To make your pitch stand out to a producer or editor, you have to find a counterintuitive hook or shiny new angle that will grab audiences’ attention. And finding that angle often requires some creativity—and a fully stocked pond of inspiration.

Often, experts make the mistake of bearing down on their domain too hard, mining and stripping it for all they can, shaking their fists at the sky when they come up short. But the key to a fresh take is to actually think outside your niche.

The power of your pitch lies in its relevance. And if you’ve got tunnel vision, you miss the little details and nuances of the real world—what’s driving us, what we need, what’s popular, how we relate to one another—that, when weaved into your pitch, make it stand head and shoulders above the rest.

If you’re in desperate need of inspiration, fear not! Here are four places to start looking for it right away.

1. Get out of your head and observe what’s around you

When tunnel vision is at its strongest, sometimes the best move is to grab a cup of coffee, go to the park, and just take in the world around you. Do some people watching, make up colorful backstories, soak in some nature, or narrate the passing dogs inner monologues with fun voices (no? Maybe that’s just us).

Wherever you go or whatever you do, give yourself a moment to get out of your head and just soak in your environment. Watching two entangled dog walkers solve a problem can spark the perfect pitch. Allowing a little silence can give inspiration that was otherwise suffocated much needed room to breathe.

2. Reignite your other passions

The media is obviously looking for passionate experts. But if you’re pulling a Whitney Houston and saving all your love for your work, you’ve got it backwards. Passion begets more passion—and you can risk burnout if you rely on your work as your only source.

Dive back into a hobby. Pick up a book to read for pure pleasure. Indulge in something that provokes a sense of wonder, curiosity, and joy. Big ideas usually strike when you’re lost in something completely different (Einstein said he always got his best ideas in the shower).

But even more importantly, reconnect with the people you love. Spend time with your friends, family, significant other deep in conversation or do something fun. Give yourself a chance to be vulnerable, loved, connected, and comfortable. It’s so much easier to put yourself out there with confidence when you know your emotional safety net is firmly in place.

3. Unplug and reconnect to yourself

In order to stand out to the media, you’ve got to know what your thing is. And since you are the heartbeat of your brand, you’ve got to make time for yourself! Step away from the pitch, away from the computer, turn off the phone (we know, we’re asking a lot) and give yourself some time to unplug.

  • Three pages of stream of conscious journaling can unearth ideas you didn’t know you had.
  • Meditation can remove some of the unconscious blocks that are keeping you stuck. (We love the Calm app!)
  • Try something new and learn about another side of yourself. The better you know yourself, the more specific and interesting your brand will be.

4. Up your pop culture game

Ah, water cooler talk. It’s so deliciously zeitgeisty. The beauty of pop culture—be it TV, movies, music, or viral videos—is that it gives us something to discuss with anyone. Even your coworker with whom you have nothing in common.

But when it comes to your pitch, pop culture opens up a world of metaphors and common experiences that can bridge the gap between your material and the audience. The best of pop culture inspires us to get lost in stories about humans overcoming massive problems. And since, as a media expert, you’re now in the business of solving problems for hundreds of people, getting lost in a story or two can spark the imagination.

Plus, referencing everyone’s favorite Netflix binge shows you’ve got your thumb on the pulse of what’s happening—and that shows producers and editors you understand the demands placed upon them to find relevant, timely content.

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