Imagine an all-you-can-eat buffet where the cost of the meal has been covered but there’s only enough roast beef for 10 people. Now, imagine that those 10 people will be selected not on a first-come, first-served basis, but on the subjective decision of the carver. There’s a rush for the roast beef station and people clamor for the chef who’s holding the carving knife. To get your serving you’ll have to do something other than raise your voice to try to get the chef’s attention.
Journalists are like the chef carving the roast beef. They’ll have only so many stories for each issue, and a great many people clamor to get their attention so that it’s their particular story that’s selected over everyone else’s. You on the other hand, are like the customers at the all-you-can-eat buffet. How do you get someone’s attention, someone to notice your work, engage with your, buy your book and perhaps eventually become a client?
The upside of public relations is that it’s effective and relatively inexpensive compared to traditional advertising. The downside is that it can be just as effective and inexpensive for everyone else, too. Since only a few people will get their stories told in the media, there’s stiff competition to get the attention of journalists and reporters. Even in our current age of continuous news cycles, countless blog sites and increasing niche publications online, you are still one voice among many hoping to be heard.
At that all-you-can-eat buffet, some people assume that the chef at the carving station might have devised a system to figure out which people should receive the limited supply of roast beef. News media have similar systems. You have to figure out a way to get the attention of the media.
For you and your work to attract notice from the media, you first identify the news organizations and journalists and bloggers most likely to be interested in your story. You can find this out by becoming aware of the what stories certain journalists write, with specialized publications that touch on your niche area. Once you’ve done this, you contact the media and give them what they want, not what you want to tell them.
Remember â€“ the media is looking for a story. And important: the media will always ask you these questions: Why now? Why this story? What’s important? Why should I care?
We’ll address these questions and further media strategies in our next few posts.
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