Updated: Oct 15
A continually growing master reference list of hooks and angles for writers, authors, businesses, marketers, and publicists
First, bookmark this page so you can refer to it as often as needed. I will continue to update it with additional examples as they come into memory or view.
There’s a reason many university presses publish regional content and local history to help subsidize their scholarly publishing.
There’s a reason we decry the loss of local journalism and have been crowdfunding its revivals.
There’s a reason your local businesses use local food, traditions, slang, historical references, colorful characters, landmarks, legends — all the things — in their marketing.
And there are good reasons for you as writers, authors, publishers, promoters, publicists, and marketers to turn to local and regional content when doing your work.
People are interested in and connect with what’s closest to home and what they know best. And they’re hungry to cultivate and deepen that knowledge, those connections, that identity, the nostalgia. Whether your job is to promote a business, a cause, a product, an event, a service; whether it’s to share knowledge, entertain, inspire, connect, activate; reaching people where they’re at, closest to home, and with the things most familiar to them is an excellent and moving way to reach a lot of people a lot of the time.
Below are all actual local and regional topics, angles, hooks that I have published or been pitched; have heard on radio or TV; have read about in books, newspapers, magazines, online; have seen and heard used in business promotions.
Animals Animal sanctuaries, birding spots, birds, bugs, county fairs, dog shows, farms, horse shows, Lyme disease, long-living animals, mascots, mosquito infestations, pet parades, pet stores, petting zoos, wild animals on the loose, zoo favorites
Architecture and Landmarks Archeological sites, architects, architecture styles, best/biggest/first/newest/oldest/only/tallest, birthplaces of famous people, bridges, cemeteries, centerpiece parks, delayed construction, famous buildings, fountains, gardens, graffiti, iconic signs, landscaping, mansions, monuments, murals, neon signs, penthouses, plazas, public art, record-breaking buildings, sculptures, staircases, skylines, skyscrapers, unbuilt projects
Arts and Music Actors, artists, ballet, best/first/newest/oldest, blues, choruses, classical, concerts, country, dance, design, DJs, exhibits, famous names, fashion, fusion, galleries, graffiti, hip hop, jazz, music clubs, museums, musicians, performance art, promoters, R&B, rap, rock, sculptors, soul, theater, traveling shows, symphony, venues
Business and Industry Best/biggest/first/newest/oldest/only, big business, broadcasting, broadcasting history, broadcasting personalities, business districts, CEOs, corporate headquarters, executives, industries, innovations, labor history, labor leaders, Local First, locally-owned businesses, small businesses, specialty stores, trends, unions
Disasters and Weather Accidents, blizzards, bombings, cold spells, droughts, dust storms, environmental disasters, fires, floods, hail, heat waves, hurricanes, meteorologists, nuclear accidents, oil spills, rain, records, seasonal activities, seasonal favorites, seasonal traditions, snow, storms, storms of the century, terrorism, tornadoes, war, weather anecdotes and recollections, weather-history links, weird weather, worst weather
Food and Drink Bars, bartenders (iconic, popular), booze shopping, breweries, chefs (famous, innovative, up-and-coming), distilleries, farmers/farmers markets, ethnic eateries, ethnic groceries, food festivals, food shopping, food trucks, historic bars, historic nightclubs, historic restaurants, histories of establishments, local food favorites, local food inventions, nightclubs, restaurants, resources for cooks, signature cocktails, spices, wineries
History and Genealogy Biographies, business histories, ethnic histories, forgotten history, genealogy how-to, genealogy resources, historical eras, historical events, historical societies, historical years, house histories, labor history, literary history, maritime history, memoirs, oral histories, political history, religious history, social histories, sports histories, then-and-now comparisons
Holidays and Celebrations Annual conventions, annual parades, best holiday decorations, biggest parties, ethnic fests, ethnic holidays, fireworks, gala fundraisers, historic holiday memories, local holiday traditions, neighborhood holiday traditions, new year’s traditions, pride events, street fests
Images Aerial photography, architecture, caricatures, cartoons, cemetery architecture, historic maps, historic postcards, maps, panoramic photography, photographs of anything on this list, postcards, skyline photos, then-and-now maps, then-and-now photographs
Infrastructure and Utilities Accessibility issues, clean energy, developments, electrical plants, highways, housing projects, power lines, power plants, street names, water towers, water reclamation/treatment, windmills, zoning laws
Institutions Associations, clubs, country clubs, fraternal organizations, hospitals, libraries, museums, political parties, private clubs, professional organizations, schools, secret societies, universities
Language, Legends, and Lore Accents, folk heroes, folklore, ghost stories, heroes, language hybrids, languages spoken, legends, local usages, slang, slogans, tall tales, TV jingles, UFO stories, urban legends, vernacular, villains
Loci Communes Loci communes (common areas) are six locations that Aristotle identified as common sites that folk can look to as storehouses, generative sources of arguments that can be easily understood by others without specialized knowledge. They are helpful here too.
