How Candor Develops Earned Media Ideas

January 17, 2024

Follow in our footsteps to source positive media coverage.

Flip through the pages of a newspaper or watch a few minutes of a news broadcast and one thing becomes clear: a lot of companies make headlines for all the wrong reasons. But how can businesses gain coverage for the right ones? How can organizations figure out what reporters — and the audience — will care about?

In Candor’s experience, there are three crucial elements to a quality media story:


When brainstorming media ideas for an organization, the first (and most important!) step is to determine what is actually newsworthy, and what isn’t.

Is Newsworthy:

  • Innovative developments

  • Large philanthropic donations/initiatives

  • Decisions affecting the public, employees or potential hires

  • Enhanced company culture/human interest

Is Not Newsworthy:

  • Insignificant milestones

  • Small donations

  • Retirements, anniversary parties

  • Internal announcements

Many companies fall into the trap of thinking news that matters inside the office will generate external interest. Evaluating a potential story through this lens can save a lot of time and resources in the long run.



A newsworthy story has been identified — great! Next, it’s crucial to determine how the story is relevant and impactful to the target audience (like industry professionals or the general public).

Ensuring a media story answers the questions below is important.

Questions to Consider:

  • Is it timely?

  • What makes this story worthy of attention?

  • Did something significant happen recently related to this idea?

  • Will people be impacted?

  • Why should a particular audience care?


Thinking critically about the target audience and how a story may affect them will further refine an earned media idea.


The final step to rounding out any media idea is to identify a subject matter expert (SME).  Offering up an SME for interviews can result in a reporter hitting “reply” instead of “delete.”

SMEs don’t have to be the foremost expert in the world on a particular topic — they just have to be a well-informed spokesperson for the organization on the particular topic/story being pitched. Interviews add insight, perspective and humanity to stories, which can dial up the profile for the SME and organization as a whole. Having a real person to talk to also makes a story much more attractive for a journalist.

It’s important to note even when all these elements are perfect, a story still may not be picked up. Reporters and editors may already have a full schedule for the day, or might not be interested in the topic. But consistently sticking with our method when brainstorming and identifying earned media ideas will make landing stories easier than ever.

Our Most Recent Posts