Content creators, journalists, and media personalities in general are in constant search for interesting stories to share with their audience. The impact of these stories may vary depending on the scope, the relevance to the audience and the way the story was reported. While most common fields like sports and politics are widely covered, business reporting, especially local businesses can uncover a wealth of insights, inspiration, and compelling stories.
I have always admired Mr. Adnan Alghazal, a journalist in Alwatan Daily, for his ways of reporting interesting local stories; I asked him for guidance on how he covers many distinguished stories about local businesses. “Empathy and a sense of journalism are key in bringing the best stories”, Mr. Alghazal explained. The starting point can be an invitation to a specialized event where the agenda is clear for you to prepare beforehand, and the target audience is also identified. “Discussion on social media and social gathering are another important source to explore the topic”, said Mr. Alghazal.
He further explained that it can be a pure coincidence where you run into a scene, an activity or witness something unique that garners your attention. “Most people will speak passionately about their businesses, just ask open ended questions and take notes or record the conversation if necessary”, said Mr. Alghazal. On building reports, he advised that additional research should be done by the content creator for fact checking and possibly to enhance the report with inputs from sources.
In various forms, news and media reports about business and economy are mostly focused on listed companies given the importance to shareholders and potential investors. Also in this category, you will find constant and great reporting about economic trends and analysis on trade, market statistics, commodities, energy, financial markets, new regulations and so on. This category can also feature press releases from large and multinational companies informing the public and the business community about their new ventures, product lines and sometimes their social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
While the traditional coverage of business and economy in general are essential, additional focus on stories about and for small businesses and startups would have a positive impact on many levels. From the creators’ point of view, this can give them a fresh and unique scoop as they will probably be the first to highlight a story about a certain business’s success, challenge, or opportunity. The business owners will be thrilled with the opportunity to share their stories and benefit from the publicity. Other stakeholders like business support organizations, government agencies and consumers can also benefit from the insights given when reporting stories about this business segment.
When reporting on small businesses and startups, explore promising sectors, market dynamics, new trends, and innovation. Focus on the perspective of the business owner; let them voice their aspirations and use their words on how they reflect on their success or the challenges they have overcome. Supplement your report with research on the issues or trends in the sector in which the business operates. This will present your story in a holistic manner and will add more value to your audience.
Media is an important input to market insights. With this in mind, highlighting such stories could lead to new business opportunities and partnerships given the awareness that was created by the media outlet about the product or services offered by the business. More coverage of small businesses and startups will spread the culture of entrepreneurship which, in turn, will lead to further investments, employment and growth. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and local businesses in general are major drivers to the national economy. Thus, guided by the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030, numerous regulations and support programs were put forth to enable SMEs to increase their contribution to the GDP to 35% by 2030.
As a content creator, your efforts in covering small businesses and startups from meeting businesspeople to researching relevant information, to publishing and sharing these stories will entail building your business acumen and may lead you to recognize new opportunities and allow you to expand your network. You will also have a positive influence on supporting the growth of small businesses, employment, local contents, and the export of Saudi made products and services across the world.
Abdulrahman S. Alotaibi
International business consultant and author