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Part 2 -
Creating a Media Blitz - Brainstorming for your own fresh angles

John Alexander

News is similar to photography in the same sense that you can achieve some great results based on your original angle, vantage point or your viewpoint. 

Here are a few simple tips to help you brainstorm for your own new, fresh, original angles for news:

1. Consider approaching your news story from a reverse approach to what others are doing.

This reminds me of a photo I recently saw taken by a photographer grabbing a photo of the winner of a thirteen million dollar lottery ticket. The photo was snapped, by a smart photographer from behind the winner who was posing in front of a bunch of other photographers holding an inflated replica of the 13 million dollar lottery prize check. Most of the photographers were all huddled together all taking exactly the same posed photo of the man holding the big check.
But the smart photographer was taking the photo from the rear of the winner and in his foreground, stood the little boy (the son of the winner) who was holding the REAL check for $13,000,000 dollars. If the smart photographer had not of thought of this original angle, he would have ended up standing with the rest of the photographers and grabbing the very same photo as everyone else. As a result, it was the smart photographer's photo that was published on the front page.

It is no different when you are working up your new story angles. You always want to consider a different approach than what someone else is doing. You want your story to stand out amongst the rest. Many times, it is just a case of remembering this simple tip that will give you an advantage. So many times we get so wrapped up in what our competitor is doing, we seem to forget the power and impact of taking a reverse or opposite approach. Learn how to tell your average story from a different and more interesting perspective than everyone else and your stories will stand out to the eyes of editors and publishers.

2. Consider building your news story over several installments or over a period of time instead of all at once.

Working with creating several press releases over a period of time can sometimes pack much more punch that telling the story all in one release. The idea here is to literally report on an event or happening with several stories over time as opposed to writing one story afterwards. Remember that just by its nature, news is very fresh and constantly changing. It tends to produce traffic spikes of exposure, so there could be huge potential in following a story with a new release each and every day reporting on the latest developments.

3: Watch for ways to expand on your story and make it appeal to a much larger audience.

One of the examples I like to give students from personal experience, was when I was writing my original story about an early promotion I was doing for a community based Web site. The original story explained
how the Main Street shops were once the hub of the city. In the early days, before the huge shopping malls, most stores and offices operated from a location on Main Street. Even the Mayor and Town counsel operated from their Town Office on Main Street.

Nowadays, the shops and stores on Main Street lose business to the big super malls. Will these business owners be forced to close or go out of business because they can't compete with the Malls. After all, everyone flocks to the malls to shop. The purpose of the community Web site I had developed at the time, was to use the Internet as a way to help the small businesses compete against the big ones.

Now in this example,
the story had some human interest and was perhaps enough to create a newsworthy story for a small town paper, but it was not a "big enough story" to grab any major exposure. So what was the angle or solution to make the story relate to more people? 

Actually, it was just realizing that the issue had a much higher interest capacity than just my own town. There was the angle starring me right in the face. All we had to do to get much wider appeal and much wider exposure was to mildly re-write the story, to explain that this dilemma was NOT just about one little town or city, but actually this scenario is being played out in every small town across the country! 

How well did the press release do? It was picked up and published along with my photo in a nice full feature story in the small business congress section of a major Toronto newspaper. 

Tip: Always take some time to review your news story "angle" to see if you can get a much wider appeal.

3. Watch for little ways to vary your approach to something common. 

Even something as common as an interview could be stepped up for higher impact.
Suppose you were to line up a news story around an interesting interview with a well known industry authority. 

What would happen if you attached a media clip of the actual interview to the press release. Perhaps only include a portion of the interview so that the listener could choose to download and listen in to. 

4. Don't forget to tie your news into your Blog sometimes too. 

Nothing is more suited to news and updates on news stories than bringing people to your Blog where the readers can respond. Blogging works great with short news updates that are posted frequently. Blogging on a recent big event with lots of fresh posts that ideally have the blog located on your own Web site. Let your readers participate with their comments or feedback. Also see Robin Nobles article on Blogs with a Purpose.

5. How does the information you have posted on your Web site (above the fold) relate to your news story?

Is there anything you could add to your home page that relates to current news? You may want to add something in (above the fold) since your press release through actually displays your Web page in a frame within the press release.

6. Don't forget to send your press releases out through traditional methods too. 

One of the biggest challenges I see with new students is that they are often somewhat prejudice against their own work. They overlook sending our their news stories every where they should. What about building yourself a list of news and media outlets that you can use over and over again? Don't forget radio stations and even the other smaller newspapers as well as the bigger ones. You never know who will publish your stories so create as wide a distribution channel as you can.

7. As a crafter of news stories, research all of the markets where you could make a difference. 

Try using Wordtracker's short term Top 1000 report which will sometimes reflect trends that are occurring within the last 24 hours. Also remember to watch for higher volume keywords that relate to your story. You want keywords that accurately reflect what your topic is about but you also want terms with higher popularity. Try using Wordtracker's newest keyword research tool in the members area.

8. Try focusing on creating your story ideas first.

If you are having difficulty getting started, try coming up with a list of Titles for stories first. Once you begin getting on a roll brainstorming for the right topics, it'll be easier to write the story itself. Remember that sometimes your best stories will only really be born as you begin the writing process and create them. By focusing on Titles first and brainstorming for related keywords you will expand your idea list much more quickly than just writing story at a time. 

9. If you are working on news story ideas for your own business - keep yourself apprised of larger real world news stories and events that may be developing within your related industry organizations.

If for instance there is a breaking news happening within your industry, you need to always watch for opportunities to tie into bigger stories. How do other industry related stories affect your business? Certain conditions that result from events that are happening within your industry news, could very well apply to help along a current story that you might already be working on, but you need to be aware of what's happening. Do you subscribe to any news wire services?

10. Develop each story to it's maximum potential and allow yourself at least 24 hours of review time when possible.

I try to prepare any press releases at least 48 hours ahead of time, whenever possible. By crafting your news story over 24 to 48 hours you'll often come up with more original approaches as well as produce a higher quality story. Of course, by the very nature of news, there will be some cases where you may need to release news the same day. But whenever possible, try and plan a release date ahead of time to ensure you allow yourself time to review your work and make it as best of a story that it can be.

For Part 1 of this series, please see: 
How to position your Web site for a Media Blitz - Part 1

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About John Alexander
John Alexander is Co-director of Training at Search Engine Workshops offering live, SEO Training Workshops with partner Robin Nobles as well as online search engine marketing courses through Online Web Training. John is author of
an e-book called Wordtracker Magic and has taught SEO skills to people from 87 different countries. John's articles can be read in publications like REALTOR Magazine, Search Engine Guide,WEBpro News, SitePro News and many others.

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