If you have a chance to get story tips directly from a top journalist and media producer – like Paris Wald, senior producer at Bloomberg TV – be prepared to take copious notes. Last week, my colleagues and I in Padilla’s New York office were able to do just that when we attended a meet-the-media event featuring Wald.
The event, sponsored by the New York chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, focused on finding the business angle in any story – a simple but effective framework for developing stories in every industry, including food and beverage.
According to Wald, if you want to earn placement in a top-tier business outlet, your story needs three key components: size, scope and secrecy.
Size: Consider the reach
Size speaks to the number of people affected by your story, especially its impact on the job market. Outlets like Bloomberg are most interested in how a story affects the market and job gains or losses.
Will your new product create additional jobs or grow the existing market? The more people affected by your news, the more people will care about it. The job market is a tangible piece of the economy, which creates urgency in your story because it directly affects how people live their lives.
Scope: Consider the impact
How influential is your story? Is it groundbreaking? Will it change the course of history – or at least alter an industry’s trajectory? Your story needs to stand out as something that will guide industry in a new direction or influence a new business trend.
Secrecy: Consider an exclusive
Can you give exclusive rights to your story? Like every journalist, Wald loves a story she can break, especially because her outlet will be the place consumers hear the story first. Viewers will also tune in if it’s brand-new news. Offering an exclusive is also a great way to get your pitch noticed in the first place.
So, how do these tips apply to food and beverage? Look a little closer and you’ll find a business angle behind most food and beverage stories. So, don’t limit your media consideration to food and lifestyle or trade media.
Brand stories, industry innovations, market impacts and trend stories are just a few ways that your food and beverage brand could generate an interesting business angle.
Perhaps your brand is leading the trend in the foodservice industry (i.e., opening their own restaurant) or has revolutionized agricultural techniques in produce. Or maybe your brand has a sustainability success story or has created a new plant-based food product.
I’ll leave you with some final tips and insights from Wald:
- Make your pitch short, sweet and to the point, and sell your story in the subject line. What does your story mean to consumers, the marketplace or other business customers? Use a subject line that conveys your strongest selling point and biggest news angle. Explain the story’s implications in the first paragraph of your pitch. Organize and format your pitch so it’s a quick read, too: Get to the guest’s name quickly and bold important parts of the pitch.
- Bigger is better. Outlets like Bloomberg generally limit their coverage of smaller businesses to news that is groundbreaking or carries great industry weight or influence. But if you can make a solid case for your smaller business news, go for it.
- Use visuals when possible. Wald loves infographics with stats or metrics to illustrate a good story.
- Pick a strong speaker. Wald is most interested in interviewing CEOs, but she’ll also consider thought leaders, shareholders or decision makers if they have something interesting to say. Make sure your speaker comes across as authentic. And if your guest can’t speak freely about a topic pertinent to your story, this might not be the right outlet for you.