There is no guarantee that PR (public relations) will work, but when it does it can be extremely powerful, ask Paris Hilton. There are a few things that every business owner should know about PR. PR offers a lot of reach, creditability and can drive a lot of business into your business weather it be web site traffic or foot traffic. There are a few simple rules of the game that we will cover in this article that will be helpful on your journey to getting in the news.
Rule #1) is to go local! The reason you want to go local is that many media outlets are owned by bigger corporations and if your story has national implications there is the possibility of getting it picked up in the national press. Your local news media is much more willing to listen to your story pitch than is the national media or is Oprah. Remember small media gets big media. We have all seen this on Johnny Carson where their producers will find some sort of obscure article in a backwater newspaper and give it national coverage.
Rule #2) Figure out the best media to use and it can be the local newspaper, the local radio or TV stations and the Internet. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. Typically if the New York Times publishes an article on the front page and the TV stations tend to follow their lead. Some stories are better suited for Newspapers than are TV when they first break. It depends on the visual nature of the story. At My Success Gateway, LLC we have been covered in all 4 big media: Newspapers, TV, Radio and Internet. TV does a great job of telling stories with emotion. Radio does a great job of going into deeper conversations of subjects, sometimes they can beat a story to death. Newspapers are highly visual and stories with charts and diagrams can be well suited towards paper. Internet can be highly segmented, visual, multimedia and can be repurposed and played many times.
Rule #3) Know who to ask for at the media outlets. If you are going to speak with the newspaper you will want to contact the specific reporter who covers your local story whether it be a sports writer, local news writer or an entertainment writer. In television you will want to ask for the “assignment editor” or the “assignment desk” to pitch your story to. For radio, know weather you want your story pitched on Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh and be familiar with that radio show not just the radio station. Call the show up and ask for the “show producer” and pitch the producer. In the internet make sure you talk to the owner of the web site or the editors of the web site.
Rule # 4) Make your story relevant and give it a hook! If you are a masseur and there is a marathon on your city each year create an event for the marathon runners where they can get free massages after the race and explain to them that they can take better care of their bodies by using massages. Then call the TV station and let them know that you, Mr. Expert Masseur will be holding this event (hook) after the marathon for runners who have completed the marathon with back pain.
Rule # 5) Make the story promote able. When the news station is covering other stories and says we will be right back with advice on how to manage your back pain in the upcoming marathon by doing a few simple techniques such as massage. Share this idea with the assignment editor. This is how they are thinking, do their thinking for them, make it easy for them to visualize the story.
Rule # 6) Make sure that there is a payoff for the viewers! The viewers probably already know that there is going to be a marathon in their city and might know some of the runners in the event. The payoff for the runners is to learn how to manage their back pain after their marathon. The TV station will love doing the story because it offers tips on wellness and they are being perceived as a community contributor to the story and this will hold and attract viewers.
Rule # 7) Ask to make the pitch! When talking to the media, the producers, the reporters and the assignment editors are very busy people and you have to get straight to the point, you will have 30 seconds to grab their attention, maybe less. What has worked for me is to be clear and succinct – to the point of what it is that I want to get covered in a story. If you leave a message or pitch a newsroom they will show interest in the story immediately or will discard it. Do not worry about it if they don’t use your story. Pitch them again at a later date with another story, with a different angle.
Conclusion, all businesses have the opportunity to get in the news. It helps when you know how to navigate the newsroom like a professional.