What with the recession and the growing threat of global warming, life has become very complicated. No wonder we’ve developed a longing to go back to basics, to simple, chemical-free food, ancient crafts and eco-friendly habits. The media has seized on this longing and now supplies us with an endless diet of features about country pursuits, rural industries and green living. If you’re running a rural-themed business, or you’re interested in writing about aspects of rural life, you can capitalise on this trend.
Rural-themed articles have always been popular in the Irish media. Think of the cosy, rural-based stories in Ireland’s Own, which have been entertaining us since 1902. Or the homespun wisdom of Cormac McConnell and Carla Blake, beamed to us from the pages of the Irish Examiner Farming Supplement every week. The difference now is that more and more urban dwellers are interested in the country life and this has widened the appeal of the rural-based article.
Are you an artisan food producer? Have you revived an old craft? Turned your farm into a thriving enterprise? Decided to give up the rat race and change career? You have an interesting story to tell and the media will be interested in hearing it. Don’t forget to include details of new products, awards you have won or plans for expansion. This will increase your news value. Programmes like Nationwide and Countrywide and print publications like Munster Interiors and the Farmer’s Journal give generous coverage to rural-themed business. They often visit agricultural shows and food festivals, which gives you an opportunity to display your wares to the entire nation.
There may not be anything of note happening in your business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t identify a topical angle. Not a week goes by without a feature appearing on radio or in newspapers offering tips for reducing your carbon footprint, or how to cook in an organic way. If you’re in a rural business, or a writer with a passion for the environment, you’ll have the inside track. Send in a pitch or press release which demonstrates your unique perspective on rural issues. You may be included in lifestyle features for the likes of The Irish Independent or The Irish Times.
Specialist rural publications can often fly under the radar, but have a strong following. If you’re a rural writer, you can contribute to publications that defend traditional rural pursuits, like The Irish Field. You can offer insights on how the recession is affecting farmers to farming supplements of newspapers and farmers’ magazines like Irish Farmers’ Monthly. And you can send whimsical tales to Ireland’s Own and Ireland’s Eye.
If you can feed the public appetite for rural themed articles, you’ll generate extra revenue for your business. And if you want to write, you can create a steady side income giving your perspective on the country life.