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THE SOCIETY OF MIDLAND AUTHORS

February 2009 Publicity Tip

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Invest some sweet equity if you want good publicity
by
Tom Ciesielka from TC Public Relations

Perhaps some of you haven't noticed the red heart cut-outs in all the windows or the "What to Get Your Sweetie for Under $10" articles on msn.com – but it's February, the glorious month when we take time to profess our love to that special man, woman or chocolate bar.

Since the idea this month is to focus on relationships, I'd like to promote myself as an expert "matchmaker." You want a date with the media? You got it. You want the reporter eating out of the palm of your hand? No problem. Public relations can be boiled down to finding the right news reporter to report on your story. Here are just a few things to remember when wooing the media.

Say the Right Things to the Right Person at the Right Time
Yes, that is a lot of things to get right, but don't fret. It's quite easy. Rule #1: Don't say "Your blue eyes make me melt" to a green-eyed person when that person is about to sneeze. That would be wrong, wrong and wrong. What you should do is find the right time to contact a media outlet by looking at editorial calendars and reading their most recent articles. Find the right reporter by searching by beat or topic specialty. Then say the right thing by being relevant and pertinent to their beat.

Don't Exaggerate the Truth to Try and Score Points
Don't claim to be an expert on the recession when all you are familiar with are receding hairlines. Talking yourself up does no good in the dating world nor does it do anything in the business world, besides give you a bad rep. Using a fabricated story to make yourself look better will backfire every time. Remember, reporters do their research. Be truthful, yet tell your news in a captivating way. It is similar to the art of joke-telling. It is all in the delivery.

You need to deliver your message yet avoid going overboard.

Keep a Good Thing Going
When a date goes well, what do you do? Call and ask for another. If a story about you or your company runs well, keep the reporter who wrote it in your "Hot Contacts" list. Forget the "wait three days" rule. When you again have information that would interest the same reporter, don't just sit on it, wishing and hoping that the reporter calls you. Think of it this way: Every relationship needs reassurance. Reassure reporters that you are a credible source by sending them information and ideas to help with their stories.

Once you've established that relationship, you need to keep it going and keep it strong.

These tips will put you on the fast-track to finding the perfect media match, but if you prefer, you can always resort to those red heart cut-outs and "What to Get Your Sweetie for Under $10" articles mentioned previously.


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