Right now, in newsrooms and at TV and radio stations all over the U.S., assignment editors are groaning about having to come up with local stories for the Fourth of July.
Even worse, July 4 falls on Monday. That means that in addition to a big Sunday paper, editors have the holiday edition to worry about. And they must have most of their feature stories written and edited by Friday, when they’re hoping to cut out early for a long holiday weekend.
When I worked as an editor, I hated weeks like these. The same old holidays. The same scurrying around at the last minute to find assignments that are different. How to keep from blowing your fingers off on the Fourth? Done that. How about advice from vets on how to keep dogs from freaking out during the big bang? Done that one, too.
So how about making the media’s job easy? Tie your story idea to an independence theme, even though the idea doesn’t directly tie into the Fourth. My friend Shawne Duperon, a TV reporter in Michigan, says this strategy works particularly well with TV. Shawne was my guest on three teleseminars titled “How to Get on the Local TV News Tomorrow“, “116 WOW! Sizzling Story Ideas from January through June” and “103 Sizzling Story Ideas from July Through December.”
Here are some examples of how to play off the independence theme:
—Credit counselors can pitch stories on how to give consumers independence from credit cards.
—Products and services that help people stop smoking can tie into independence from cigarettes.
—Bike clubs and walking clubs can promote their groups by pitching stories that tie in to independence from high gasoline prices.
—Computer consultants can offer the latest tips on how people can find independence from spam and computer viruses.
—Podiatrists can even pitch stories on how women can claim independence from sprained ankles and fallen arches by ditching the high heels and wearing comfortable yet fashionable shoes.
Why are these kinds of stories appealing? Because, with the holiday tie-in, they appear to be timely.
Get the idea? Pinpoint whatever it is that your product, service, cause or issue helps people claim independence from. Then start pitching. And don’t forget about the bloggers.