storytelling, story, newsworthy, mobile storytelling, content marketing

Last January, I adopted two kittens who were living under the doorstep at my office. One of my co-workers had been caring for the kittens, and when I decided to adopt them, she asked if I would keep her in the loop on how they were doing.

So, I did. For me, that included lots of photos and even videos.


Mid-March, I met her teenage son for the first time. As they walked out of my office, I heard him ask, “Is that the lady who’s always talking about her cats.”

Yes, even without children, I had become the oversharing parent. We think because something has impacted our world, others MUST also appreciate it.

As hard as it can be to accept, other people may not care about what we care about. But if you look at potential stories through the right lens, you’ll be off to a much better start when trying to engage your audience.

Even though many stories today aren’t affiliated with a newsroom, I give you “The Seven Elements of Newsworthiness”—a tried and true, very effective lens with which to view your audience so you don’t become “that lady who’s always talking about her cats.”

1) Impact

People want to know how a story is going to affect them. What consequences will be suffered if they don’t take action on your issue? How can they improve their lives by buying your product or service?

2) Timeliness

It’s called news for a reason—because it’s new information. The more recent your information, the more likely people will find it of interest. In today’s age of internet immediacy, this is even truer than it used to be.

3) Proximity

Although the internet is breaking this one down, to some degree, but we are still more likely to care about something down the street than across the world.

4) Human Interest

This is one of the most broad categories, and also one of my favorite. These are stories that show something about the human condition. From rags to riches stories, experiential pieces and the like are things that make us feel very strong emotions, they make us smile or laugh, derive purpose and meaning or want to help others.

5) Conflict

Fight! Fight! Fight! It’s in our nature to gravitate toward conflict. Just think of how much “news” comes out of every single election—A versus B is a simple conflict to report, and we always want to know who’s going to come out on top.

6) The Bizarre

Two words. Octo Mom. Anything with shock value might seem like click bait, but sure enough, we will keep on clicking!

7) Celebrity

Whenever something happens to someone important or semi-famous, we tend to care more about it because these people seem special to us, and we feel like—to some extent—we know them.

I am proud to say I have only a select handful of kitten photos or videos since that day in March.