Written by Peter Spellman
Media coverage remains one of the best ways to get your signal through all the noise out there. As we daily battle with “data smog”, people are finding themselves gravitating to reliable media sources for news, for information, and for point of view. So media in all its forms remains a valuable channel for exposure and promotion.
Today there are more media than ever before and they all need content: stories, leads, unique events, news of local business alliances, etc. Whether its the New York Times or a micro blog out of Cody, Wyoming – every media outlet is open to fresh content appealing to its audience.
Fortunately for us, 75% of what we read in magazines and newspapers is “planted.” That means it came to the media from outside, from people like you and me. Media publicity, therefore, provides an open door for even the most neophyte publicist to explore.
Dollar for dollar, hour for hour, publicity may very well be the best investment you can make for you marketing and promotion program. Think of it like this: if you were to purchase space for a “6 x 8” one-time display ad in The Boston Globe, you’d pay about $2000 (on top of the costs to design the ad). But if you get a story written about you in the same publication, and it takes up the same amount of space, you’re $2000 ahead of the game!
Publicity is more credible than paid advertisements too. You can make any product claim you want in an ad, and consumers know it. A journalist or reporter, however, doesn’t have to feature you in their publication and, by doing so, lends more credibility to what you’re about. Of course, the downside is you don’t control the message when you don’t pay for it.
Here’s a tip for generating publicity: hook your project (or event, or news) to something that already has momentum. For example, take a look at the calendar. Can you tie your story or event in with a holiday or other special day? What about Earth Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentines Day? All of these already have momentum and media attention. How can you hitch your wagon to them?
And don’t just limit yourself to the standard calendar everyone knows. Sometimes the more far-fetched the better. Check out some of the more unusual calendar dates too. For example, did you know March is “Music in Our Schools Month” and March 9 is Barbie’s Birthday? August is “Foot Health Month”; October “Hispanic Heritage Month”. February 26 is “Tell a Fairy Tale Day.” There are thousands more.
You and your team will have to do some brainstorming on this but it’ll be worth it. Try finding a common ground, a resonance point, where you can tie in with what’s already happening and then pitch that to the media. It’s fun, creative and economical.
Plus, it can generate some valuable buzz for your project.
About Peter Spellman
Peter Spellman is the Director of The Career Development Center, as well as an associate professor, at Berklee College of Music