Public diplomacy programmes with the goal to enhance a country’s reputation and image abroad have become wide-spread practice, also among small states with little geopolitical relevance. News media ofer one of the most important platforms of their implementation. But do small states have the leeway to successfully implement their communication strategies on a global scale? Are media-based public diplomacy strategies even an option for those cases? This study assesses these questions based on international media resonance of states. Relating to the theoretical approach of country news value literature, a comparative research design is implemented. It analyses news coverage on the three German-speaking countries Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, performing a multi-level automated text analysis of 11,513 news media articles in Arabic. In accordance with existing empirical and theoretical contributions, it is shown that high-status states have more resonance-based leeway. Nevertheless, media resonance-based leeway of smaller states with lower status is caused diferently, i.e. by their political, rather than their economic or military power.