In this three-part series, we will guide you through the process of uncovering stories that will resonate with the media, explain how to find the right media contacts for your unique story, offer tips for working with the media, discuss the importance of timing, and outline the do’s and don’ts of writing a great pitch. Part I explores what makes a great story.
Even though gut-wrenching and frightening COVID-19 stories dominate the media, there’s also a strong appetite for stories of hope, inspiration, creativity, and even humor as long as it’s carefully presented. After all, we’re all stuck at home and consuming more news, TV, radio, podcasts, and online information than ever before.
From a story about a chef using sourdough starter to build community to a feature on recovering from an eating disorder while in self-isolation, well-crafted, powerful stories are still very much in demand.
So how do you, as a business owner, expert or entrepreneur get your story covered by the media? The first step is to understand what makes a good story. According to this presentation from the Atlantic, the elements of a good story include conflict and tension, the ability to entertain and inspire, honesty and grace, and vulnerability.
Other elements, highlighted in this article, can include emotion, relatability, vivid detail, relevance and relatability, and something unanticipated.
As a business owner, your story doesn’t have to only be about the products or services you offer. It can be about your struggles, challenges, and triumphs. You can offer words of wisdom and support for others. You can recount the failures that you’ve learned from or how you’re pivoting and shifting your business strategy in light of this new environment.
Perhaps you’ve created an entirely new product to meet the demands of this new world we are living in like Republic Restoratives, a distillery that is now making hand sanitizer. Or maybe you’re helping the community like the restaurants profiled in this article from Food Tank. Or perhaps you’ve cleverly added a virtual component to your existing offerings, like Murray’s Cheese did with their virtual cheese classes.
A good old-fashioned brainstorming session can help draw out those stories. You can enlist your friends and family to help you brainstorm. Or take a socially distant walk to get your creative ideas flowing. We’re also available to help you brainstorm and strategize.
No matter what your story is, always keep your target audience in mind. Are you trying to appeal to a broad consumer audience or an audience of your industry peers? What are their needs? How can your story help them through this difficult time?
Then, consider the story’s format. Does the story lend itself to a “how-to” type of piece or is it more of a personal narrative or profile? Perhaps you could pitch your idea as part of a larger trend story or round up of products and services.
Once you’ve landed on a few story ideas, it’s time to get down to identifying the right outlets and reporters for your story. If you already have existing relationships with a few reporters, you’ll be ahead of the game. For everyone else, this phase, which we will cover in Part II is mostly about research and knowing where to find the right contacts, so stay tuned.
In Part II of this series, we’ll look at the best ways to research outlets and reporters, when and how to use social media to connect with journalists, and the importance of good timing. Need to have your pitch critiqued or revised? Get in touch with us here or sign up for a 1:1 Zoom PR and marketing strategy session here.