Here’s an interesting example of how content is created for the StarTribune’s business section.
Solicit questions for a Q&A in the business section. But, don’t pay a StarTribune business reporter track people down local business folks with questions. Instead, let a PR firm find sources with questions that their client is willing to answer. Then serve it up in the StarTribune (a reputable newspaper).
The following source request is from a newsletter used by journalists to find sources for stories. This particular request may look like it comes from a Star Tribune reporter but the “reporter” in this case is an account supervisor for a local PR firm. St Thomas’ business college is one of their clients.
Summary: Star Tribune Seeks Thoughtful Questions for Expert Advice Column
Name: Jeff Trauring Star Tribune
Category: Business and Finance
Media Outlet: Star Tribune
Deadline: 7:00 PM EST – 3 September
The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s weekly business column “Outside
Consultant” is looking for entrepreneurs and small business
owners who have questions that require expert advice. Professors
from the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business
answer short questions regarding small businesses and
entrepreneurship every Monday. Past topics include: hiring,
employee relations, work/life balance, marketing, business
ethics, HR, real estate, business law, leadership, etc. Please
submit a creative 1-3 sentence question if you think you might
benefit from this column. You will get free expert advice and
you will also get to see your name and your company’s name
printed in a reputable newspaper with nearly 300,000 readers and
featured on the Star Tribune website.
Here’s an example of what the end product looks like on the StarTribune’s website:
The person/business who lobbed that question to the PR firm earned a link in a major daily newspaper’s website for their effort. In this case, a Minnesota based college handed out free advice in a Minnesota based newspaper to a Chicago based business thanks to a Minnesota based PR firm.
That’s an interesting tactic for content creation that doesn’t involve paying content creators. Just run PR-scrubbed Q&A’s instead.
And, if you run a local business school and would like to generate some PR through a Q&A section in a local newspaper – but don’t actually want to bother talking to local businesses in order to do so – this is one way to accomplish that goal.
If readers are satisfied with the results, great. If they wonder why the heck professors at St Thomas’ Opus School of Business are answering questions from Chicago based businesses in the StarTribune, here’s your answer.