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Your publicity is all about them

07 March 2011

What you should know about your business before pitching your story to a journalist (that no one else will tell you).

There are a lot of reasons why people want to hear about your business, and it's often all about them - not you.

How often do you ask your customers what they love about you? Their answers can be an enlightening insight into how your business is perceived.

Similarly, your success securing media coverage is dependent on your ability to think about what journalists and their readers find interesting, recognising that great news for your business might not be of any interest to anyone else outside your immediate family.

However, and here's the twist, by identifying the pain points that might bring clients to your business, you can begin to suss out hot topics or new story angles you can weave your business into in order to achieve media interest.

Remember, your publicity is all about them - the end-reader or listener. The journalist serves as a gate-keeper to that audience, the final decision maker who decides if your story will 'get a run'.

What have you done that's 'new' lately?

Do you have a new product or service? Is it new to you or to the market in general? Rather than shouting all the features and benefits of your new offering, have a think about what it is that isn't already available to the market and pitch your story all about that unique selling point.

For example, if you offer mobile dog grooming especially for show dogs, rather than simply promote your service and battle to stand out from all the others dog groomers, instead pitch a story about the pressures on participants on the dog show circuit. You come across as an expert (you're at the shows, you've seen the pressures first hand) and readers make connections based on that.

The difference is subtle, but important. Publicity and PR is about influencing opinions, which then reflect positively back to you.

Forget how fast, how bright, how shiny. It's the why!

I always say, don't focus on your widget's features. Instead, get publicity for clients who are doing something amazing with one of your widgets. Focus on why your widget has helped them, not how. Highlight their achievements to a trade publication and keep the story about the client. Not only will you strengthen client relationships, your product will be shown in the exact light it should to attract other potential clients.

If you've had a phenomenal spike in sales, work out the why. That you've made more sales is not news in itself. But if you address why all of a sudden people are coming to you, you can find your news hook. People may be seeking particular services or buying in a particular area or taking advantage of a particular grant or loophole. Find out why and develop your news story from there.

Go niche as often as you can

Finally, your products might be wonderful but not necessarily stand-out unique. That's not to say you have to miss out on publicity. Research the media your target audience would read or listen to. Call up the media organisations and ask for a list of upcoming features. Then try your hand at placing your products as part of a wider feature or buyer's guide - or send them to a stylist for inclusion in a photoshoot with other products. Register with www.sourcebottle.com.au, a free subscription service that emails 'call outs' for sources from journalists and bloggers. The media opportunities are out there, so put yourself up in lights!

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