Clients and colleagues often tell me that they want to earn Oprah’s attention or have their stories told on National Public Radio or Good Morning America. I applaud these intentions and suggest that they consider their hometown media first. Why? Because earning media “ink and air” in your own backyard is the first step towards earning the credibility to secure national media placements.
Putting all of one’s eggs in the national media placement basket is a risky strategy at best. The editors and producers at these national media outlets sift through thousands of story pitches every day in search of just the right stories to share with their audiences. The chances of your story rising to the top of the stack without the credibility of prior hometown media coverage are slim.
And, earning national publicity is not for the faint of heart. It takes time, research, great storytelling, planning, tenacity, follow up, patience and a lot of pluck. Some clients are fortunate to earn Oprah’s attention in a heartbeat, though most toil for many months and even years before earning their moment in the spotlight. All the while, these business owners still need to turn a profit and make magic happen in the marketplace in order to keep their doors open for business.
And even when you make a persuasive and compelling pitch to the local media, sometimes, for whatever reason, the daily newspapers will pass on your story. That is when you have to dig deeper and consider your options.
For example, while working with a local Vietnamese millionaire and motivational speaker to promote a big event in Seattle, I came up empty with both the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Undaunted, I approached the Northwest Asian Weekly about doing a story about this local entrepreneur. I also approached the Beacon Hill News and the Madison Park Times with similar story ideas because my client got his start in residential real estate working the Beacon Hill neighborhood and he lives in the coverage area served by the Madison Park Times.
Guess what happened? His story earned front page coverage with bold, color photos in all three local newspapers, just in time to attract interest and boost attendance at my client’s big event. And, those prominent stories were persuasive and compelling in my efforts to earn three radio interviews that targeted just the right audience of potential guests to benefit from this client’s message before the event took place.
Now, my client has some powerful print and broadcast support posted to the press room on his event Website to lend credibility to future events. This makes it easy for future event guests and reporters to visit the site to learn more about what he offers. And when the national media come to call, he already has earned both the credibility and support of his hometown media, making it that much easier to tell his story to a national audience.
In addition to earning ink and air for your business, local media opportunities offer you the chance to practice sharing your message and refining your interview skills before the national cameras and reporters come to call. Those bright camera lights can be daunting to the uninitiated, and you sure don’t want to make any message or performance mistakes when the national press is at your door.
My best advice is to start at home while you also swing at the national media fences. Brainstorm your own “top ten” list of premier media placements in your own backyard, and begin the process of appealing to those editors and writers whose job it is to inform, inspire, and serve the media consumers where you live and work.
Yes, please reach for the stars by working to earn the attention of O Magazine, National Public Radio, and Good Morning America. And remember that telling your story to your hometown media outlets can be pretty powerful, too.
Nancy S. Juetten is a Main Street Media Savvy expert who owns Nancy S. Juetten Marketing Inc. and is the author of the Media-Savvy-to-Go Publicity Toolkit which helps business owners get heard, seen, and celebrated in their own backyards and beyond through the power of free publicity.
She’s interview on my Synergy Energy Show: http://bit.ly.com/SynergyEnergyShow