Although publicity itself has great commercial value, as a stand-alone marketing strategy it has little chance for growing a business. Prospective customers need to be exposed to your message with greater frequently then periodic publicity alone can provide. But what publicity can do that no amount of advertising can, is intensify the impact and credibility of your firm's current advertising.
Many consumers are skeptical of advertising. They distrust claims they feel are overly promotional and view commercial ads with a degree of suspicion. However the majority of people trust, sometimes blindly, the news media. When your company is in the news your traditional marketing is considered truthful and accurate.
But before you approach the press with your story ideas there's some things you need to know first.
The media has no interest in promoting your business. Tell a reporter you want some free publicity and you'll be talking to air in no time. Reporters are looking for the story behind your product. As with the pool fence, the story was in preventing toddlers from drowning not the fence. We presented them the problem, they let us solve it. That's how publicity works.
Reporters and producers are overworked and usually responsible for developing their own stories. Editors are burdened with the task of reviewing stories from reporters, filling column inches in a newspaper or "air" in the case of a television news broadcast. It takes a lot of "news" to keep things running.
Although a press release is the most common way to contact the media it is not the only way. Reporters also need reliable sources for quotes, local angle opinions on national stories and industry experts.
Becoming a source for your local reporters and producers is a great way to build a relationship and the best way to attract a feature story. Call the media in your town that covers business or human interest topics and introduce yourself. Call the media and offer to be a resource in your field of expertise. Call the media with compelling story ideas.
And remember, all news has a story, but all stories are not news.
Find the story behind your news and call the media!
Michael Hart is a speaker, author, talk radio host and shameless publicity hound. His marketing, publicity and advertising strategies have been featured in: Selling Magazine, Sales and Marketing Executive Report, Creative Selling, The American Salesman, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Closing, and Presentations Magazines, - as well as hundreds of business journals, newspapers, trade magazines and private business publications. Michael is also regularly interviewed for radio, television and podcasts around the globe. He can be reached at Michael@MichaelHartSpeaks.com or through www.MichaelHartSpeaks.com