose target audience is homeowners. Your website, and the blog on it, are primarily there to attract the domestic market, and encourage homeowners to give YOU a call or email about their leaking tap or malfunctioning shower.

Let’s say you’ve seen this article from the industry website PHAMnews.co.uk, in which plumbers are advised to take steps to assure customers they are following COVID-19 guidelines and working in a safe way.

The article is potentially something your audience would find interesting, useful and reassuring, but what you should remember is that your website and PHAMnews are targeting a different reader. PHAMnews is a website for plumbers and installers of heating and air conditioning units. You, on the other hand, are running a website for people who need these services, not people who provide them.

It’s therefore not really enough to just regurgitate the tone of the PHAMnews article. Your audience, being a homeowner, doesn’t need to be told what “homeowners need” as though they are the third party in the discussion. They will already know what they need, and want to know what you are doing to meet these needs. That means PHAMnews’ headline “Homeowners need COVID reassurance from installers” would be a fairly poor one if mimicked on your blog.

So, you need to change the angle. Flip the focus to tell the reader not what customers want from installers, but what installers are doing to address the demands of customers. Some ideas for a more suitable title could be:

“Plumbing industry acts to reassure customers of COVID compliance”

“How is the plumbing industry keeping practices COVID safe?”

This isn’t changing the basics of the story. It’s not making up or misrepresenting news, it’s simply altering the angle of it to make it of more interest to the target audience.

Something of a hot potato in news writing is the concept of editorialising, or presenting news in a way that gives your opinion rather than simply reports it. Journalistically, it’s a no-no, but as it’s your blog and you may be trying to write in a persuasive way, you may wish to provide some opinion or context. You might go on to describe what you are doing in relation to the story as a business, and end with a call to action.

As you can see, when blog writing, finding relevant news and sources is only half the job, so it makes sense to outsource content writing to trained writers and editors as part of a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of this, why not contact Engage Web?

John Murray

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