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Free Media Publicity: Position Yourself As An Expert

by George McKenzie


There's a common misconception that people in the news business have a giant network of sources where they get all their information, and they certainly don't need help from "average people."

It's not true.

News organizations are constantly looking for story ideas--from anywhere.

And if you master the media marketing strategies below, your reputation as an "expert" among the media will absolutely skyrocket--and so will the traffic-generating free publicity that results.

***Offer "another angle" on a current story Suppose you hear a something on a 6:00 PM TV newscast, and you believe you have the credentials to comment on it. Contact the newsroom, tell the assignment editor or producer you can offer "another angle" on the story. Be sure to say something like, "I think a lot of your viewers will find it interesting (surprising, shocking, etc) that..." and then explain your idea.

***Offer yourself as a guest on shows that have to fill a lot of airtime. Check out local TV programs to see who's already doing a lot of guest interviews. Usually these tend to be "soft" news shows in the early or mid morning, especially on weekends. Get creative and figure out how to package what you know in a way that's interesting to a mass audience. Then construct a news release to send to the appropriate person on the show you have in mind.

***Polls & Surveys First there was The Book Of Lists. Then David Letterman made his nightly "Top Ten" polls a cultural icon. People love them, and in this age of email, anyone can put together a quickie poll and publish a list.

***Tip Sheets  Great fillers on slow news days. Make sure they’re not dated, then package them in an attention getting news release--one that positions you as a qualified expert to add some insights the subject matter.

***Ask to be added to the "Expert's Directory. Every newsroom has a book or file they reach for when they need to find someone who can offer insights on what's happening.

It's usually nothing more than a computer database or even a paper file. and to get in, all you generally have to do is ask-- AND send a media kit that with a bio and contact information. SHORT and RELEVANT are the key words here.

Taking a few minutes to do these things can result in repeated opportunities for free publicity. And because of the "halo effect" you get from being interviewed by the media, it's the kind of traffic-generating publicity that's more powerful and profitable than anything money can buy.


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