We all know what an electricity generator is and does, but when it comes to getting media exposure for your business, how good is your “publicity generator?” If you think about it, there are a lot of similarities between the two. Whether it’s your business’ electricity generator or its publicity generator that fails …either way you will be left in the dark. The key to “seeing the light” is knowing how to generate your own “publicity electricity” and plugging yourself into multiple outlets – media outlets that is.
Whether its magazines, newspapers, TV, radio or the increasingly popular online news outlets, media sources all over the nation are constantly in search of stories from small and large businesses. EVERY business in the world has at least some element of it that is newsworthy. It just requires you to fire up that publicity generator and shine some light on it for the media to see.
WHERE DOES “PUBLICITY ELECTRICITY” COME FROM?
There are a number of publicity angles, but the most well received publicity campaigns I have ever managed involved “problem/solution” businesses or products. Media outlets, especially trade specific ones, will often profile businesses or products that are uniquely solving a problem in a respective industry. It helps to present the editor with the problem, then provide some brief research or statistics – not sales or ad text, just facts – and show how your business/product can help solve the problem. Case studies work great. Show an editor or reporter how your business positively affected one of your clients and how it can provide similar benefits to others. This may also help get some free publicity for your client as well.
Other great “newspegs” are novelty or human-interest elements. If your business has a product or service that is truly unique, unprecedented or cutting-edge, that lends itself very strongly to an effective publicity campaign. A “newspeg” gives the editor/reporter/producer the reason to run your story as opposed to the hundreds, if not thousands of other story ideas that he/she sees each week. To say that you have a new “widget” is not enough. What is different about this widget? What implications does the business/product have and how would it affect the industry or consumer market? And finally, and most times overlooked, is there an intriguing human-interest story involved? Where did the idea come from? Did anything interesting happen during the business/product development stage? Or do the people “behind the scenes” of the business have interesting story to tell? All of these newspegs are potential publicity generators for you and your business.
PLUGGING IT IN
Now that you have your viable publicity generating prongs, how do you find the media outlets in which to plug them? Conduct meticulous media market research to find those outlets applicable to your campaign. In my extensive research for my clients, I find media outlets whose editorial profiles match the client’s business/product profile and pitch accordingly. You or your staff can do the media research at a local library or you can find a PR specialist or agency that can help you. Another great way is to use editorial calendars of media outlets and plug yourself into those opportunities. If you find that a magazine or newspaper is planning an upcoming feature on Innovative New Office Products, prepare your media kit for your “new widget” and pitch the appropriate editor.
One bit of advice — “don’t expect exclusive and extensive.” Very few businesses or products (with the exception of publicly traded ones) get multi-page stories written exclusively about them. Although that can certainly happen, most mentions are in the context of a themed story or article, but can generate very strong responses.
I’m sure you’ll find that once you generate your best “publicity electricity” — you will be “shocked” at the interest you can generate.