Sunday, 15 May 2016

How to find a story from your business


I was honoured to have given the talk to the inspirational ladies of the Athena Network at Newbury West last week where we had a quick look at ways you can find stories to share with the media from within your own business. I'm much better at writing than speaking, so I thought it would be useful to note down some of my tips. In my job, I often sit down with people that are keen to do PR and ask them what’s going on of interest.

Usually, they say something like: “Nothing! Oh, but we are going to be at the Newbury Show”.

The Newbury Show aside, with some gentle (well, I try), questioning from me, generally, people are able to find a suite of stories to keep them busy for the next few months.

Here are the tips that I shared with the Athena ladies in the 10 minutes that I had (that seemed to fly by!).

• Running a business is hard work and PR is something that gets pushed to the bottom of the list as we’re busy, well, running our businesses. However, set time aside to look at what you’re doing now that might be of interest to a wider audience and look ahead to the next few months to see what’s happening; anniversaries, special events, awards

• What events are coming up on the news agenda that you could piggyback onto? Perhaps you’re holding a customer event to celebrate the Queen’s birthday; perhaps your firm has something important to say about whether the UK should remain in Europe or maybe you are an artist and author who was inspired by Beatrix Potter?

• Chat to your staff. What are they up to that could help with a news story? Perhaps you have a talented cyclist in the team or some of them are doing the Race for Life? Perhaps one is approaching their 25th anniversary of working with you?

• Chat to your customers. How have you changed their lives? Perhaps you’ve sold them a special car that means they wouldn’t have been able to get around otherwise? Perhaps you’ve held an event where two of the participants have got married and wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for you? Too strange? Not really; these are both real examples that I have come across and written about in the past!

• Read the local news. You need to know what’s happening in your area and to understand the kind of stories that appear. They are a fantastic source of inspiration.

• Likewise, read the national news so that you know what the current talking points are. Can you put a trade or local spin on a story? For example, are you an estate agent who can talk about the effect of a forthcoming interest rate rise on the local housing market? Are you a pub landlord whose business could struggle when new legislation comes into play? Did you meet the Queen or David Bowie or Victoria Wood?

• Charities
It’s always nice to do good locally or to raise funds for a cause close to your heart. What are you and your team doing for charity and why have you chosen that particular one? Raising money in a fun way makes a great story as it makes everyone look good. Don’t forget that as well as your charities, there are also fundraising events such as Dementia Awareness Week (this week!), MacMillan Cancer Care’s coffee mornings, Children in Need and Sport Relief/Comic Relief which often get a double page spread in local papers.

So, block some time off in your diary and have a good think! Good luck!

*Pic from the brilliant Self Journal


  1. Excellent and entertaining talk as usual Margaret. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with the Athena Network women - and encouraging and inspiring them to ' get out there ' with their news and views.

  2. Margaret I was so pleased to find this blog you did as I wasn't able to make the meeting when you presented it - I'm thrilled not to have missed out and am inspired to get thinking and turn an event into a newsworthy story. Thank you. Jill