With a track record of turning $1,000 into a billion-dollar business and investing in over 80 businesses to date, Shark Tank Investor Barbara Corcoran knows more than a thing or two about what it takes to increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience. It may be helpful for entrepreneurs and industry experts to take note when Corcoran tweets, “The most effective way to build a brand is not by spending $$$ in advertising, but by finding a clever way to keep your name in the press.”
The most effective way to build a brand is not by spending $$$ in advertising, but by finding a clever way to keep your name in the press.
— Barbara Corcoran (@BarbaraCorcoran) July 4, 2016
Here are six story angles to help you pitch media and get free press for your business:
In the media world “newsjacking,” a term coined by David Meerman Scott, is the art and science of injecting your thoughts into a breaking news story so you and your ideas get noticed.
In 2019, the release of Popeye’s widely celebrated chicken sandwich trended in the news for weeks. Major online publications, TV News outlets, and experts took advantage of social shares and online traffic by using newsjacking to draw attention to their brands.
- Adweek: “What the Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich Can Teach Us About Going Viral and Connecting With Communities.”
- Fox 17: “Nashville: Anger management specialist speaks out after violent incidents at mid-state Popeye’s.”
- Inc.com: “Chick-fil-A Just Turned an Embarrassing Email Into a First Class Lesson in Overcoming a Cringe-worthy Mistake. Plus they gained a little free publicity in the process.”
What’s Broken, Overrated or Overlooked in Your Industry
As the CEO of a company or industry expert, pitching your business or brand is not about you. It’s about turning your story into value for a media outlet’s audience.
For instance, instead of explaining, why you started your business; explain why the world needs your company or brand to exist. What’s broken in the lives of your audience? What or who is overlooked in your field? Why does it matter? Why does it matter, right now? This story angle is an opportunity for you to demonstrate thought leadership.
Connect Your Expertise, or Offerings to a Calendar Theme
Beyond bank holidays and major religious holidays, there’s a national day or month to celebrate almost everything including equal pay day, national margarita day, national dog day, small business month, etc. Use the calendar as your guide to market your brand and pitch timely story ideas. Consider answering the following questions:
- What holidays are relevant to your business? What times of year have particular importance in your industry?
- For instance, for an accountant, Jan. 1 through April 15 is tax season. This is a perfect opportunity to pitch “How to’s” and preparation tips to relevant media outlets.
Your Perspectives About Industry Trends and Generally Accepted Principles and Processes
Challenge the status quo on generally accepted processes and principles in your industry:
- What’s a common yet overcomplicated process in your field?
- What’s your unique solution for simplifying things?
- How have you simplified an overcomplicated process, which makes people’s lives easier?
A Compelling Customer Success Story
Stories sell, especially about people transforming. When pitching your business, consider your “before” and “after” stories. These types of stories not only tug at people’s heartstrings, but they also inspire people to share with their friends, change their behavior or mindset, and take action.
Your Perspectives Regarding Survey Results
Connect your business, brand, or expertise to recent survey results. For instance, nearly every year, a survey is released regarding women in the workplace, business trends, plant-based diets, climate change, and meat-free holidays. So let’s say you’re a Vegan chef who discovers this survey conducted by market research firm Dynata, “Almost 30% of Americans are Willing to Consider Going Without Turkey This Thanksgiving. You could pitch this relevant story angle to a media outlet: “Vegan Thanksgiving recipes for the 30% of Americans Who are Willing to Consider Going Without Turkey.”
Here’s another thing, don’t forget to pitch popular bloggers and podcast hosts. According to Nielsen, press mentions are the third most trusted form of advertising and the most credible advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust — right now these are bloggers, vloggers, and podcast hosts you follow every day.