Know Your Audience: Research Is a Key to Valuable Publicity

Know Your Audience: Research Is a Key to Valuable Publicity

Here is a way to very effectively generate publicity without the need for an expensive agency. The names of the journalists who are currently writing about your product or service specialty area are right in front of you on the Google News section for everyone to see.

For example, I recently wished to generate an article for a client, a non-profit association working in the employment field. I particularly wished to help generate the article on the Associated Press knowing that if I were successful it would be syndicated to thousands of newspapers and other publications. I went to the Google News search bar and typed in “employment” and “Associated Press.” Up came many articles with the bylines of the authors at the top.

Let’s say that in one case the author’s name was Arthur Pascal (not his real name, of course). By surfing around it was not hard to determine how the Associated Press email addresses were configured. It was the first initial and last name@ap.org — so in this case it would be apascal@ap.org. I then wrote to Mr. Pascal suggesting the article I thought was newsworthy. I included as much supporting material as I could and I made as compelling an argument as I could. I did not “hype” my offering but added credibility by backing up my argument with facts as to why my suggestion was original and had not been covered elsewhere.

Two weeks later I got a call from the reporter at the Associated Press. He was interested in researching background for the article I suggested. Thus commenced a period of literally about two months in which this reporter interviewed just about everyone he could find related to the topic I had presented. The Associated Press dates back to the 1840’s and they are very thorough about their credibility and their research.

The wait was well worthwhile. The day after the “A.P.” distributed the resulting article it appeared on more than 50,000 websites (really, 50,000). Soon thereafter the article began appearing in most of the nations’ newspapers. I have now built what I believe to be a great relationship with the journalist and he calls on me for additional story ideas in the same related field.

This, of course, is not an everyday event….but if you go after smaller fish than the Associated Press you have a better chance of getting published. One great advantage of tracking down journalists this way is that you know they are the current people writing about your subject. When you subscribe to a P.R. database most of the names are months old and most of your “pitches” to the media bounce back to you.

The most important thing to remember is to approach journalists with a real story…not a “spin” of the facts in your favor. Also, I believe in sending personal email letters rather than standard P.R. releases. There are sites on the Internet where many as eight releases appear per minute and a little known secret is that there is no one in the media whose job it is to look at these releases…that is why they rarely generate any coverage. Good Luck. I will be reading about you!!

We are grateful to Richard Berman for contributing this valuable information for ActSeed members and readers. Richard was a News Editor for the NBC Nightly News, where he wrote for Tom Brokaw Jane Pauley, Maria Shriver, Connie Chung, Chris Wallace and many other prominent broadcast journalists. Now, as President of Berman & Associates he helps clients as a Publicist, Public Relations Practitioner and Promotional Writer.

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