Human Interest Pieces
Do you have a quirky, loyal customer? Is the story behind you starting your own business interesting? Adding a personal touch to the story behind your business is a great way to garner interest. Human Interest stories are more relatable and they put a face to your business, which makes you seem more real and approachable.
The expansion of a tailor’s shop isn’t likely to receive press attention unless the tailor is a refugee who braved a treacherous ocean crossing, learned a new language and worked 18-hour days before becoming successful. The best stories are injected with a human element.
React quickly to newsworthy events in your area in order to share in the media exposure.
It can be anything from a power failure, accident, robbery or whatever appears to be newsworthy and you can then use it to weave an interesting angle into it such as how the town ignored the many power outage complaints, the robots that don't work or about the negative effect, or rise of, crime in the area.
Community outreach stories usually get picked up because once again they garner interest from your local community. Giving back through volunteer work and charity organizations will spark a lot of interest in your community because it gives you the chance to explain why these organizations need help and what you are personally doing to help your community.
Do you have a story that is going with a local, political, social, or economic trend? Those stories are the most likely to get picked up.
Trending topics are especially newsworthy because it means a lot of people are talking about it. For your business, a story would be considered a trend if other businesses in your industry are also doing something similar to you.
The media won’t care about your restaurant’s new children’s menu, but they may be interested to hear about your innovative babysitting service, especially if you pitch your business as an evolving trend toward “family-friendly” businesses.
Note: it takes three or more to make a trend, so if you use this hook, be prepared to supply the names of two other businesses that are doing something similar. To avoid giving your competition publicity, look for businesses outside your field or geographic area.
On the flipside, has your business bucked a trend? A thriving privately owned pharmacy that delivers prescriptions to its customers in a region dominated by chain pharmacies is certainly newsworthy.
Is there an unusual angle to your business? Charles A. Dana was an American journalist whose editor had this to say about the value of novelty: “If a dog bites a man, it’s not news. If a man bites a dog, it’s news.” Find the humor or irony in your product.
Can you peg your story to a current event? A small furniture manufacturer appeared in the local news during O.J. Simpson’s trial because Judge Lance Ito special-ordered an ergonomically correct chair. Had he ordered the chair six months after the trial, the media wouldn’t have cared.
Is your business the biggest? The smallest? The first? The last? Every summer there’s a news story about drive-in movie theaters, simply because there are so few left.
Slice of Life
These are the stories that put the reader into someone else’s skin. A reporter may spend a hot August day in an ice-cream truck, and then write about the vendor’s experience.
Is your business doing something significant in your community that is different from everything else? Have you started a program for underprivileged youth? Are you donating a portion of your profits to a nonprofit or working with the activist groups to get something in your area changed?
Article versus Advertisements
Never confuse a news story with an advertisement so apply a bit of tough love.
The article MUST NOT read as an advertisement and focus exclusively on satisfying the reader's desire to read something interesting, useful or valuable.
Real credibility is given to a business when the story is well-rounded, fits into a trend and encompasses other businesses that relate to a “bigger picture” or viewpoint.
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