If you want you or your product to have exposure in the news, then you need to be an avid consumer of the news. Both your local and national news are excellent sources of story ideas to pitch to journalists on your media list.
By using what’s already in the news as your inspiration for media stories, you have a better chance of coming up with topics that are already relevant and interesting — in other words, newsworthy.
Here are three examples of how you can get story ideas from the news:
1. Find a local angle to national news.
Can you provide a local angle to a hot national news item? If so, turn that into a media pitch or press release, and send it to your media list.
Journalists, particularly those who cover your city, state/province or region, know they cannot compete with big news outlets when covering national topics. That’s why they’re always on the lookout for local angles of national news.
For instance, everybody’s talking about bullying in schools and on the Internet. If you’ve been giving presentations to local schools about online safety, then you’re in a good position to give your thoughts and opinions on the topic. And if you have local statistics or anecdotal reports, then that would be of interest to your local journalists as well. You can also use your local experience to compare and contrast the situation of teens in your city, compared to the rest of the country.
2. Zero in on problems your product/program or service addresses.
Watch out for situations, concerns or problems discussed in the news that your business can help alleviate, whether directly or indirectly.
If your city papers have been carrying stories about a possible bed bug infestation in a local mall, and your business happens to be bug extermination, then you obviously make a good expert for journalists to interview.
However, you can also be a good resource if you’re a naturopathic healer (offer to discuss how bed bugs can harm people’s health), or an early childhood educator (offer to provide a list of alternative family activities rather than going to the mall).
3. Disagree with what’s popular.
Do you have a different take on a popular thinking about a particular topic? Pitch your opposing view to the media. They like to show different sides of a story to boost their objectivity.
Of course, you need to be prepared with a solid argument and proof to back your view.
Many issues are not black-and-white, but are rather many shades of gray. Let your opinion be one of those that are heard.
Here’s an example: The news have been criticizing lunch menus in schools. You believe parents have a bigger role when it comes to establishing healthy eating habits. You can create a media pitch about how parents can instill and sustain healthy food choices — even when their children’s schools don’t.
These are just three possible ways you can find story ideas from watching the news. It takes a little bit of thought and creativity, but with constant practice, you’ll soon be a pro at mining the news for topics to pitch. Need more ideas? Read this post on the types of stories that get you free publicity.
What’s Your Take?
How did you like this post? Do you have any other ideas for getting story inspiration from the news?
Image from Yuri Arcurs Website
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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