One of my favorite resources for story ideas when I worked as a reporter was my own newspaper.
I’d turn to the classified ad section and read the categories marked “Miscellaneous,” “Wanted” and “For Sale.”
Quite often, I’d find an interesting classified ad that would then lead to a phone call to the person who placed it, and then an interview.
Today, reporters have an easier time finding ideas. They simply lurk on Craigslist, the giant online classified ad board that features lists for more than 35 countries around the world and separate lists for all 52 U.S. states.
So if you post to Craigslist, there’s a chance a reporter might read your post. That’s what happened to Katy Leakey, an artist who lives in Africa, and is the designer of the Leakey Collection, a colorful and versatile line of jewelry. The jewelry is handmade by the Maasai women with natural, sustainable grass beads that are dyed in brilliant colors.
Nancy Mills, an expert on how to use Craigslist, helped Katy post small classified ads about the jewelry on several Craigslists.
A journalist who writes for San Diego Home & Garden magazine saw one of the ads on the San Diego Craigslist about “An artist making a difference in the world, from the busy fields of Kenya to the trendy slopes of Seattle” and called for an interview. The story will be published soon.
Nancy is a master at creating several versions of the same ad so it can be posted on several different Craigslists. She was my guest during a teleseminar last year called “How to Use Craigslist as a Global Publicity Tool.”
If you’re not posting your press releases and other news items to Craigslist, start.