There you are, humming along, with plenty of news to pitch to media on behalf of your brand or client. There seem to be no shortage of announcements coming up on your calendar.

Then, one day you wake up to discover—we have NO news on the horizon. Panic begins to set in. It’s then that PR pros wonder, “What kind of story ideas can we share to get earned media coverage when we have no news?”

In answer to that question, here’s how to get media pitching unstuck.

10 Media Pitch Ideas That Don’t Depend on News

  1. Show a peek behind the scenes: Stories like “a day in the life of” or a behind the scenes look can be of interest to journalists, says business coach Joseph James, @JosephJamesMMS. Pulling back the curtain on your organization allows reporters to bring their audiences inside how things work.
  2. Tell an origin story: “I always appreciate a good origin story, for example, how an established company grew or a profile of the owner,” says tech reporter Kelly McSweeney, @kellysimonsays. Talk about the history behind the brand.
  3. Try custom-tailored media pitches: When your brand is having a slow news day, spend more time tailoring your pitch to a particular reporter. “The more tailored your pitch is to the publication (or to the writer), the more likely we are to move forward with it, regardless of how ‘newsy’ it is,” McSweeney says.
  4. Give newsjacking a go: Can your company jump on a trending topic? If you act quickly, you may be able to achieve what David Meerman Scott refers to as “newsjacking.” Start the day by checking Google Trends or taking a look at what’s trending on Twitter to find some possible story angles that may present opportunities for your brand.
  5. HR stories can be hidden gems: It’s more common these days to see pieces that focus on a company’s HR practices, as organizations try to change things up to compete for the best talent. “Often what PR qualifies as news doesn’t interest editors as much as routine things companies take for granted,” says journalist Jared Lindzon, @JLindzon. “Interesting culture quirks, productivity hacks and unique hiring practices that develop gradually are often hidden gems.”
  6. Use data to create a compelling media pitch: “Make a story with interesting data,” says @ginarau. “Almost any hypothesis can be supported with data these days. Curate it in a new way for an interesting story about the problem your client solves.” What if you don’t have your own data? Try pulling some from Google. “Google has a really great rich library of micro bite-size data analysis, if you don’t have the ability to do the analysis yourself. Take a look at what other companies are putting out there and maybe put together a response piece to some of your competitors,” Katie Robbert co-founder and CEO of Trust Insights, @katierobbert.
  7. Look to your employees or customers: Perhaps the media relations team can come up with a story about an employee or customer who’s doing something interesting, suggests PR pro Olivia Adams, @OliviaAdamsPR. “Share community service initiatives and personal stories of how employees, customers or volunteers are making a difference,” adds Mary Beth West of MBW Communications, @marybethwest.  
  8. Feature charitable or CSR causes: Digital media strategist Sarah Clarke, @sclarkeOville, says tying in a brand’s involvement in a charitable event or effort can be a smart way to get press. If your brand is taking part in some sort of corporate social responsibility initiative, that can also make an interesting story idea.  
  9. Are they celebrating an anniversary or milestone? Margie Dolch, @margiedolch, says that a company anniversary can be pitched to press. The longer they’ve been in business, the more compelling the story can be. How did they reinvent themselves to stay relevant through the years?
  10. Tie a story into an “awareness” day: Gemma Birbeck, @LeulyPPR, says awareness days provide a great foundation for stories as there are some that most businesses can relate to. Meltwater runs a piece each month listing “awareness” days and other national days that brands can look to for ideas.

Next Steps in Media Pitching

Try plugging a few of these ideas into your slow news periods to chalk up some media relations wins. And for a comprehensive guide to pitching stories, connecting to journalists, and getting your messaging right, read our ebook, New Strategies in Media Relations