Monday, June 22, 2009

Want the Media to Cover Your Stories? Pick Up the Phone!

Want the Media to Cover Your Stories? Pick Up the Phone!

Back in January, when that US Airways plane ended up in the Hudson River, the local news here in Phoenix didn't initially learn about the incident through the newswire, but rather from a US Airways employee stationed at Sky Harbor Airport. He saw it on an internal company communication feed - right before the internal feed was turned off - and called the local media to alert them to the situation. Would they have eventually learned of the situation? Of course - but they were able to get a jump on the story because of one alert individual who wasn't afraid to pick up the phone and call them.

How does this relate to you and your real estate business? Well, if you've ever wondered what was the best way to get a reporter to cover your story - this is the answer. Pick up the phone!

Many - if not most - people have the mistaken belief that the media are inaccessible. Not true! The media - print, radio, television, and Internet - need content! And where do they get the vast majority of that content? From the public . . . meaning people just like you.

Now, there is a trick to it, and that is that it is vital that you have something newsworthy for them.

Calling them up to ask them to report on your next networking event is virtually assured to get you nowhere . . . unless there is something spectacular about the networking event. Someone famous is your keynote presenter. Octomom's next door neighbor will be a featured guest. All the proceeds will benefit a charity and you're charging $250 a plate. You get the idea. A standard-fare chicken caesar luncheon is a big snooze to reporters looking for an interesting angle.

Chances are good, though, that you DO have something newsworthy for the media to report on. Or, you can create something newsworthy.

For example, what if you were to stage an old-fashioned street fair in an exciting new area of town? Get a local celebrity to come join you as the featured "dunk tank" guest and MC. Collect nonperishables for a local foodbank, or have vendors contribute money to a local charity.

Do you think something like that would be newsworthy? Perhaps more so in some populations than others. But in the right area, you could actually get a LOT of PR out of a simple event like this, particularly if it occurred on a slow news day.

As my friend and Phoenix PR maven, Eileen Proctor, always says, "Don't do things to get press. But if you do things, get press!"

Whatever you're doing in your business, find the interesting angle. Then, go for it! Pick up the phone and call the media. Write a fantastic news release with a sharp hook and send it to everyone. And then, be well-prepared when they call to follow up.


For answers to your questions about writing, editing, marketing, or design e-mail Laura or visit Write |
Market | Design, where we specialize in teaching our writers to think like marketers!

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