I don’t think there is any business owner or entrepreneur who wouldn’t love to have a great story about their business on the news or featured in the local newspaper. Everyone wants media coverage, but sometimes, attracting a journalist to cover your story can be tough. Journalists receive tons of story pitches every single day. And depending on the type of publication they work for, they may also regularly be assigned stories to cover. That means it’s going to take some creativity, along with proper planning, to get your story covered in any news publication. Too many people dive into attracting media coverage haphazardly. What I mean is, they don’t have a plan. While you may have heard stories, or even know someone who was able to get news coverage without much work on their part, that usually doesn’t happen, and really may not be the whole story.
Successfully attracting media coverage occurs most often when someone pitches a perfectly timed creative pitch to the right reporter. In this blog post, I want to focus on the creative aspect of your pitch.
Disclaimer: Even though we are focusing on the actual story idea today, I want you to remember that the most successful pitches are appropriately timed. It is not good business etiquette to pitch a reporter a story you’d like to get covered that week. If you really want to ensure that it gets covered, let them know about it about 2 to 3 weeks in advance, with a week of reminder. This will help them be able to plan effectively to cover your story. And in the event that they won’t be able to cover it, they may be able to tell you who can.
Now, here are 9 Creative Story Ideas to Attract Media Coverage to Your Business
1. Historic Events
These stories are great because everyone can relate and understand how and why they are important. From 100 year birthdays to 5 years in business celebrations, historic events are easily newsworthy. If you’ve been able to hire 10 new employees in a year, you have 3 generations of a family running a business, or you’ve served your 100,000th customer, these types of stories are attractive to reporters.
2. First Ever
If you are the first to ever do something, lead with that when pitching to a reporter. If you were the first to offer a product or service, the first one in your family to start a business or the first to figure out how to solve a problem, that is a very newsworthy story. Remember pitching is all about recognizing your uniqueness.
3. Write a Book or Ebook
Writing a book or an ebook on a topic that is relevant to your industry will set you apart as a leader in your field. There may be reporters who would be interested in either interviewing you or review the book. Either way, this is a great way to get your story covered by a reporter.
4. Compile Data
Compiling data, analyzing it, and identifying trends is a great way to get a press mention, especially if you publish and promote it correctly. Depending on what industry you’re in this can be useful information for your local news outlets, but also for industry journals and professional publications as well. Just make sure your conclusions are accurate.
5. Embrace Your Weirdness
Is there something that makes your business weird or unique? Embrace it and tell the world. There’s a story of a jewelry store owner in Wisconsin that received news coverage because he thought the world was coming to an end soon and incorporated it into a commercial. Whatever your weird thing is, embrace it and then use it to sell your business.
6. Explain How Your Business is an Anomaly
Are you going against a trend? Growing exponentially while other businesses in your industry are scaling back? Do you use an environmentally friendly version of a product that isn’t really popular in your industry yet? If there is something that makes your business unusual use that to attract media coverage to your business?
7. Offer a new product or service
If you’ve been thinking about expanding and offering a new product and service offering this is a great way to attract news coverage for your business, especially for local outlets. Growth is always great, especially in times when so few businesses do it. Be creative with your expansion, throw a party to celebrate. Maybe you’re going to be opening up a new location. Even better! Be sure to pitch your expansion in enough time so that the reporter can schedule your story around her deadlines and other responsibilities.
8. Relate it to a national news story
If you and/or your business can somehow relate to a local news story that immediately becomes an ideal story to cover. You’ve seen it before. There’s a natural disaster in Florida, and your local news station features someone who’s mom still lives there. Or the national newspapers have been talking about women in entrepreneurship, and then there’s a story on a woman who uses the women’s small business bureau for advice and resources and has seen her business quadruple. While that woman may be an excellent entrepreneur, you should also know that it was her proximity to the news (people have heard of the small business bureau) and her ability to relate to national news that helped her get covered on the news.
9. Emotional Stories
There aren’t a lot of them, but if you have a great one you could be the one story that day that’s heart warming. Most media outlets try to publish at least one per publication (ie: daily for daily publications or weekly for weekly outlets). Pulling on people’s heartstrings is a tried and true way to get featured in the news. Think of all the lost puppies found, soldiers coming home, and miracle baby stories. They pull on your heart strings, make you want to cry, and don’t make you want to turn off the news. If you have a particularly heartwarming story, pitch that to the reporters you know and see if they bite.
Whether you’re just getting started in business or have been around for some time, getting press coverage can be tough. But if you use these story ideas to brainstorm ways you could attract media coverage, I know that you can do it.