Finding the Story in the Ordinary

Jen Van Ee, Director of Client Success, flipping through a magazine.

The best writers can make something out of nothing. Look at Dr. Seuss, he did it and even made it rhyme. “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish” – GENIUS. As public relations specialists, we may not be great at the whole rhyming thing, but we are good at making the seemingly un-newsworthy, newsworthy. We can’t give away all our secrets, but we will offer some advice on finding the story in the ordinary.

Be a know it all…sort of

Writing in the PR world is all about taking mass amounts of technical (and sometimes dry) information, condensing it, and creating something that’s understandable, and most importantly engaging. Learn everything you can about the subject, determine goals (why tell the story?) before even thinking about reaching out to the media. If you take one piece of advice from this blog, make it this one – knowing what you’re talking about will 100% make a difference in your ability to make something ordinary, extraordinary. If people are confused by what you write, than you are failing.

Aim Before You Shoot

So, you have the story. Now what? First, identify the intended audience and the reporter who would be interested in the pitch. Whether you are focused nationally or locally, it has to be relevant to the publication. The more relevant you can make a piece to the intended audience, the more successful it will be. We know we sound bossy, but our track record speaks for itself.

Be Authentic

Think to yourself, “would I be interested in this?” If the answer is no, you are probably attacking the story from the wrong angle. As a PR writer, we have to make the story interesting, relevant and creative, or the media will never pick it up.

Example: If you’re hosting a charity 5k, don’t just announce the date, time, and location in the lead of your release. Instead, paint a picture and make people want to read past the first sentence. We aren’t saying the logistical details of the release aren’t important. They are, but they are exactly that: DETAILS. Without a good hook, the person reading would have no reason to read further. The story isn’t a 5k. Those are a dime a dozen. The story is why the race is happening. Is it a fundraiser for orphaned children? You need to tell little Bobby’s story, and why dollars are needed to give all the Bobbys in the world a chance.

Pull on the heart strings. It will grab the attention of the reporter and give them a reason to care about what you have to say.

Extra Advice

You didn’t ask but we’re super helpful. A media pitch should never be “one size fits all.” In fact, it’s like Cinderella and her glass slipper. It’s got to be the perfect fit. When pitching to the media, create a pitch that’s specific to the reporter or outlet you’re sending it to. If you’re writing about sports, don’t send your pitch to a reporter who covers politics. Use your head and send them a personalized message that piques their interest and shows you know your shit.

Ready to work with a team that can make your story shine? Reach out to us. We’d love to grab a drink and talk about your business’ story.

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