Story Angle Ideas - Prowly Magazine
 · 11 min read · May 15, 2024

Story Angle Ideas: How to Find the Right Angle for Your Pitch

Kristen Skladd

What makes a great story? Is it how well it's told or how real the characters feel? Both are important, but something else could make it satisfying, like finding answers to questions you didn't know you had.

A compelling story should ideally lead you somewhere, teach you something meaningful, and satisfy your curiosity. That's entirely due to identifying the right story angle from the beginning.

Now, Prowly introduced an AI-enhanced workflow that covers all the steps around your storytelling: Starting with ideation by providing several story angles—a creative spark✨ to facilitate your PR writing and help you overcome writer's block. Test it out directly by signing up for a free trial with Prowly ⤵️

Turning a pitch idea into a story

If you’ve constructed your pitch properly, you have two key pieces of the puzzle already in place:

1. You’re sure your story is newsworthy in the eyes of journalists and the public. This means that whatever you’re sharing is relevant and/or useful to the interests of a segment of a particular media outlet’s audience. They must know if they follow your brand, industry, or field. It’s something that matters outside the organization you’re pitching for. 

Compare the following examples:

A restaurant chain that is hugely popular in another part of the country is opening its first location in this area. This is newsworthy because customers will be excited; it’s a sign that the restaurant industry is growing in a certain area and is simply what people talk about. 

A restaurant chain is raising capital to expand and renovate its existing locations. This newsworthy news will interest the business community, investors, and consumers alike. 

A restaurant chain has just hired a new Senior VP of Domestic Operations. Yawn. 

2. You’re sure that you’re pitching the right media contacts. In other words, there’s a fit between what you pitch and the journalists you’re usually reaching out to catch. 

Continuing with the restaurant example above, this means being in touch with one or more of several types of journalists—those who cover the local business community, the local restaurant scene, and even financial reporters. These people are ready to read and respond to exactly the kind of news you’re sharing. After all, this is what they write about.

The third piece of the puzzle is a story angle. Finding the right angle for your story can make or break a potential placement when pitching your story.

It’s time to come at PR pitching from a different story angle—the angle of having an angle.

Story angle - definition

What is a story angle in PR pitching? Essentially, it’s turning the facts of your pitch into a story. It’s framing it to make it easy for journalists to visualize why their readers, listeners, or viewers will be interested. 

You’ve surely heard of the “W words” that quickly give the details of a story — What? When? Where? Who? Think of your PR pitch story angle as the Why? Part of it is because that’s exactly the question that it answers. 

And explaining the “Why?” can be just what moves your pitch from a “maybe” to a “yes” for journalists considering what to cover. After all, when you put all the pieces together for them in a convincing way, there is no other direction to go:

✅ It’s newsworthy
✅ You’re talking to the right person
✅ The journalist can easily see why this will be interesting to the audience

The next step is to set up interviews, create visuals, and put your story in the media spotlight!

Types of story angles 

While theoretically, the number of pitch story angles is unlimited, it’s easy to see the same basic group of angles repeatedly. This happens for an understandable reason—these angles work!

Using a story angle is important because it can change the conversation with journalists. Instead of “Do you want to cover this story?” you can turn it into “Here’s how you can present it.” You’re helping to do their work for them, and who doesn’t like that? 

Go through this list and think about not only how it could apply to the news you’re sharing but also how often what you hear, read, and watch in the media is framed in these terms: 

It’s new

The classic story angle that drives everything from marketing campaigns to the pages of tech magazines and so much more, we’re always interested in what’s new. 

The details of your pitch will affect your approach, but try to frame it in terms of what you’re sharing deserving of interest because it represents a new way of doing things, some kind of leap forward, is different from the conventional way, etc. 

Newer isn’t always better, but it is always more interesting. Journalists are always attracted to the “new” story angle because it allows them to be the first to cover it. 

If your pitch involves something new or can be framed as new, that has to be part of your story angle when communicating without journalists about media coverage. 


It protects us from danger or solves a problem

The modern world is full of threats, and we’ve been conditioned to deal with an ever-growing list of dangers. Part of the reason is the never-ending media coverage of threats we didn’t know about until yesterday. You want to know things that protect you from these threats, right? 

Of course, you do.  

Coming down several threat levels, we also want to know solutions to common problems. If your PR message is focused on something that protects, defends, solves, or otherwise makes life easier, your story angle is obvious. 

