Thursday, April 26

Selecting Stories: Content Editors

Story selection is never easy. Yesterday, there were dozens of news releases (on the wire and in our e-mail) and hundreds of stories in the news about companies working to raise funds for nonprofit organizations and worthwhile causes.

From this ocean of news, we settle on a single story every work day on our other blog. I thought it might be worthwhile to share why we selected yesterday's story at the National Business Community Blog (NBCB) as a glimpse into story selection.

While not all stories are chosen for the same reasons, we picked up on the BMW of North America's online auction to occupy the 18th man position on the BMW ORACLE Racing yacht because it is an excellent example of creative, non-traditional fundraising and exposure to benefit a worthwhile cause.

The prize is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Valencia, Spain, where the winning bidder will occupy the 18th man position on the BMW ORACLE Racing yacht during the fourth race of the Louis Vuitton Cup Semifinals on May 18. If the BMW ORACLE Racing team wins and advances to the finals, they will take the 18th man position to race with the team in the America's Cup finals.

The benefactor of the auction is the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer. (It's important to me because my grandmother, who raised me for many years, died of cancer when she was 59.) While she did not have breast cancer, it is my hope that every cancer cure will eventually lead to the eradication of all cancer.

That was not the only reason to highlight the good work BMW is doing. While smaller businesses might not have what really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it demonstrates how partnering with companies like eBay and organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure can make a difference.

The story is business focused. The primary objective of the blog is to share how businesses are helping non-profit organizations and encouraging volunteer efforts. It is our hope other businesses of all sizes will be inspired to duplicate these ideas.

The idea can be duplicated. Almost any business can partner with a local media outlet (or even eBay), a nonprofit organization, and, perhaps, other businesses to host an auction or even a drawing for any number of causes. That makes it a best practice, in my opinion. (eBay frequently teams with companies and charities to make this happen).

The story is somewhat unique. While businesses do not have to own a yacht or racing team to gain attention or be creative, this auction item is especially unique. It is a one-of-a-kind experience. That helps it stand out.

The release is well written. While it is not a criteria, it certainly helps us quickly share the news rather than rewriting it or attempting to follow up with the company. Unfortunately, we don't have unlimited resources to do more so better releases play a role. (The release does not over-promote the company either).

The cause is worthwhile. While there are many worthwhile causes, we usually focus those that provide a direct benefit. Susan G. Komen The Cure is a fine example. Local charities are fine too; size is less important than benefits provided.

For a different blog or publication, we might set different criteria, which addresses the importance of knowing the publication or blog a public relations firm might contact with a story. But for the NBCB, we keep it pretty simple.

In the days ahead, I might provide a more general list of what mainstream media frequently considers news, but in this case, it seemed a very specific selection process might be more useful.

If you want to learn more about this auction, this link will be active through April 30. I look forward to seeing how much is raised.



Rich on 4/26/07, 3:06 PM said...

Famous Bids:

The bid for 18th seat stands at just over $40,000.


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