We all know that getting coverage in the media is good for business. However knowing that and doing something about it are two very different things. Journalists get hundreds of stories across their desk each day. How do you know what makes a good story and how to make yours stand out over the others?
The experts can look at an organisation and find aspects that will make great stories the media will love. As a business owner you need to learn how to look at your business from an outsider’s point of view and decide what areas of your business others want to know about.
Take the time to research what topics your potential clients are interested in, and where they get their information from. There is no guarantee that when you send a story idea to a journalist they are going to run with it. However you have a much better chance if you go the extra mile – research every show or publication before you send your pitch, and give it a targeted, relevant, timely story.
Here are some tips that will help you develop those story ideas that will help promote your business right now:
Read the daily paper
This sounds really obvious, but get into the habit of reading newspaper (online or printed). Scan the headlines of each section and ask yourself, “What is in the news today that ties in with what I want to promote?”
Read your publications you want your story in
Reading through the publications you want to be featured in will give you a good idea about what angles they are looking for, and what sections they are have. Once you have figured out their agenda, you can either pitch in stories or write articles for the specific sections.
Use surveys to craft story ideas
The media views quantitative data as newsworthy, accurate, and sidebar-friendly. Launch a survey, or piggyback on survey results that relate to your industry to create a strong story. If you are launching your own survey ensure it has enough respondents to make it useable.
Listen to questions your clients and customers ask you
Are you suddenly hearing lots of people asking the same question? If you are on Twitter are you noticing a trending topic that relates to your business? A trend may be starting that you can tie into and make comment on to targeted journalists or blogs.
Read trade publications to spot industry trends
What is the buzz in your trade publications? Are their new developments in your field that you can provide comment on or develop in a story angle? Use your access to this information and expertise in your industry to shape a story. This is a great way of building profile within your industry and peers.
Give evergreen stories topical new hooks
Have you noticed that New Year’s resolution articles fill newspapers and magazines every January and tax tips abound in March? Editors always have a need for evergreen stories, but need fresh twists and hooks that are relevant to their audiences. A “top ten” list of tips is always welcome.
Create your own special day
Create a story angle by tying in with regular holidays or with a little-known but highly relevant holiday. You can even make up your own special day or week and get publicity for it. For example ING DIRECT launched Savings Week 2009 to link their bank with saving. Charities have days such as Jeans for Genes Day and the Cancer Council Daffodil Day.