Zero Cost Marketing

Zero Cost Marketing – Planting Stories In The Media To Make Money

How To Make Money Online Using Mainstream Media

One of the most effective ways to gain publicity is to have your company mentioned in a positive manner by the local or national media. When this happens, potentially millions of people will learn about you, and many will flock to your web site to find out more. A mention in the national media usually spurs others in the media to contact you for follow-up articles, and requests for radio and TV interviews.

Of course, getting a positive story about your product or company in the media isn’t always easy. Most media sources are flooded with press releases, all vying for the attention of the writer and editor with hopes of seeing publication. To sort through this flood of press releases, most media writers develop a subconscious ‘BS’ filter to help them quickly eliminate all but the most interesting press releases. Here’s how to get past the ‘BS’ filter and onto the pages of the press.

Make Money Online: Eight Steps To Getting Media Attention

Pick A Target – Before you start writing your press release (hereinafter referred to as your ‘story’), determine where you want the story to appear. Do you want it to appear in your local or regional newspaper or a national publication? The target destination makes a big difference on how you should craft your story.

For example, if you want the story to appear in a local publication, the headline should have a local connection – usually the name of local city or region.

Choose just one target and then choose a writer within the target publication to submit your story to (read recent issues of the publication to find writers who cover your subject area).

Understand What Writers/Editors Want – A writer for a publication wants to impress his editor with an unusual or interesting story, which will make readers of the publication happy.

An editor has the job of reviewing story ideas presented by writers and choosing which of the stories his readers will find so interesting they will buy the next issue. If you can provide the writer with a story that makes him look good to the editor, you increase the odds the story will see print. However, if you provide the standard press release (‘XYZ company announces new product’), it is unlikely to be read by the writer or presented to the editor for consideration.

Understand The Mission – Your mission is not to have a long article written about your product or company; that won’t happen unless you are involved in some criminal activity (and if that’s the case, the publicity won’t be positive). Your mission is to have the name of your company (and the address of the website) mentioned in a positive manner in a story that people actually read. Just getting a single mention of your company or product in a well read story is all you want especially if that story is picked up nationally.

Start With An Intriguing Headline – Writers and editors know that headlines sell newspapers. By habit, writers and editors skim the headlines of all submitted press releases and articles to see if anything intrigues them or catches their attention.
Most press releases fail miserably at having an attention getting headline – almost all have the same format �XYZ Company announces a new product� (see for examples).

Media writers and editors don’t care about XYZ Company and they know their readers don’t care either. What they are looking for is a good human-interest story that will cause readers to say ‘did you read the story in ABC paper about . . . ‘. Media editors and writers will probably reject XYZ Company announces a new product’, but they will probably be intrigued by a headline like ‘Movie producers heading to Port Charlotte’.

Keep in mind that you are writing a headline for a newspaper�not a sales letter. The headline should be similar to headlines you actually see printed in the ‘Our Town’ section of your newspaper (or the Life section of USA Today).

Follow The Headline With An intriguing Subhead – Right after the headline, have a one or two line subhead that draws the reader into the rest of the story. Often the subhead will be in the form of a question; one so intriguing the reader can’t ignore it. (Again, keep in mind that you are not writing a sales letter . . . the subhead needs to feel like a news story).

Follow Up With A Two-Paragraph Summary Of The Story – To keep the ‘story’ short and appealing to media writers, follow the headline and subhead with two or three paragraphs that summarize the interesting parts of the story. The idea is to make the reader want to find out more. Don’t go into too many details, just enough to get the media writer interested.

Example (For A Local Newspaper):

HMS and Reynolds-Burke-Harvey have made a deal with local video producer Bill Myers to be the executive producer of a new video series being produced in Charlotte County, Florida.

This new series will be shot at several locations within Charlotte County and rely on local talent for on and off screen production work.

According to Myers, �Charlotte County is a great location for video production. The weather, the local talent pool and the available facilities all work in our favor. We are finding that instead of having to trek to Hollywood or New York, the major distributors we work with prefer to come here to do business. They sometimes spend a few extra days to enjoy the great fishing and boating available and even scout locations for future productions.�

In addition to producing this latest series of videos, Myers will be hosting a training camp about the business of independent video production. This event, which is being held in Charlotte County, is expected to draw up to 200 video producers who will spend three days filming different assignments in the area.

In the above example, the name of the local community is mentioned in every paragraph of the press release giving a local connection.

Include A Photo – A photo adds tremendous credibility to the article and conveys much more than you can say in just a few paragraphs. The photo should be shot so as to add more credence to the message being conveyed in the article. Again, the idea is to get the attention of the writer/editor who may not read the story but will scan the photo.

Include Contact Info – Always include contact information, your name, phone number, email, phone and fax. Also mention that you are available for interviews.

Send It Out

If I were going to send out the press release example above, I would print it on quality paper with our company letterhead, place it in 9X12 envelope, and send it to specific writers at the local newspapers, specific talk show hosts at the local radio stations and specific reporters at the local TV stations. To add some interest, I’d probably include a copy of one of the recent DVDs I completed.

Don’t Cry Wolf
As I mentioned earlier, writers and editors are swamped with press releases. They quickly learn which ones are wastes of time and which have potential. Using the guidelines above, you can definitely catch the interest of the media editor. However, be sure your ‘story’ is newsworthy. Don’t get the editors excited and then shortchange them when they check the facts. If you ‘burn’ the editors with your story, they are likely to discount all your future stories. So don’t cry �wolf� unless you have an interesting story with a hook to targeted readers. When done correctly, you can

Make your dreams reality

William Street

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