Word of mouth marketing is the key to many businesses’ success; however publicity is the ideal way to communicate information like grand openings, product launches, fundraising events, or anything a person deems newsworthy for his or her business.
Catching the attention of journalists can be quite a challenge because they receive tons of potential stories to sift through in order to ascertain which is most worthy of headlines. It is common to pitch a story to a variety of reporters and pray that they’ll be willing to pick it up and publish it. There is no need to boast from one’s soapbox and beg a reporter to run a story. Instead, following a few of Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations principles would prove particularly helpful when drumming up publicity:
2. Give honest, sincere appreciation- Samuel Johnson once said, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” Before you approach a reporter, put your humility hat on and keep your expectations underneath it. When you actually have the conversation, start off by thanking the reporter for his/her time, even if it’s only a few minutes.
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want- Share compelling information so that the reporter actually wants to publish your story. For example, if you have statistics such as the amount of people that are concerned about the topic or the amount of people that your story will probably impact, share it with the reporter. You have mutual goals of connecting with as many people as possible, his/her for readership and yours for generating interest and new customers.
4. Smile- A smile doesn’t require much energy, yet it has an immediate, positive impact on the recipient.
5. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest, most important sound in any language- When applying principles #2 and #3 above, be sure to say the person’s name to capture and maintain his/her attention.
6. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests- A reporter is more than likely not concerned about your day or how much investment capital you spent on your widget. Focus on the value of the information you are trying to get published and how it will benefit readers.
7. Make the other person feel important- and do it sincerely- Avoid ‘buttering up’ the reporter with generic compliments like, “Love your column!” unless you can provide specific examples such as, “I really enjoyed your article about <insert topic> and agree with everything you said,” only if you truly agree.
If you simply do have time to seek and contact reporters, consider web sites that connect reporters with sources. For example, HARO – Help A Reporter Out connects over 100,000 sources with nearly 30,000 journalists.
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @MarkWillDCT.