How to Uncover News Story Ideas at Your Organization
Of course you’re proud of your organization. Whether you’re a business owner, non-profit director or any kind of leader in your organization, you want to tell the world about the great work you do and you think media stories are the way to do it.
But, just because you think something is worthy of being covered in the newspaper doesn’t mean that journalists will agree.
If you want to get more media coverage for your brand, you need to learn how to uncover story ideas and interesting angles that reporters will be interested in.
6 Types of News Stories and How to Find Them
To help you get started, here are some ideas of possible news stories, along with some questions to ask to help you find these stories within your organization.
1. Hard News Stories
Hard news provides timely and relevant information to the public about recent developments and announcements. Hard news stories are best when accompanied by solid facts – data, dates, etc.
To identify “hard news” stories, ask yourself these kinds of questions:
- What is something new that your business is doing – expansions, new product lines, hiring, etc.
- Is your company launching something new that has an impact on your community or industry?
2. Human Interest Stories & Features
Features and human-interest stories showcase the people and characteristics that make your company interesting and unique.
These stories are often considered “evergreen,” which means they can run any day and still be relevant – it doesn’t necessarily have to be today.
To identify good soft news stories, look for things such as:
- Employees, clients, patrons or members who have interesting stories (veterans, local celebrities, personal stories about beating the odds to succeed, an interesting hobby or expertise, etc.)
- Interesting partnerships/alliances with community organizations
Events are a good way to get media attention, because they are a one-time instance that occurs at a specific date, time and location. The event must be unique and somewhat rare. It should require enough work that you don’t want to do it again for another year. Free events gain the most attention.
Here are some ideas for events that may be of interest to the media:
- Community/Resource Fair
- Teaching a class in your area of expertise
- New office opening or ribbon cutting
- Live performances
- Children’s events (these are always popular!)
4. Trends and Data
Trends are a good way to establish yourself as an expert, but you must have data to back up your ideas. Keep your eyes open for interesting trends in your business or you could conduct your own study or analysis to showcase what’s happening in your industry.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are all of my customers/clients asking for the same thing all of a sudden?
- Am I seeing more of a specific type of client?
- Is there an unusual trend happening in your business or industry that you didn’t expect or that goes against conventional wisdom?
5. Expert Advice
If you are an expert on a subject, but there isn’t an opportunity to do a story on that subject right now, you can offer yourself to the media as an expert.
Prepare some data or anecdotes as evidence of your expertise, such as being cited in a study, documented success in your field, winning an award or a leadership appointment. Send that evidence to your media contacts with all of your contact information so a reporter can call you the next time he needs an expert on your particular topic.
Another option is to become a columnist or guest blogger for publications. This works especially well if you are already producing content on your own company blog and can showcase your abilities as a writer and expert on the topic.
Think about any topics you know like the back of your hand. It should be something specific, not just “real estate” or “websites.”
6. Human Resource Announcements
Human resources announcements are short news items that demonstrate the health and viability of your business. Oftentimes, there are special protocols you must follow to submit this information. But, if you follow those rules, it can mean guaranteed coverage for your brand.
Look for these things and make sure to submit them when you have them:
- New employees/hires
- Office expansions
In our next installment, we’ll offer up a 12-step recipe for achieving media success once you’ve determined your best story.
How do you find story ideas within your organization that reporters will love?
Jan has joined the Blue Kite Marketing team as Public Relations Director. She has 10 years of experience managing PR efforts for non-profit and for-profit companies across the country. Before she was our media relations maven, Jan led PR strategy for Nashville Ballet. Though she currently lives in California, she always roots for her University of Missouri Tigers and visits Nashville every chance she gets. You can connect with Jan on Twitter at @janpmorrison or LinkedIn.