In journalism, a “concept story” is a story designed to appeal to a certain audience or demographic. Why write a concept story? To introduce a product, service, or idea to people who wouldn’t normally give it a second thought. The idea of concept stories has been translated into popular media in many ways, including personal finance articles in kids’ magazines or articles about environmentally conscious material sourcing in fashion magazines. For a public relations pro, concept stories – either in magazines, television, on radio or on the web – can be a great way to introduce a whole new audience to your client, product or cause.
What sets a concept story apart from a general feature story? A concept story approaches a new audience, one that might not intuitively embrace your product, but would with the right prompting. To promote a concept story, you must first decide on the specific audience you want to reach. Then, it’s time to tailor your product’s image to meet the needs of that audience. Here are a few old tricks concept story writers use to bring their ideas to new audiences:
Language – A PR pro trying to get teenagers interested in reading the new food labels her organization is advocating won’t use the same language she uses to attract moms. While buzzwords like “healthy child” and “fighting childhood obesity” will get a mom’s attention, a teen might be more interested in the effects reading food labels will have on her weight, skin or looks.
Humor – Compare the Sunday Funnies in your local paper with the highbrow cartoons in a publication like the New Yorker. Both are meant to be humorous, but while the funnies have universal appeal, the New Yorker cartoons are only humorous to certain tastes. A concept story writer keys in on the humor that appeals to her audience and plays to it. A sight gag that 6-10 year olds watching Nickelodeon will find hilarious probably won’t go over quite as well on 60 Minutes.
Timeliness – Some events affect certain demographics more than others. The popular Twilight books and movies are an example of a fad that leaves teens gaga while most adults only shake their heads. The key to writing a successful concept story is to know the news and trends that effect the particular demographic you are trying to reach.
Insider Information – Every demographic has fads, trends, behaviors, and slang that make up its culture. When concept story writers key in on that culture, their story fits in naturally and holds credibility with their target demographic.
Publishing or broadcasting a concept story can bring results beyond merely reaching the people who read or watch your piece – it can create a whole new demand for your product, service, client or cause.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three free ebooks, including the Big Press Release Book and Twitter Tactics, here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/freebooks.html