Media releases work best when they have a hook, and one of the most reliable ways to generate publicity is to tie in with current news stories. I’ll show you how.
As soon as news outlets began covering Madonna’s upcoming move to New York City, astute real estate agent Barbara Corcoran sent out a media release detailing the types of amenities and neighbourhoods Madonna would likely be looking for when shopping for a new home.
To illustrate her points, Barbara used properties her own real estate business was selling, and in the process received some great media coverage for herself and her properties. As an added bonus, within a week she’d also received a call asking her to act as Richard Gere’s realtor.
You don’t need to wait for Madonna to move into your suburb to generate publicity for your business. The trick is to start thinking a little more laterally whenever you see the news headlines.
Piggy-back off the news
So what’s been in the news lately that could help you generate publicity for your business? Here are a few ideas:
- Kristina Keneally becomes the first female Premier of NSW: A style consultant could give tips on presentation and style for maximum impact in business along the lines of ‘What Kristina Keneally will be wearing to rescue NSW in 2010′. (Yes, this could be controversial! But while Ms Keneally should be judged on her actions not her clothes, women in the public eye are regularly judged on their looks, and some soloists may be able to capitalise on that).
- Interest rate changes: Mortgage brokers could offer hints and tips on a healthy mortgage. Financial planners could offer budget tips for anyone who’s feeling the crunch or is prone to over-spending.
- The relationship woes of the rich and famous: Counsellors, psychologists, doctors and even women’s refuges are all well placed to comment on the love life sagas we often see played out in the media.
- Home-owners in NSW warned after a spate of fires sparked by shoddily installed ceiling insulation: A licensed tradesman could offer advice on what homeowners should look for when choosing ceiling insulation.
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Understand what’s newsworthy
Knowing what makes news will help you come up with tie-in topics. Anything that appears on radio, television or in print does so because a journalist or editor has deemed it newsworthy. There are eight elements to consider:
1. Immediacy: Reporting something that has just happened or is about to happen. Time is a strong ingredient, so try to use words and phrases like ‘Today’, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Early this morning’, or ‘Tomorrow’.
2. Proximity: Facts and occurrences that are important to you personally have proximity. Examples may include interest rates or the impact of the drought. The question most asked by journalists is: “If this happened outside my immediate area, my city, my state, would I be interested in reading about it?”
3. Prominence: Holders of public office, people in positions of influence and other public figures all enjoy news prominence. If you host an event with a guest speaker and are seeking publicity, then choose a speaker who is well known enough to command attention, either by their reputation or by the nature of the topic to be discussed.
4. Oddity: The bizarre, the unusual and the unexpected often make news. As an example, people who perform striking feats in emergency situations are news, such as a woman lifting an automobile off her child.
5. Conflict: Conflict is an element that’s commonly observed in today’s news, with the clash of ideologies making headlines worldwide.
6. Suspense: Suspense creates and expands news appeal. For the most part, businesses rarely experience this type of circumstance, but one example is the media hype and speculation leading up to the launch of a new Apple product.
7. Emotions: Human interest stories that stir our recognition of basic psychological and physical needs often generate news.
8. Consequence: For a story to have consequence, it must be important to a wide audience, and have some impact on them.
Keeping these guidelines in mind will help you determine whether your message is news, an announcement, a feature, or an item of limited public interest. From there you’ll be able to decide on the appropriate format to use for distributing the information and the medium that you’re best to target.
Are you a PR-superstar? Share how you generate publicity with us and help those who are camera-shy to step into the limelight, too!