Would you like to have the media scrambling to interview you? Would you like to get free publicity for your business without having to hire a PR firm or even bothering to send out a press release?
It’s very, very easy, and I can guarantee your success. I’m not going to charge you anything for this advice or make you give me your email address to get this amazing tip.
Ready? Here it is ….
Rob a bank. That’s it! If you want to see your name and your business name all over the evening news and plastered on the front page of your newspaper, all you need to do is commit a crime. The more spectacular the crime, the better.
You won’t have to do anything else — the media will be all over it! Your business will have all the free publicity you can handle! As we all know, if it bleeds, it leads! (Not that you would really hurt anyone in this little bank heist — it’s just a figure of speech, after all.)
If you want to make your story a triple winner for the 6 p.m. news, you’ll want to wear a football helmet while you stick up the teller during a hurricane and cause an accident that ties up traffic on the Interstate during rush hour in the get-away car. That’s because traffic, weather, sports, crime and accidents fill more than 70 percent of the average local news broadcast according to the Pew Research Center 2013 State of the Media Report. That leaves a little over six minutes for everything else — politics and government, human interest, business and economy, science and technology, and health and consumer news.
Get more business publicity
But there’s good news! Since 2005, local TV stations have increased their coverage of business from 5 percent of their airtime to 8 percent. The Pew Research Center attributed that increase to the Great Recession. So, if your business is going down the tubes, that provides another great opportunity for free publicity!
There’s another reason you want to depend on bank robbery and the subsequent aforementioned traffic accident as your media relations tactic. The local news team likes to use on-the-spot reporting.
Since 2005, there has been a 20 percent decrease in “packaged” or edited news stories. That’s the traditional story in which a reporter and a cameraman come out to your business, interview you about a topic, then go back to the station, edit it into a story package and run it on the news. This is the kind of story that businesses drool over! Covet! Give their first and second born for!
Today they send the reporter and cameraman in a truck and broadcast live from the scene of an event, such as a bank robbery, even if there’s nothing taking place at the time. It could be the front door of someone accused of a crime — such as yourself, if you rob a bank. That someone may be in jail, or in Florida on vacation, or just refusing to come to the door. But it’s so. Very. Exciting! Because it’s live!
It’s also cheaper to produce.
All the news that fits, they print
So, what about the print news? The Pew Research Center says that estimates for newspaper newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30 percent since 2000 and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978.
Other news for newspapers:
- The percentage of adults who report they read a newspaper “yesterday” declined again in 2012 for all age groups except 18-to-24-year-olds. The biggest decline was for 35-to-44-year-olds, down three percentage points. Those 65 and older again were most likely to be newspaper readers.
- All categories of print advertising declined again in 2012. As in 2011, national advertising was the hardest hit, falling 10%. Since retail is a much bigger category than the other two, dollar losses were higher there.
- Classified revenues continue to fall, but the rate of decline is slowing. More than three-quarters of print classified revenue has been lost since 2000.
- As in previous Pew Research Center content studies, business, education, health care and overseas events receive more coverage in newspapers than in the media in general. (Business receives about 7 percent of a shrinking newshole.) Campaigns and elections (the biggest category in 2012) and crime receive less. (But have no fear — your local paper will still write about a bank robbery, especially if it was pulled off by a local business owner — that’s big stuff.)
OK. So why am I bothering to give you, Mr. or Ms. Business Owner, these statistics about your local TV station or newspaper? Am I really trying to turn you to a life of crime?
No. Nien. Nyet.
I’m trying to show you why it is such a flawed strategy to depend on getting free publicity, otherwise known as “earned media,” as the primary way to promote your business. There’s just not enough air time, space, reporters, readers and advertising dollars to support the desire for “free publicity.” And it will only get worse over time. As Joe Chernov said in “Is Earmed Media Becoming Hacked Media?”
Free publicity (note: ALL publicity is free — that’s what makes it publicity and not advertising) should be viewed as the cherry on top of the sundae — NOT the ice cream. If you get some publicity, that’s awesome! But it should not make or break your your marketing and PR strategy.
So what, then?
Inbound marketing, that’s what. Do your own publicity. If you’ve got an internet connection and a device to access it, you can DIY. Build your own publishing empire. You don’t need no stinking TV station or newspaper. (Yes, I know I used a double negative – don’t go getting all English teacher-y on me.)
Still. It’s true. Inbound marketing rocks. With inbound marketing, your leads come to you — you don’t have to go looking for them. Sounds impossible? It’s a fact. You just put up a funnel and catch them as they fall out of the internet.
And people love this kind of marketing. You’ve providing information that they are seeking. You’re not trying to cram it down their throats through advertising while they’re trying to watch their favorite TV show with their families. You’re not trying to twist a reporter’s arm to write a story about your business when they have no interest.
Inbound marketing isn’t easy, but it’s simple. It’s offering great content that targets your ideal customer. Over and over. Consistently.