One of the most common questions journalists get asked is ‘where do you get all your stories from?’ Generating story ideas is a reporter’s bread and butter and these days it’s also an essential skill for the content marketer. Today, the Brand Newsroom chats with longtime reporter (and content marketer) Dan Hatch about how to generate article ideas like a journalist.
Here are some key take-outs
- You’re never starting with a blank sheet of paper. News is always happening. You just need to work out what the angle is that suits your brand and that your audience will find interesting.
- Open the paper. Open Google. Open Twitter’s Trending Topics. These places will tell you what people are talking about.
“Go away and ask people in your own team, in your own business. They’re the greatest resource when it comes to generating ideas”. — Nic
- Run an editorial calendar. Keep an eye on the events that are coming up — be it a holiday, an International Day of Whatever-it-is, or even the new season of Game of Thrones You can plan great and relevant content well in advance because you know these are things people will be talking about down the track.
“Your clients may not realise the really good stories they’re sitting on either because they don’t have the editorial experience, or ‘news sense’, or they’re too close to it and they just don’t see it”. — Dan
- Use your curiosity, use your contacts. Make sure your articles are a two-way street. Invite feedback. Get people bringing stories to you, but don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions because curiosity is a fantastic way to find really interesting story ideas.
- Use social media to interact with your audience. You should be following influencers. If you begin to understand what’s important to your influencers, you’ll have so much opportunity to get them to comment on your stories, appear on your podcast, appear in your video series, etc.
“I keep a folder with original research, survey results, and so on – these are coming out all through the year. If you go back and really mine through those, you can draw so many stories from them — beyond the headline figures”. — Sarah
Here are the links you might need
- Here’s a blog post by Dan Hatch explaining where journalists get their ideas. There are a lot more tips for generating story ideas there.
- Here’s another post by Dan talking about the importance of value-adding on your editorial offering if you want to grow your audience.
Have you heard the one about…
Recently Dan joined James, Sarah and Nic to talk about managing editorial workflow.
And here’s a discussion with reporter Simon Holt about how to pitch to journalists.
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