In my ongoing series, I’m attempting to help you better understand how to get featured in the Business Record.
All my advice builds off some of the premises I outlined in my first piece, so if you haven’t had a chance to read it, click here.
If you remember, I’m giving a variety of dos and don’ts when dealing with our staff, making story pitches and sending press releases. My first three pieces of advice: Don’t order a news pizza; Do know our audience; Do understand who we serve.
Once you understand those three pieces, I think one of the areas that can best put you in position to be featured in the Business Record, is understanding what types of stories we are looking for.
And to do that, you need to understand both our mission and that it’s not about you.
DO: Understand our mission
Our mission, is to help businesses do business better. Every time we judge a story pitch, decide on the topic for an event or make a call to launch a new product, we simply ask, “Does it help businesses do business better?”
If you keep this informal motto in mind when you are preparing to give a story pitch, it can help you better understand what makes for a compelling story, which ultimately increases the likelihood that a reporter or editor will jump at writing a story.
It also helps you best frame your story pitch, which leads us to...
DO: Understand that it’s not about you
Most commonly, we get a story pitch that goes something like this:
“I run a unique manufacturing business that utilizes a new form of 3-D printing, and we are doing well, and want to tell everyone how great we are doing. We have an interesting story to share with the business community!”
We rarely will feature a business just to feature a business, because frankly, and this might sound harsh, while the news is important to you, you likely have an inflated view of your news.
It’s only natural. You want to share your successes and good news. And many times the news really is interesting, but likely it’s of more interest to members of your own business. It might matter to you, but does it matter to everyone else?
Remember who we serve. And, remember our mission.
As a reporter or editor, I’m going to ask myself why your company’s story matters to everybody else in the business community. And I’m going to ask why telling the community your story is going to help other businesses do business better.
The simple fact that your company says it is doing well likely doesn't affect our audience’s careers and businesses.
But a small change in the framing of your pitch so that it isn't about you, can go a long way.
For example: “I run a unique manufacturing business that utilizes a new form of 3-D printing. A number of firms around the country have been experimenting with this, and there are a number of things businesses should be aware about this new trend of 3-D printing, both now and into the future. The trend of 3-D printing is coming to Iowa, and we think it would be a good topic for the business community to be educated on.”
See the difference? This pitch was delivered in a way that makes it a story about a trend that could impact the wider business community, and, oh, by the way, we have expertise in this arena that we could lend to a story.
This does three things. One, you’ve provided for the editor/reporter the answer to the question of why our audience should care.
Two, you’ve likely ensured that if we do a story on this topic, you’ll be a source. Yes, we might not be end up doing a full profile of your business, but we do utilize the people we hear story ideas from. We go back to that business and ask them questions, and there is a good chance you and your business will be featured as a prominent source in that story.
And three, you’ve positioned yourself to our newsroom as a potential expert and source to utilize in future stories.
So, before you make that next story pitch, remember, it’s not about you. Just ask yourself – “How can my story help other businesses do business better?”
If you make your pitch about helping others, there is a greater chance the story, while not about you, will feature you.