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January 2009 Publicity Tip

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Oh, baby – Spoonfeeding the news media with success
by
Tom Ciesielka from TC Public Relations

'We made it!”

That is what my wife and I said to each other as we looked at our first newborn, Elizabeth Katherine.

What Elizabeth said back was, “GAAAAAAAAAA,” which I'm guessing means "Hooray!" in Infantish.

As we look back on 2008, I think it's fair for us all to triumphantly say, “We made it!” We overcame many obstacles to get here (mine included diaper training and breathing exercises) and now we have the year 2009 and a baby staring us in the face.

If you don't actually have a baby in front of you, let's pretend that the media is your baby. What are you going to do to take care of it this year?

How to take care of a media baby:

Feed it (tiny servings)

Just as you wouldn't use a giant spoon to feed your child mashed peas, you wouldn't send an essay to get a reporter's attention. They don't have time for that. All they have time for is subject lines (from e-mails). So make sure yours is a good one. If the reporter does read further, use two lines and two lines only to state your case and how it will appeal to their audience. Less is more effective. This year, think brevity.

Do what makes it laugh (again & again & again)

I have a theory that whenever a baby laughs, anyone around the baby becomes transfixed and suddenly making the baby laugh again is the most important thing in the world. Try thinking that way about receiving a media mention. Once that happens, make achieving another mention the most important thing in the world. Think about what you did or said that grabbed the reporter's attention. Perhaps you contacted a reporter with new information about a previously published story or you linked your story to a pertinent issue in society. Whatever you did, take note and do it again!

Buy tiny baby accessories (for every occasion)

I actually see a lot of people doing this for their dogs these days, but that's beside the point. If it's going to rain, make sure you have a baby umbrella. If it's sunny, have baby sunglasses. My point is that you never know what the media is going to need, OR want. Having photographs, charts, graphs and other supplemental materials and information can score major bonus points with reporters. The trick is to not initially shove it down their throats. Mention that you have "such and such" should they need it to help their story. They will then let you know if they want it.

You are now prepared for a harmonious year with your media baby. Just be thankful media babies don't come with dirty diapers, spit-up binkies or college funds. Ahhh the true joys of parenthood!


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