The Key Storyline You Should Be Pitching, But May Not Be

If you haven't seen the show "Suits," you should. It's phenomenal. The show tracks the tribulations of 20-something, whiz-kid attorney Mike Ross (Patrick Adams), a college dropout, whose encyclopedic knowledge of the legal system lands him a job at fictional Manhattan law firm Pearson Hardman.

Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons 2012
Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons 2012

Sure, the situation is unrealistic, since no top-flight New York law firm would - ever - hire an associate without a college degree, let alone J.D. But, Mike's boss, firm partner Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), realizes just how talented his protégé is. And, for that reason, Harvey risks being disbarred to hire Mike, a risk few - if any - lawyers would take.

The best part of "Suits" is that it capitalizes on our fascination for whiz kids and talented 20-somethings. Why does Gen Y (or even those their junior) catch our attention so steadfastly? To venture a guess, we all love savvy-yet-sharp, thoughtful-yet-provocative, young, hard-working individuals. They're hard to recruit and even harder to retain.

Our fascination with these individuals partially explains why so many top-tier publications maintain a staff of careers reporters. The likes of Fast Company, TheWall Street Journal, and TheNew York Times are teeming with writers whose sole focus is to author stories about talent acquisition and retention. And, while a real-life company's recruiting story may not be drama-ridden like "Suits," in many cases these reporters are chomping at the bit for career-related anecdotes.

With that in mind, the careers section is a “must get” for companies that want national attention. These stories are a double whammy, of sorts, since a well-written careers article profiles a firm’s core competency and highlights the company's strategy around corporate culture, which helps with recruiting.

What’s more, whole companies build their entire brand identity around being hip with employees. Google and Apple are just two of the many; yet so few others realize the value in showcasing the “bennies” they give to recruits and employees.

In the end, readers want to be wowed by creative hires, their ideas and the people who hired them to begin with. Just like any pitch, engaging successfully with  careers reporters hinges on creative elements, like showcasing individuals who've quickly climbed company ranks, exceeded expectations or been drawn to a company's unusual benefits package.

But be careful. Even though the dubious undertones of “Suits” need not be present to attract a reporter’s attention, some reporters will nonetheless pry for inherent drama in the workplace.

But, if well-managed, there’s really little risk. And most companies have a good HR story to tell; a story that could play a key role in the company’s growth, reputation and visibility.

Aaron Kellogg is a Senior Media Consultant at Greenough. Follow him on Twitter: @KelloggAaron