Marcia's Fast Free Course in Media Publicity
The article below is the first
of seven articles that give you a quick,
well-rounded introduction to the fundamentals of
getting media coverage for yourself, your book,
your business or your cause. After reading
this piece, click on "NEXT" to
read the next article in the series.
Extraordinary Media Coverage for Ordinary
by Marcia Yudkin
"But there’s nothing special about my business! It’s totally run-of-the-mill, standard, boring and not worthy of publicity!"
I hear this often when I speak to business groups about getting media coverage. And without exception, just a little bit of probing turns up something interesting that the media would jump to highlight. Once you understand that the publicity angle need not concern the products or services sold by the business, you’ll more easily identify – or create – something newsworthy and let the media know about it.
When I was looking for examples of publicity successes, a man named Chuck told me this story. During a visit with his brother, who owned a hardware store, the brother suddenly said, "Wait a minute," ran outside the store and returned a few minutes later breathless. "I saw the meter maid coming, and I don't want downtown shoppers to get parking tickets. So I put money in the expired meters. One of these days a reporter is going to come along and find out what I'm doing."
"Why not today?" Chuck responded, reaching for the phone and calling the city desk of the local paper. Within two hours a reporter and photographer arrived at the hardware store.
Later in the week a sizable feature portraying Chuck's brother as a civic-minded store owner appeared in the
Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Along with appreciative shoppers, the article quoted someone who argued that this renegade meter feeder was depriving the city of much-needed revenue. On the whole, though, it nicely enhanced Chuck's brother's profile in the community.
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Here's how a coffee dealer – an equally ordinary business – achieved valuable media coverage. In Washington state, Clancy Donlin had launched a fax-on-demand system offering free information by fax about choosing and brewing fine coffee, as a service of his mail-order Coffee of the Month Club. After he mailed his press release to newspapers, the story appeared in 24 papers nationwide and led to Donlin's appearance on "CBS This Morning." Donlin told me that sales for his new company spiked $10,000 higher the month after all this happened.
Years before, I had used a similar strategy to get a media spotlight to shine lucratively on a new firm that would present writing seminars to businesses. Along with our seminar plans, my partner and I created a 900-number that dispensed tips on business writing. Our one-page press release about the
"WordRight Lesson Line" got us onto page one of the Wall Street Journal, in its Business Briefs column. This clipping and others like it gave us tremendous credibility when we went looking for clients.
In these three cases, notice that what got each company media attention was not its central business purpose but something tangential and distinctive, something peripheral and unusual that caught reporters' eyes. Yet when the resulting stories appeared, the halo of publicity glimmered on the everyday aspects of each business as well.
Then Get Gobs of Additional Publicity!
Convert existing content into press
releases for a three-pronged second
round of business visibility: a
good shot at media exposure, new readers
for your content and increased web
traffic. Using the tips in this
report, cash-flow expert Caroline Jordan
spent 15 minutes transforming a set of
tips into a release that got her onto
sites for the Boston Globe, the San
Francisco Chronicle, Fox News, CBS,
ABC, UPI, Banks.com and many others.
strategy for content czars.
Media folks suffer an eternal hunger for distinctive material. When you supply a creative angle, you are helping the city editor who has to fill up a score of pages every day, the TV producer constantly on the hunt for fun and perky topics, or the column writer desperate for information nuggets. Begin reading the papers and listening to the news each day trying to understand what gets coverage and why, and you too will soon wind up in black and white or on the airwaves.
Copyright 2005 Marcia Yudkin.
All rights reserved. NEXT
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