Blog Sense

Friday, June 16, 2006

How to Get Featured in the Media

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There are several ways to get yourself or your business featured in the media, each requiring different skills, efforts, and/or costs. If you'd like to experience the benefits of publicity, here are your ways in.

1) Do Nothing.

That is, do nothing specifically for publicity. If you're running a professional business that's got some visibility already, the media may stumble across you while writing a feature story, and they may want your input for the story.

I actually found my way onto NPR this way once when they were doing a story on love letters. As a writer for hire, I was briefly interviewed about being hired to write love letters for other people and I was quoted within their show.

More recently, a newswire writer quoted me in a story on wedding speeches since I write these for people (http://www.speechcrafter.com), and this appeared in a number of newspapers. And most recently, a writer for a high-traffic blog was interested to know more about ghostwriting, so I got an exclusive feature story (in the form of an interview) about my site, http://www.writerforyou.com.

Relying on the media to find you, though, means missing out on a lot of potential publicity. What follows are more active approaches.

2) Become an Expert Source.

As you can see in #1 above, media look for experts to feature in their stories. Get yourself into an expert source database and the media can more easily find you. Databases include:

http://www.profnet.com

http://www.prleads.com

http://www.prvade.com

The first two offer more traffic and cost more. The latter costs less and has less traffic, but also offers other benefits.

3) Send Out Press Releases.

If you can write a solid press release, you have some solid news or a great story angle, and you send the release out through the right channels at the right time, you can indeed get publicity with this approach.

Of course there's plenty to learn about each of those elements, and a lot of so-called experts make some grave errors about their approaches to writing and distribution. If you're doing this yourself, take the time to read through several sources to get a balanced viewpoint in how to do this.

If you're hiring someone, make sure to ask some questions. Ask for definitions of hard news, soft news, and feature stories. Ask their opinions about what can be sent out as a press release. Ask if they can explain the difference between traditional newswires and modern "Direct PR" newswires (such as PR Web). Can they compare results between the two?

You may not know the answers to these questions ahead of time, but if you're asking a few professionals, you could get a good education and find out who seems the best bet for helping you.

4) Query the Media Directly.

If you have specific media you want to get into, there's no point in sending out general press releases. After all, a general release is up against a LOT of competition and costs hard cash.

Figure out who your target audience reads, watches, or listens to, then approach those media. Pitch an article in which you can educate the audience and get a byline (much like with this article), or ask if you can send in a press release (and how they'd like to receive it).

Getting in touch with editors directly gives you better odds for success and, since you don't face the cost of press release distribution in this case, you can save a lot of money and potentially get more exposure.

Hopefully this is a good introduction to your paths to publicity. You can learn more about various forms of publicity and how to use them through a free e-mail course at http://www.prvade.com/ecourse.html.

About the Author

Steve McCardell owns and writes for PRvade (http://www.prvade.com). PRvade provides an Expert Source database as well as writing and distribution of press releases, feature stories, and articles. They also provide exposure for clients through widely distributed online articles. -


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