How Story Mining Can Elevate a Media Pitch

Jun 12

Written by Ashley Miller

Reporters receive hundreds of emails every day from public relations professionals trying to get their stories noticed. It’s important to ensure your story stands out from the rest. As PR pros, it’s our job to help clients discover and tell their stories in a compelling way to the audiences they care about. Developing these stories takes an intentional and thoughtful approach.

Many times, this means conducting interviews with stakeholders and third-party validators to create a compelling story. Strategic story mining interviews can uncover unique stories and provide anecdotes to help your story stand out from the rest. It is crucial to identify the right individual to talk with, set expectations, and ask the correct questions, in order to ensure your story mining expedition is effective and ultimately tells a deeper story.

Identify the individual you will interview

Selecting the correct person to talk to about a specific story is key. Speaking with several different employees or stakeholders will enable you to uncover the most compelling story. You will want to make sure that who the individual you are interviewing has enough background in the topic and offers a specific perspective you could not get otherwise.

Set expectations

It’s important to talk with your client beforehand and make sure that they are okay with you conducting story mining interviews. It’s also important to let participants know from the start the purpose of the discussion, and how the information he or she provides may be used. If the story is compelling, you may even want to check if they’re comfortable talking to interested reporters further about their experience.

Ask the correct questions

Going into the interview, prepare enough questions ahead of time to keep the conversation moving. It is important to be intentional in the questions you are asking. Heading into the conversation with a topic or story in mind can help drive the discussion in the right direction and help ensure that you are receiving information that will benefit a story in the end. Lastly, be ready to ask additional questions, as something they say may spark an idea you hadn’t previously considered.  

With a constantly evolving news cycle, it is as important as ever to make sure the stories you are telling to reporters are interesting and newsworthy. Story mining provides an opportunity for PR pros to develop a deeper understanding of a topic and makes your client’s story more compelling, not only to reporters but to the audiences they are seeking to engage.