Summer is a challenging time to pitch a story: the colleagues you rely upon for information and ideas might be away and newsroom staff are on vacation.
Don't throw in the towel. Use this time to your advantage.
- Put on a reporter's cap and scope out unique and interesting stories. Meet with staff you don't regularly talk to - see if they are working on anything that might be worth pitching to the press.
- Think small. Look for personal stories from the unheralded folks who make your place tick. Local outlets like the New York Daily News and NY1 News love good human interest pieces.
- Clean up your media lists. Select a few reporters and meet them for coffee to update them on your industry and brainstorm ideas.
How does Anat Gerstein, Inc. avoid a summer story drought?
We represent WHEDco, a great nonprofit based in The Bronx. They had a dormant campaign to raise money to build a greenhouse and expand their urban farming program. Our intrepid Zac Roy worked with WHEDco to revive their crowdfunding campaign. He arranged for New York 1 to deliver live reports from atop WHEDco's Intervale Green building.
Within hours, the campaign exceeded its fundraising goal. (Watch the video here.)
What drove that success?
When we spend considerable time with the stellar team at WHEDco, we have the opportunity to learn about their many initiatives, including this one. Zac recognized that NY 1 News always seeks light - but relevant - features in the morning, so he reached out to their Bronx reporter.
Earlier this year, the Museum of the City of New York launched an exhibition containing a fully-built 325-square-foot micro-unit apartment (if you haven't seen it, go now because it closes in early September!). The launch generated a great deal of publicity, both local and national, and throngs of new visitors to the Upper East Side institution.
Yet, after the surge of attention around the launch, media coverage understandably declined and so did attendance.
Charged with reinvigorating interest, we developed a series of events that would draw media attention (and hopefully a crowd). These ideas included short, in-exhibition workshops on cooking in small spaces and organizing small spaces. We then took the concept a step further, inviting people to sleep in the micro-unit.
As of this writing, Taxi TV, Newsday, and a series of blogs have covered the events. We expect NY 1 News and New York Times coverage later this week.
Curbed NY stayed overnight and live-blogged, engaging with New Yorkers all over the city about the experience. Others will be living in the unit through Monday. Stop by if you are curious and want to talk to them about their experiences.