Frame your pitch in terms of how what you’re sharing will attract attention because it’s the solution to something on the minds of lots of people who read, listen to, and watch the media every day. 


It’s different

This one might seem vague because it can mean so many things, but it’s simply the idea that something out of the ordinary is interesting for that reason. 

You’re launching a new fashion brand? OK, wake me up when it’s over. Are you launching a new fashion brand that uses organic plant materials grown in Tibet and harvested by monks who live in a temple on a mountaintop? Ok, let’s talk about it! 

Is a local theater group performing a Shakespeare play? Oh, that’s nice. A Shakespeare play with all the characters adapted to the Star Trek universe, and the audience is warned that they will likely get splattered with paint? Wait, what? Let’s talk about this! 

You get the idea. If there is any way to show that your pitch involves a twist on the normal, some variation on the expected – there’s your story angle. 


It’s in the news or on-trend

News trends are self-reinforcing. That is, they attract more stories about what people already talk about. From serious topics like the pandemic and economic issues to, let’s say, less serious things like pop culture and celebrities, something that can be connected to what’s already getting coverage has a greater chance of getting coverage itself. 

Riding a wave that’s already out there is much easier than trying to start your own. Keep an eye on what consistently gets media coverage and look for any connections to the content of your pitch. 


It’s controversial 

Another classic because it is so effective is that controversy always drives interest. You have to be careful here, though, because walking a fine line in the eyes of public opinion can be hard. If your pitch is somehow connected with controversy in the media, you have a shortcut to attention, but you’re also playing with fire. 

Be sure to consider the possibility that you can’t appeal to both sides of a conflict and must choose to go with one or the other. That might be what you want, but it might not. 

Positioning yourself close to controversy is a risk/reward calculation. The payoff can be huge, but so can the consequences. Tread carefully!


How to find the right angle for your story

Follow the news

One of the best ways to find the story angle right from the start is to look at the news itself. What are the most talked-about stories, and how can your client relate to them?

For example, with COVID-19, does your client have a product, or are they doing something related to keeping us safe? Have they invented something that will help people through the quarantine?

Likewise, think of relevant holidays. Is your client a restaurant that could consider featuring a special menu for Easter or Passover? Would the chef be able to assemble a one-off recipe for vegetarians or something kid-friendly that could be used within a feature? 

Consider all story angles and how to maximize what’s relevant right now to insert your client as a source.

Take a closer look at your media contacts

Think about who you’re pitching and how it’s relevant. We are all busy nowadays, but throwing something blindly into the wind and hoping it’ll help you achieve your desired outcome probably won’t happen.

If you’re pitching an editor at the New York Times, ensure the editor has the beat to which your news is relevant. You might be pitching a managing editor – but if their beat is automotive and your client has to do with weddings, you’re wasting your time and risking a potential relationship.

It’s always wise to spend a few hours doing manual research and compile your media list based on reporters (whether they are staff or freelance) who have covered a similar subject in the past and pitch them with a quick, personalized line about their previous coverage and why your client’s story might interest them.

Experiment with different story angles

Don’t lose hope! You might think your story angle is the “be-all, end-all,” but perhaps you’re not framing the story correctly. 

Try a different subject line or alternate the leading paragraph. Would this reporter be interested in interviewing someone other than what you’re offering (maybe a customer rather than the company's founder)?

Work the pitch from all story angles so that you present any and all alternatives. If you still don’t receive an answer, know that right now might not be the right time for the reporter to take on the piece and circle back at a later time. Be persistent, but never pushy!

Support your angle with visuals

It's also critical to understand your desired publication’s audience. Are you hoping for a web write-up or a quick brief? Never underestimate the power of good, high-resolution photography. 

Having visuals to support your story angle can secure that placement even when your words might fail. Compile a Dropbox for the reporter or tease an image in your email for a quick “sneak peek” of what you’re talking about. 

This is especially vital for TV when a crew might not be sent out to do the story, but the news is still interested in a VO at the desk.

Make your PR pitches better by using the right story angle

When you've got your story angle ready to go, Prowly is where you can put everything together and create great media pitches that get attention. It can support you in PR storytelling, finding the right media contacts and organizing them in a PR CRM, creating aesthetically pleasing press releases, managing email pitches, maintaining journalist-friendly newsrooms, and more.

Prowly PR Software - Press Release Creator

Cover photo by Ugo Mendes Donelli