How love, money, and health can attract publicity
(MoneyWatch) Free publicity doesn't replace advertising or direct mail to generate qualified leads for the sales team, but many savvy marketers are shifting increasing portions of their budgets to the art of being newsworthy.
You do not need psychic powers to predict the news. Certain stories appear with regularity. Old media pros know that love, money, and health are three topics that are always in style. Maybe they go by other names, like sex, personal finance, and fitness, but the interest is there all the same. If you can provide new or better information on these subjects, the media will often welcome your input and give you free publicity.
Other topics come in and out of style. Just like there are fashions in clothes and cars, there are fashions in news. To become a quoted authority, don't only think about what's newsy, but also what sort of news is "in" this season.
Here is a month-by-month list of news topics. Newspapers, magazines, television, and radio are looking for fresh spins on these ageless news pegs.
January: Fitness, new year predictions, Super Bowl
March: Spring break
June: Weddings, graduations, dads
July: Vacations, Fourth of July
August: Hot weather
September: Back to school, football
October: World Series, Halloween
November: Elections, Thanksgiving
December: Holidays, year-end wrap-ups, resolutions
Another predictable aspect of media coverage is the ever-popular anniversary story. For example, major news events are re-examined after intervals of one, 10, 20, 25, 30, 50, 75, and 100 years. Not only does history repeat itself, so does the news.
A quick scan of the following list will help you see what anniversaries will be making news in the years to come. Check the list and brainstorm what you could tie-in to with these anniversaries and others.
Sept. 11, 2016: 15th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attack
Nov. 9, 2014: 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down
April 4, 2018: 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination
Nov. 22, 2013: 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination
July 20. 2019: 50th anniversary of the first moon landing
Dec. 31, 2020: 50th anniversary of the official breakup of The Beatles
August 6, 2019: 75th anniversary of the U.S. dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima
June 6, 2019: 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy
In a front-page story, The Wall Street Journal recently commented on the cost advantage of public relations over advertising, noting that a publicity budget of $500,000 is considered huge, while an ad budget that size is tiny. Companies can buy a full year's publicity program for the cost of a single, 30-second prime-time TV spot. The same economics holds true for local marketing campaigns.
Gaining publicity is all about having a good story to tell. To be newsworthy, a company and its products must identify with the needs, wants, concerns, and interests of its customers. In other words, publicity takes creativity. To get your creative juices flowing think about love, money, and health and you are on your way.
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