3 Places to Look for Story Ideas to Send the Media

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Picture your favorite publication. When was the last time, the front cover, headline, or leading story remained the same day after day? Never! The media’s job is to stay current on what is new. It’s the news after all.

Unfortunately, many small businesses trying their hand at PR will pitch the same story, the same way over and over again. This doesn’t work. Journalists and other types of media are looking for fresh stories. Writers, editors, publishers, and the like are known to have a constant flood of emails pouring into their inbox. If you want your story to stand out, you need to have new ideas to catch their interest.

And remember, PR is about the relationship you build. By establishing that your business has something relevant to say, you can build relationships with publications that come to rely on you for inspiration.

But before you can be their inspiration, let’s cover where YOU can get inspiration. Here are three areas you can turn to find fresh ways to pitch your business to the media.

Your Struggle, Your Inspiration, Your Story

Every business has a beginning—and typically this is one of the most interesting parts of your story.

Off the top of my head, I can count at least three movies depicting the beginning of major companies: The Founder (McDonald's), The Social Network (Facebook), and Steve Jobs (Apple). These are grand examples, but you don’t need to include Hollywood-level drama to pitch a founding story.

Think about why you started, how you took a risk, the challenges you faced in the beginning, and what you did to overcome them. People can relate to the desire to make a dream come true and there’s enough adversity in any founding story to be interesting.

But it doesn’t have to just be about taking a big leap. You can emphasize why you decided to start a business. This is a good chance to explain why consumers need your product or service. What was missing before that you offer? What is the problem that you have a solution for?

Just like we love a story about athletes who gave their all to win an Olympic gold, hearing about the conception, founding and triumph of a business is captivating.

Chime in on What’s Already Happening

Another strategy is to pitch your product or service to fit in a story the media is already planning to publish.

Holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Mother’s Day receive a lot of media attention around what to give someone. These are big opportunities to pitch your product or service for something like a “Top Gifts for Busy Moms” story.

You can also find relevant “fun” holidays like National Pizza Day, National Puppy Day or Scavenger Hunt Day (all real, I promise!). For more obscure holidays, it makes sense to pitch your business as how people can celebrate. So, if Scavenger Hunt Day is around the corner, let the media know the public can enter the scavenger hunt you have organized.

Seasons are also a good place to find inspiration. Think about how your product, service, or clientele are affected by seasonal trends. Fashion is the most obvious: “Spring Fashion Trends,” “Sleeveless Summer Must Haves,” “Best Scarves for Fall,” or “The Puffiest Winter Coats.” I’ve also seen restaurants that pitch comfort food in the winter and gyms that pitch beach body tips leading up to summer.

Whatever the holiday, season or trend, when your pitch is relevant, the media will thank you for bringing them great information to add to the stories already on their editorial calendar.

If It’s New, It’s News!

Always let the media know when you are opening a new location or coming out with a new product. Once you’ve put in the effort to make something like this happen, you should give your business a shot at getting media attention for it.

However, don’t expect your story to always be picked up. If it is, that’s great! But this kind of pitch serves another purpose: letting the media know that your business is coming up with new ideas and staying current. Pitching your new products, services and locations is an appropriate way to capture the mind space of the media. That way, the next time they are writing a story where you are relevant, they know that you have something to contribute.