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Free Publicity - A Great Way To Get Journalists To Call You
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One of the best ways to get repeated free publicity from the same media outlet is to become an expert source. An expert source is the go-to person that reporters call whenever they are working on a story related to a certain topic.
So how can you achieve this exalted status?
The first thing to do do is establish a relationship with a local reporter who covers your area of expertise. If you don't know of one, read the local papers or watch the local news broadcasts to see who covers what.
For example, if you're in the natural health field, find out who covers health. Then think of some possible ideas that might make good stories for the health reporter.
Next, create a list of local experts who can address the topics. You might want to contact these experts to be sure they want the publicity. Be sure to include your own name and contact information on the list if you are an expert on any of the topics.
The stories must have a news hook and are not simply a promotional pitch. Often, you can get ideas from trade publications, that is, periodicals that are written for professionals in your field. Look for stories about trends, new products, and such. Brainstorm ways in which they might have a local angle.
One great way to get free publicity from the media is to generate some controversy. Journalists love it. If you come across a controversial topic, consider adding that to your list of story ideas.
Next, call or email the journalist who covers health. If you call, introduce yourself briefly. Very briefly. Tell him you would like to send some possible story ideas from time to time on natural health, with a list of local experts who will speak to these issues. Then get off the phone and send your story pitches-unless the journalist wants to talk longer.
Or, simply email your list of story ideas. Introduce yourself and mention your credentials in the beginning of the email. Indicate that you will send ideas from time to time. You can usually get the email address of a journalist by calling the main phone number of the media outlet.
If the reporter likes any of your suggestions, you've helped her in two ways. First, you've given her a great story. Second, you've saved her a lot of time doing research because you've provided a list of experts to interview. When the reporter does the story, a couple of things might happen. You can be one of the experts who gets quoted. Or, you might not. Either way, you win. In the first case, you've gotten some publicity.
In the second, at lease you've established the beginning of what could be a long-term relationship. The reporter now knows who to call to find out who some of the experts are on certain topics. If you don't know who might be appropriate for a given topic, offer to find out. Your assistance will be remembered.
If you are continually helpful, eventually, you will be one of the experts who gets most of the free publicity. Plus you have an open door to pitch stories that might feature only you.
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