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10 Tips for Seductive Story Angles

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The secret to becoming a media darling is to go the extra mile–research every show or publication before you send your pitch, and give it a targeted, relevant, timely, meaty story by using these 10 tips:

1. Begin your day by brainstorming with the daily paper. Get into the habit of reading your city paper with a notebook and pen in hand. Scan the headlines of each section and ask yourself, “What is in the news today that ties in with what I want to promote?”

2. Take advantage of media frenzy surrounding a juicy scandal. Janet Jackson got millions of dollars of free publicity from her stunt during the Super Bowl. When a big scandal breaks, see if you can use it as a news hook for promoting your book.

3. Read financial indices daily. Every single day, statistics change. Stocks go up or down. Interest rates fluctuate, or “threaten to fluctuate.” Consider ways you can use this activity for a news hook.

4. Use surveys to craft solid story ideas. The media views quantitative data as newsworthy, accurate, and sidebar-friendly. Launch a survey, or piggyback on survey results that relate to your industry to create a strong story.

5. Listen to questions your clients and customers ask you. Are you suddenly hearing lots of people asking the same question? A trend may be starting that you can tie into.

6. Read trade publications to spot industry trends. What is the buzz in your trade publications? W Ashare the new developments in your field? Use your access to this information to shape a story.

7. Find story ideas in the course of your daily routine. Keep a notebook and pay attention to story-worthy events that pop up in the course of your day. You’ll be surprised at how many arise.

8. Listen to comedians on cable and late-night talk shows for inspiration. Comedians and late-night talk show hosts (or their writers) have their fingers on the pulse of trends to which everyone can relate. How can you hitch your book to them?

9. Give evergreen stories topical new twists. Have you noticed that weight-loss articles fill newspapers and magazines every January and tax tips abound in March? Editors have a pressing need for evergreen stories, but they demand fresh twists that are relevant to their audiences. A “top 10” list of tips is always welcome.

10. Work with holidays. Create a story angle by tying in with regular holidays or with a little-known but highly relevant holiday that you find in Chase’s Directory of Events. You can even make up your own special day and get publicity for it. Did you know that mayors will sometimes sign proclamations for these observances?

Media folk will respond favorably when you save them work and put a story together for them.

This article is based on Marisa D’Vari’s new book, Building Buzz: How to Reach and Impress Your Target Audience (Career Press 2005). Access a free related special report and other publicity-related articles and tips at www.BuildingBuzz.com.

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