Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tips for Getting Noticed

In my last post, I commented about the lure of Oprah, noting that getting on Oprah might not impress anybody but your mother. That doesn't mean you shouldn't shoot for the big time, though -- however that is defined for your organization. Approach your publicity goal-setting the way ambitious high school seniors approach the college application process: They apply to a mix of schools that include a few they know they'll get into for sure -- their "safety" schools -- and to one or two "reach" schools -- those colleges they'd love to go to, but which might be out of their reach academically.

When it comes to generating publicity, start with your safety media outlets -- those that are local -- before going after your reach options -- the national outlets where there's much more competition. Here are some ways you can do this:
  • Make sure you're doing or offering something newsworthy. If what you've got is ordinary or run-of-the-mill, you're not going to get the media attention you seek. When your product or service alone isn't newsworthy, brainstorm about how you can make it more attention-getting, special or unusual. Sometimes this involves a special event -- if you produce an organic pancake mix, for example, create the world's largest blueberry pancake -- or an extreme act of generosity, such as volunteering to refurbish donated cell phones to distribute to battered women as a safety measure.
  • Start with your local media as a way of getting in front of the national media. Publicity begets publicity, and the national shows get ideas for stories and guests from local media outlets.
  • Use your local TV stations to get the on-camera experience the national TV shows like their guests to have. The high-profile programs want to be sure you can handle yourself professionally on camera.
  • Pay for media training. If you're shooting for the big time, you want to put your best foot forward when you do those local TV interviews that will become your "demo DVD" for the national shows.
  • Once you've had some local media successes and experience, connect with the public relations department of the trade association you belong to. Association PR people receive inquiries from reporters looking for sources, so you want them to know what you're doing and why they will want to refer reporters to you.
  • Leverage everything so that you continue to move up the ladder. Use interviews with local publications to help secure interviews with national outlets. Post links to online clips on your Web site to help position your organization as an expert resource.

And don't forget to plan for your success. Creating a publicity plan helps you set those essential goals and figure out what strategies and tactics will help you reach them.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is some great advice!