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Five ways to find new story ideas

The key to getting media traction via Media Stable is to regularly put your ideas, opinions, analysis and expertise on the Media Board.

A 100 word piece every two weeks is ideal. But the thing is, it can be tricky to come up with fresh story ideas that will grab the media’s attention.  If you’re lacking inspiration, or you feel as though you’re rehashing old ideas too often, here’s my top 5 tips for developing some new content ideas:

  1. The weekly wrap up

We have an expert in body language who recently did a piece that wrapped up the body language of high profile news stories from that week, including Cassandra Sainsbury in the Colombian prison, how Scott Morrison read the budget and Alan Joyce’s reaction to that pie face moment. On their own, those stories were a little long in the tooth to be commenting on by the Friday but doing a wrap up of the body language of the week was a great way to make the individual stories collectively relevant again. Three is the magic number when it comes to this sort of content, it’s what media look for to ensure a story has legs. Are there 3 examples of an issue or part of your area you can analyse or offer an opinion on? It doesn’t have to be this week, it could be this month, this financial year, this season, since Turnbull became PM, etc.   If you’ve got a timeframe, and three examples, the wrap up is a great way to get content together and make sagging news stories relevant again.

  1. The Google News search

This is a technique I use often. Go to your Media Stable profile and have a look at the topics of discussion you have listed. Then choose one you would most like to talk about in media. Take that term and punch it into Google, and then hit the news tab to refine your search to news only. Have a look at the news headlines, to see what the latest is on this topic. It might show new research, a good example of a high profile person that you can use in a piece, or it might inspire you to put a contrary opinion together on a topic. If you do this news search on a few of your topics, I guarantee you’ll be inspired to write something. It is worth noting that we have an Australian focus, so if the news searches are coming up with stories from obscure far reaches of the world, refine the search by adding the word ‘Australia’ to the end of your topic.   The Google News search is a good one if you don’t have time to trawl the news looking for relevant topics every day. And if you want to go one step further, set up a Google alert for relevant terms.

  1. Tapping into your inner monologue

Do you listen to talk back radio, read the news or watch Lateline and find yourself talking to the TV or wanting to add your opinion to the story? Make the connection between this inner monologue and the Media Board. The things you’re thinking about when you hear news is the inspiration you need for an opinion piece on the Media Board. It can be hard to make the connection between these thoughts or even conversations you have with friends about current events, but tapping into these thoughts and conversations will bear fruit, especially if you can provide backing to your argument.

  1. Crowd sourcing

If you have staff, why not put them to the challenge to each come up with three ideas for media board posts? Crowd sourcing content from your inner circle can be a great way to get several ideas in the can, and it can broaden your thinking on what is relevant to put out to the media.

Just make sure your staff know your name will be on the piece, not theirs, and also make sure that you agree and can speak to the content they come up with. There is no point putting a piece out there to media if you can’t be interviewed on the subject or don’t agree with the assertions in the piece.

  1. Get personal and get real

When all else fails, get personal. What are the personal stories that you have, from your own life, which have resonance with your expertise, and which you are willing to share with media? Did you experience a mental health crisis and overcome it, have you made a bad investment decision and managed to save yourself from bankruptcy, have you almost had your head bitten off by a lion, have you used an interesting method for weight loss and turned your life around? These are the types of real life stories that media love. The more honest, real and humble you can be, the more the media will lap it up.

So, there you have it, it might be that not all of these ways of developing content ideas appeal to you. But if you are only going to do one of them, my tip is to go with the Google News search. Even if you’re not commenting directly on a story from the news, seeing headlines on topics relevant to you might jolt you to have a content brain wave.

By Emily Morgan Media Stable Media Engagement Manager 

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