How To Get Ahead By Using The Media To Publicize Your Service, Product,
Organization, or Idea
by: Dr. Kevin Nunley
media exposure may be all you need to take your product or service to
the next level. How often have you seen someone get a little exposure
on TV or in the newspapers and see a BIG boost in sales as a result?
It happens everyday.
Luck? Sometimes. But more often than not, the business succeeded because
its leader knew how to use the media. We live in a huge mass society.
Even if you shake 100 hands a day, you could only meet a tiny fraction
of those people in your working lifetime. The only way to reach the masses,
or even the majority of your target customers, is to use the media.
A recent business
bulletin board session featured one entrepreneur complaining that advertising
was too expensive and none of her many press releases to the media had
ever netted any coverage.
guessed that only one in every 20 press releases is ever used and the
whole process might be futile. Finally, a third entrepreneur pointed out
that maybe the failing press releases hadn't been newsworthy.
In order to get your
product, service, organization, or idea into the media, you have to talk
the media manager's language. You must hit what I call the Media Manager
First, target your
message to the medium that is most interested in your type of story. Television
goes for a mass audience. Radio seeks a very tightly focused demographically-skewed
Magazines touch a
specialized regional or national readership. Your local paper goes for
a very local angle. Media is ultra-fractionalized these days and each
outlet tries to stake out its own little corner of the audience. Think
about which media outlet in your community addresses your target customers.
There are several
topics that media managers almost always go for. If you can think of a
way to combine your message with one of these topics--you're in.
Is your story trendy? At any given time there are certain topics
that the media seems to be beating to death. It may be reduction of crime,
or new schools, or the city's sorry streets. Find some way to connect
your message to the media's latest trend.
Does your message fit with one of America's cherish beliefs? Story
lines such as "the little guy takes on corruption" or "formerly
poor single mom takes on the business world and succeeds" or "one
guy gets fed up and cleans up his neighborhood" are stories the media
always jumps for. Even if you're selling gum, there is probably
some way for you to connect your business with one of the many stories
that fit into the cherished belief mold.
Does your message tie into a topic of mass interest? Media
frequently does surveys to find out the community's top five concerns.
The results are almost always the same. Crime, kids, schools, roads, employment.
The media always covers topics like these.
Can you relate your message to some community scandal? The
media loves to cover things that get people worked up. Corruption, dishonesty,
cover-ups, illicit sex (their favorite), racism, bully-ism, and any other
-ism you think of. Perhaps you can position yourself as a good guy taking
on an "-ism."
Is your message a reporter's pet subject? Under this category
absolutely anything has a chance of getting in the media (and it often
accounts for some of the strange stuff you see in the media). Get to know
media folks whenever possible. Radio DJs are especially approachable.
Stop by the studio of your favorite station with a box of donuts and start
a friendship. Your favors will be returned on the air.
The bottom line is
this: think like the media, shape your message to fit their likes. Do
that and your message has a good chance of being used. Above all, don't
let up. While one media manager may not have the slightest interest in
your idea, another will welcome you with open arms. The media needs piles
of fresh stories everyday.
Hang in there and
make sure your product, service, organization or idea is one of those
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