How to find minor news stories amid major ones

Posted on February 12, 2020

 

For many of our content clients, we find and write news stories to do with their industry on a regular basis – sometimes daily, sometimes every few days, and sometimes once a week or fortnight. News is always happening of course, so usually there’s plenty to work with.

What happens, however, when there’s a big story dominating a place or industry? Perhaps it’s a negative one, or something that just isn’t relevant to the client. How do you go about finding stories that are a bit more off the radar and a break from the big issue?

I ask this because many of our clients are based on the Wirral, and this normally fairly sleepy peninsula has found itself in the national news of late. This is because the area’s largest hospital, Arrowe Park, is currently being used to keep 93 people in quarantine as the country looks to keep the threat of coronavirus under control.

The result of this is that a Google News search for ‘Wirral’ currently brings up many results to do with coronavirus, and not a lot to do with anything else.

Unless you’re writing for the health sector, this story is unlikely to be one that has too much news potential for local businesses, so how can we narrow the results down to more suitable stories?

The easiest way to do it is to search for ‘Wirral -coronavirus’, which tells Google to omit stories containing the word ‘coronavirus’. That brings up a much more varied set of stories.

As you can see, the sixth story still manages to be about events at Arrowe Park, so you could consider adding ‘-quarantine’ or even ‘-arrowe’ to your search, although the latter could mean you miss out on other stories in the Arrowe Park area of Wirral that might not be connected.

Funnily enough, in the weeks before the quarantined individuals arrived, I was finding myself searching for ‘Wirral -snake’ a lot, because a story about a woman from Birkenhead finding a boa constrictor in her bathroom was dominating the local news. That probably says a lot about how little usually happens in this part of the world!

Another step you can take is to look for business developments or family events, both of which can be news and tend to happen all year round, regardless of what else is going on. As we write news for clients around the world, these are the steps we’ve often taken during crises like the recent bushfires in Australia, and in the wake of hurricanes in parts of the US like Florida, when other news understandably dries up.

Here at Engage Web, we have experience of finding relevant news and delivering it with a client-focused angle, even in challenging circumstances. To learn more about what we can do for your website in terms of content, and how it can increase traffic and enquiries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

John Murray

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