By Nelson Hudes
Getting the media to pay attention to you and your organization can often be a daunting task. And the challenge of convincing an assignment editor, reporter or columnist that your news, special event or product launch is substantially more newsworthy than the news of another organization can prove close-to-impossible to achieve at times.
Yet, by following a few simple tips, you can fine-tune your public relations efforts and turn blah into brilliant and apathetic into awesome. And that’s the topic this time around as I offer you a quick how-to guide to making your product more newsworthy. The result could be the ability to grab the attention of the media that your organization rightfully deserves.
All The News That’s Fit To Promote
First off, believe me when I tell you that magazines, radio and television stations and web sites all need material to fill up all of that blank space or empty airtime. And who better to provide such material than you? When the process works it can be wonderfully reciprocal – you give reporters and editors and, in turn, they give you the soapbox you need to promote your product or service.
One of the first questions I ask prospective clients is “what’s newsworthy about your story?” Many of them tell me all about how terrific the product or service is. That’s missing the point because when it comes to finding a newsworthy angle you really need to focus on benefits, not on features.
Benefits not features.
This is an old rule of the public relations game that still holds true today. If you can demonstrate key benefits to the media they will be far more interested in what you have to say. For example, rather than promoting just a list of your car’s features by saying “our vehicle comes with front and side-mounted air bags” you would want to promote the benefits of your technology. This might sound something like “our vehicle is the safest on the market due to its revolutionary front and side-mounted air bags which have been shown to protect the driver and front seat passenger in crash test studies.”
See what I mean? By spinning the product focus into a benefits focus you have placed the emphasis on the safety benefits of the product and how it can save lives. That’s far more newsworthy, and of greater interest to the media. And it answers the readers’ challenge of “what’s in it for me?” at the same time.
Another way to hook the media is by connecting your organization to a special event, such as a charity run or auction. By aligning your company with a visible charity or fundraising event you’re not only helping to promote the event, you’re also promoting your company at the same time. The media are eager to spread the word about charitable events, and the public is open to hearing about them. This might be a terrific way to get some badly needed publicity for your company and do a good deed at the same time.
Have you found the “hook” you were searching for? Terrific, now let’s talk about press releases and how you can best get the media interested in your news.
Press Releases Are Not What PR Is All About
Many companies expend huge amounts of energy determining what might be newsworthy to the media, write the press release, and send it out and then nothing. For some bizarre reason there seems to be an expectation that the media will automatically flock to an organization just because a press release was sent out. But your local media receive thousands of press releases every year – this volume of releases almost certainly guarantees your release will get lost in the paper shuffle on some reporter’s desk or in-tray.
That’s why I recommend personal contact as the first prong of your media attack. Pick up the telephone and call your local columnists, reporters and producers. Tell them you have a great story for them, and then use your skills of persuasion to get them hooked on the idea you’re proposing. Once they like what you’re telling them they’ll normally ask you for a press kit, complete with that terrific press release you’ve just written. An invitation to send information is far better than unsolicited material.
Need Help? Enlist The Troops To Fight Your Battles
Can’t find the right “hook” for that media campaign? Need to grab the attention of the local morning show jockeys but they refuse to return your phone calls? When in doubt, turn to a public relations agent who has already established a long-term relationship with these contacts and can open doors that you cannot yet open on your own. Any PR agent worth his or her salt can approach a multitude of media on your behalf, line up show appearances, interviews or the appearance of a television crew at your upcoming fundraiser or product launch, and can do it quickly and professionally.
Whether you do the work yourself, or enlist the services of an experienced public relations agent to do it for you, I’m sure you’ll be able to get the word out about your organization’s products or services and increase your public exposure.
Good luck with your next media campaign!
Nelson Hudes is President Of Hudes Communications International, a PR firm that has had its clients featured in numerous media in the USA and Canada including INC MAGAZINE, THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER, as well as on THE CONAN O’BRIEN SHOW. Hudes has the uncanny ability to spin a story making it irresistible to editors and reporters. For more information on how Hudes Communications International can help your company obtain media exposure, visit www.hudescommunications.com or contact Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (905) 660-9155