Part of promoting a book or even becoming known as an expert in your subject area as a journalist or business person involves getting media exposure. Becoming a favorite (or even an occasional) guest on radio or television news or talk shows involves more than just knowing the tricks of the public relations trade. In fact, possibly the best thing you can do initially involves understanding how the media does its job. Then you can help journalists do their jobs better. In fact, as an expert that’s what you are doing: You are reaching out to help them provide the best possible or most unique story for their audience. Learning how to pitch that story, of course, is essential as well. (You can learn how to do that here or here.)
Today, my new guest blogger, Michelle Tennant Nicholson, a 20-year PR veteran and chief creative officer of Wasabi Publicity, offers a wonderful look into how journalists create stories and how writers, authors, businesspeople, and experts of all sorts support the media. By helping the media do its job better, you can boost your own exposure to the general public through the media. It’s a win-win situation.
Empowering the Media to Boost Your Exposure
By Michelle Tennant Nicholson
In all the major cities and smaller markets across the U.S., news reporters, editors and producers are planning their coverage for the day, the hour, or in the case of weeklies and magazines, weeks or months ahead. The old news cycle in which newspaper reporters filed their stories for the next day’s paper is history. Now those same reporters and editors are planning what Web updates they will make throughout the day to stories already underway, as well as which stories they will roll out online and which ones will wait for the next print edition.
The best reporters have a knack for pumping out major scoops and material suited for the front page. Since editors decide where stories appear in print and online editions, the reporter will try to meet and hopefully exceed her editor’s expectations. This little scenario is played out countless times each day in newsrooms across America. From newspapers to local TV stations to CNN and FOX, everyone is watching the Google headlines to see what other media have already covered. Editors and producers brainstorm to find new, unexplored and compelling story angles and reaction from their audience. The traditional media venues (hard copy, broadcast) feed traffic to their own websites, and the websites drive viewer/reader/listener traffic back to the print and broadcasts.
This sped-up 24-hour news cycle means that media of all kinds are looking for sources and experts every hour of every day on the breaking news they cover, from hard news about the economy, crime and war to features in entertainment, health, politics, religion, relationships…every topic!
That means there are more opportunities than ever for you to get your business or expertise covered by the media. Remember, in the media everyone is always watching what the others are doing. TV stations read newspapers. Newspapers watch TV and listen to radio. Everyone keeps their Web browsers and Google search terms constantly updated to see what’s new, what’s breaking and what are the gaps that provide opportunities for fresh coverage. While all media want to get the big scoop, they also all know the art of repackaging stories with new angles, such as local tie-ins or expert commentary, to give their audience something “newsy” even for stories that are being recycled through their 10th or 12th news cycle.
Good coverage in one venue begets more good coverage. Look for those reporter blogs, email addresses and other entry points, such as public feedback forums on media websites. Editors often monitor their forums to gauge reaction and look for new angles. Send the reporter an email or leave them a voice mail (chances a busy reporter will pick up the phone are increasingly rare) with a tempting hint of how you can add to their story. Remember they are running around like crazy trying to feed this 24-hour news cycle so don’t get upset if they don’t get back in touch with you on the first or even the second story. Be polite, be persistent and most of all, provide the reporter with valuable content. In doing so, you will build long-term relationships and lay the groundwork for future coverage, cooperation and empowerment.
About the Author
Twenty-year PR veteran and chief creative officer of Wasabi Publicity Michelle Tennant Nicholson’s seen PR transition from typewriters to Twitter. Called a five-star publicist by Good Morning America‘s Mable Chan, Michelle specializes in international PR working regularly with the likes of Oprah, Larry King, BBC, The Today Show, and all major media. Recently she secured a Dr. Phil placement for a client within eight hours of signing the contract. Contact her at PR blog http://www.StorytellerToTheMedia.com where she teaches tips from the trade.