How To Get Publicity By Thinking Like A Journalist

Marsha FriedmanMarsha Friedman is a PR expert with 25 years’ experience developing publicity strategies for celebrities, corporations, and media newcomers alike. In this feature, she shares tips for promoting your brand to the media.

Capturing the attention of the news media is a great way to promote your brand and get your name or your business’ name in front of the masses.

The trick, of course, is to convince print publications or radio and TV stations that they should pay you any mind.

Many small business owners have a hard time envisioning what they can offer the news media, beyond stories that are all about their business, practice, product – or themselves.

That kind of coverage is terrific, of course, but having owned a public relations firm for 25 years I can tell you it’s not easy to get and it’s impossible to sustain. And sustainability is crucial. To stand out in a crowded marketplace, you can’t be a one-hit wonder. You’ve got to stay in front of your audience.

So how do you get journalists and talk show hosts to tell people how incredibly awesome you, your business, your products and your brand are?

It’s simple. You don’t.

Publicity is about getting visibility, credibility and exposure – it’s not about selling. Don’t think in terms of what the news media can do for you. Figure out what you can do for them.

You gain publicity by looking for ways to provide useful, valuable content for the media that is, ideally, tied to something in the news. In other words, you need to think like a journalist, who has no interest in promoting your business or anyone else’s, but is looking for information that would be important, useful or interesting to readers.

That’s where you come in. Are you a financial advisor who can offer TV viewers tips for reducing the amount they pay the IRS? Are you a bakery owner who can provide newspaper readers with recipes for low-calorie desserts during the holidays?

See? In each of those cases, you aren’t selling something. You are offering something.

Let me give you some recent examples of how my public relations firm got publicity for some of our clients.

  • Nearly universal advice. A marriage counselor wanted to bring attention to her practice and Marsha Friedmanher new book. We intrigued the news media with topics such as “Why Are Many Marriages Built for Failure?” and “Why Communication Is the Oxygen that Keeps Relationships Alive,” with her as the expert ready with comments and advice. Since many of their readers, listeners, and viewers are married or planning to marry, she offered the media something they saw as worthwhile. Note that we did not promote her by saying things such as, “Marriage Counselor Wants to Expand Practice.”
  • Bad breath, good angle. A dentist who specializes in diagnosing and treating halitosis has developed a number of products to address that problem. We’ve helped him stay in front of audiences for years with radio and TV talk segment angles such as “How Those Weird Carnival Foods Lead to Foul Breath” and “Will Your Breath Make Cupid Faint this Valentine’s Day?” For all these segments, the dentist is named, his website publicized and occasionally, one of his products is mentioned.
  • Being there for breaking news. The CEO of a company that specializes in cybersecurity wanted exposure in all types of media – print, TV and radio. He turned out to be the right client at the right time. It seemed like every time we checked the news, a private company or government agency was being hacked and personal information about millions of ordinary citizens was being compromised. We scheduled numerous interviews where the CEO commented on why all the cyber information was vulnerable and what could be done about it. We also wrote articles picked up by print and online publications that featured his tips for protecting yourself from hackers. He racked up an amazing amount of exposure for his company.

If you want valuable publicity for your business or product, remember, you need to offer something valuable in return. For TV and radio talk shows, that’s an informative and entertaining interview that will engage the audience. If you do a great job as a guest, the host will have no problem promoting your company and product or service in return. And you can casually work in some mention during your interview as well.

In print, experts are usually identified by their claim to fame, so you may be quoted as Gertrude Smith, owner of Aunt Gertrude’s Pet Sitting Service, and there may even be a reference to your website. Write an article for a publication and it will likely include a bio about you.

All of this will provide more visibility and credibility for you and your product or service while building a brand consumers can fall in love with.

About Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman is a public relations expert with 25 years’ experience developing publicity strategies for celebrities, corporations and media newcomers alike. Using the proprietary system she created as founder and CEO of EMSI Public Relations, an award-winning national agency, she secures thousands of top-tier media placements annually for her clients. The former senior vice president for marketing at the American Economic Council, Marsha is a sought-after advisor on PR issues and strategies. She shares her knowledge in her Amazon best-selling book, Celebritize Yourself, and as a popular speaker at organizations around the country.