How to develop a winning story angle

April 30, 2015

How to develop a winning story angle

When it comes to pitching journalists and acquiring coverage, every startup needs a good story to sell – an interesting angle that will capture the media’s interest, set your brand apart and give your startup some personality.

Here are some tips to help you develop a winning story angle to pitch to media:

1. Know whom you’re pitching.

Do your homework! I don’t mean to preach, but how else would you know if one specific angle would suit a reporter’s needs? Take the time to get to know the outlets and journalists you’re pitching. Familiarize yourself with their content, audience and goals. And think about how your story falls into that. You can adjust your angle to fit their needs.

2. Don’t just make it about you.

Remember that you’re pitching a story – not just your brand. “Believe it or not, your company and product, by themselves, aren’t an interesting topic,” notes Cheryl Snapp Connor, an entrepreneur and founder of Snapp Connor PR, in a piece for Forbes. “But as part of a broader story or an example of a pervasive need or a message – now they can shine.”

3. Tie in your startup to a current news trend.

If it’s a good fit, go for it (hey, that rhymes!). For instance, when Target closed up shop in Canada, I was pitched by a startup that saw an influx of users in the wake of Target’s closure. The company also pitched a broader story (remember: it isn’t just about you!) about the overall effect it had on small businesses in Canada. A story that ties in to a larger news trend may entice the media even more.

But keep in mind some of the elements that make a story newsworthy:

  • Timeliness
  • Broad interest
  • Human interest
  • Statistics
  • Proximity
  • Unexpectedness

And remember – journalists want compelling stories tailored to their audiences and needs. If you can give them that, that will increase your changes of getting their attention and make you a beloved PR resource!

Image credit: by Lisa Padilla, via


Samuel Dunsiger

Samuel Dunsiger is a freelance writer, editor and communications consultant. He has written for variety of print and online outlets. He has also worked for a boutique PR agency in San Francisco that specializes in startups, and supported the media relations’ activities for a range of brands and non-profits. Follow Sam on Twitter, @samdunsiger.