Locus of quantity — the biggest, the favorite, the longest, the most, the most frequent, the most popular, the most visited, the tallest
Locus of quality — the best, the only one, the rarest, the most unusual
Locus of order — the first, the original, the latest, the newest
Locus of existence — what exists; what still exists, remains, endures
Locus of essence — the most representative, the most authentic, what’s most typical of us, our place/s, and our traditions.
Locus of value of the person — for our purposes: our people matter.
Names The history and origin of place names — particularly street names — was, hands-down the most requested subject I heard from audiences of all walks of life when I was publishing regional nonfiction. Those who have published books on the history of local street names or newspaper columns devoted to the topic can attest to the evergreen popularity of this one.
People and Occupations Actors, biographies, columnists, comedians, crossing guards, the dangerous, demographics, demographic trends, doctors, everyday people, executives, famous, firefighters, founders, geniuses, heroes, immigrants, immigration trends, innovators, kids, lawyers, memoirs, mobsters, models, musicians, police officers, politicians, quacks, the quirky, radio personalities, saints, sinners, small business owners, sport stars, teachers, television personalities, tribes, villains, writers
Politics and Government Alderman, city council, city government, civic groups, citizen action, corruption, county government, divisiveness, game-changers, good government, government departments, governors, historic legislation, incumbents, legislation, legislatures, mayors, military stories, patriotic displays, political parties, reformers, social movements, state government, voting blocks
Recreation and Nature Amusement parks, beaches, childhood memories, ecosystems, favorite pastimes, gardening, geology, make-out spots, native species, natural history, nature preserves, parks, picnicking grounds, sledding hills, summertime favorites, swimming holes, waterways, winter favorites
Religion and Spirituality Beliefs, cathedrals, choirs, churches, clergy, convents, cults, ecumenical activities, ethnic connections, events, gurus, history, holidays, leaders, miracles, monasteries, mosques, prophets, temples, scandals, schools, sects, traditions, trends
Scandals and Crime Brothels, corporations, crimes, crime rings, criminals, drug dealers, drugs, gangsters, gangs, hate crimes, murder, politics, ponzi schemes, pranks, sex, trends, vice districts, violence, white collar
Schools and Education Best/first/oldest, colleges, community colleges, deans, grade schools, high schools, homecoming, principals, prizes, proms, scholarships, school clubs, school memories, school pranks, sports teams, teachers, trade schools, universities
Sports Amateur, athletic competitions, athletes’ foundations, athletic fields, baseball, basketball, boxing, clubs, coaches, college, e-sports, extreme sports, football, gambling, gaming, golf, gymnastics, hall-of-famers, halls of fame, historic moments, historic players, historic teams, hockey, ice hockey, leagues, Little League, local favorites, martial arts, men’s, Olympians, professional, record breakers, schools, semi-pro, skiing, soccer, softball, team heydays, team rosters, volleyball, women’s, youth
Subcultures and Hobbies Bocce ball, curling, heavy metal, hurling, pigeon lovers, polar bear clubs, punk rock
Tourism Best/first/newest/oldest, business travel, conventions, family tourism, historic hotels, hotels, landmarks, must-visits, only-in-our-town, tourist favorites, tourist traps, tours, unique lodging, walking tours
Transportation Airports, aviation history, bicycling, bike trails, carmakers, highways, hiking trails, infrastructure projects, motorcycle clubs, potholes, public transit, public transit history, public transit memories, rush hour, scenic driving tours, trains, train stations, walking routes, walking tours