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The Art of Storytelling

Media outlets are always on the hunt for fresh story ideas from the trenches. As an event professional, you are in a prime position to pitch story ideas to the media because you’re in the midst of interesting events nearly every week. Editors and journalists are often short on time, so it can make a significant impact when they receive a fully fleshed out story pitch from a reliable source with real-world experience.

Given that, there’s nothing holding you back from being a much-needed resource for media outlets — except, perhaps, the challenge of finding subjects that are relevant and useful. Fortunately, there are a number of different avenues from which to pull inspiration. Let’s look at a few ways you can drum up some creative story ideas to pitch.

Consider viral content

You probably see viral wedding content sprinkled throughout social media and publications like Buzzfeed. As you see new stories coming up, see if you can use it to craft some unique angles from an insider’s perspective. Are a silly flower girl’s antics trending on Facebook? Consider a pitch about how to create a unique and memorable role for flower girls and ring bearers. Did you see a shocking ceremony mishap on Instagram? Create your pitch around how to avoid such a situation. Be sure to reference the viral content in your pitch for context.

Ask newlyweds

Who better to grill for story ideas than someone who just went through the planning process? If you have friends, colleagues, or staff members who recently got married, ask them what kind of articles they would have loved to get their hands on while planning their wedding. What were their biggest challenges? What would they have changed? Take their biggest woes and turn them into topics that can educate others.

Think regionally

If there are certain issues that are prevalent in your local market, think about ways to weave them into story pitches. For example, if your area is susceptible to hurricanes, consider pitching a topic about preparing for potential natural disasters. If the political landscape is affecting your wedding market, consider an op-ed about the impacts that you’ve seen. Locally-inspired pitches are great for connecting with your market and building your network within the region.

Look at pop culture

Timely headlines make for great brainstorming fodder. We run weekly searches in the office to see what is trending for the term ‘wedding’ and draw up broader topics inspired by our findings. For example, when it came out that Prince Harry would be inviting some of his ex-girlfriends to his wedding with Meghan Markle, we had a blast working with writers about best practices for inviting exes.

Consult your own experience

If you feel like you’ve hit a creative wall, don’t hesitate to dig into your own experiences in the industry. What mistakes do you see clients making over and over? Why did that one client have a meltdown and how could it have been avoided? What is the biggest mishap you’ve had at a wedding, and how did you overcome it? Running through your own scenarios will help you unveil new ideas that can be helpful to any engaged couple looking for a resource.

Once you have some story ideas in place, it’s time to revisit your dream media wish list to determine which writers at each outlet are the best fit to cover your topic. Look at each writer’s articles to see who has covered similar stories. Aim to connect with them directly with a custom personal email, as opposed to a generic email or contact form. Tell them why you are reaching out, share your story ideas, and explain how you can help make it happen.

Public relations is a great addition to your promotional plans for 2019. In addition to increasing brand awareness, it can build your authority in the industry, provide SEO-favored backlinks, and give you third-party credibility with your clients. As you head into the off-season, now is the time to revisit your experience in the past year and figure out how your stories can build your press portfolio. From there, it’s about developing connections with media contacts and being a reliable and consistent resource.

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.

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Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.

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