What makes a good Financial Times story is a question I often ask myself when pitching – and often get wrong. The Style section, which appears online and in FT Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, has been smaller in the last few months and I hadn’t written for it for a while. But recently I’ve done profiles on two fashion businesses and I thought it might be useful to share some of the criteria that led to these brands being featured – without, of course, mentioning brand names, as the stories haven’t run yet.
One important criterion: success. The FT is not going to do a profile on a failing business, unless it’s a huge market story from a notable company and who wants that press? Usually, it wants to examine why a certain brand is thriving right now. Upward sales trajectory, turnover and profit are figures that they’ll want you to share. And has something changed in the business that might have led to this – a new CEO, CMO or a U-turn on strategy? Business strategies are the life-blood of FT stories, so give us those deets.
Success can also be translated into brand awareness or buzz. Is it a brand that everyone – influencers, editors, consumers – are talking about, buying and wearing right now? That’s interesting. We want to report that and analyse why it’s happening.
Thirdly, but most importantly, newness. A new store opening (ok, let’s leave that a month), a new range, a whole new product category or a new business leader. Give us the hook and a reason for our readers to be interested and you might have yourself an FT story.