Sounds simple enough, right? But what does it mean? When I retired from TV news last summer to launch my own PR firm, I promised myself to always grab the easy stuff for my clients first—in other words, the stuff the media is already giving you.
When reporters are going crazy about one topic, you can’t beat ’em…so you might as well join them. For instance, this is the anniversary week of the government’s raid on the polygamist sect in West Texas. Oprah got an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour and is dedicating a whole hour to the topic on Monday. It begins a week of anniversary pieces that you’ll see on the news.
My PR firm represents a couple of attorneys who dropped what they were doing one year ago and headed to San Angelo to represent children they didn’t know—and they didn’t make a dime. They were among 400 attorneys who did the same. It may be the largest pro bono effort in history. We’re getting my clients out in front of the media this week to reflect on the lessons learned.
Problems that Need Solving
When a reporter does a story about a problem that needs fixing, be the solution.
Right now there are lots of news stories about the flooding in the Upper Midwest…but I’m also starting to see local stories of volunteer groups packing up and headed to help. When the media points out a problem, it’s almost obligated to cover the story when you call up and announce that you’re coming to the rescue.
Tying into a holiday is easy. Yesterday the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce held an Easter egg hunt for visually impaired children and received widespread coverage.
The images of children searching for eggs that make a “beeping” noise was too irresistible for the media to pass up. The DJCC’s story on Saturday is just the first of a wave of Easter stories that you’ll see over the next couple of weeks.
The next time you find yourself talking back to the TV set when the news is discussing something that you have expertise in, reach out to the media and suggest a followup.
What makes you an expert? If you do it for a living, you’re an expert. If you’re a Realtor, you’re a real estate expert. If you’re a lawyer, you’re a legal expert.
Trust me, this low hanging fruit is all around you. The next time you find a story that’s ripe, have the courage to call a journalist and harvest some free publicity.