Friday, March 13, 2009

Publicity Dilemma

Guest post by Marcia Yudkin

We're Trying to Do Good But Got No Response: Publicity Dilemma 3
Copyright (c) 2009
BY Marcia Yudkin

"We have a worthy cause, but our press releases about it aren't
getting picked up anywhere," says one of my subscribers. "What
else can we do to get media coverage?"

When a plain old press release doesn't attract media interest in
your cause, it's time to inject the outreach for your do-good
project with one or more of the following ingredients.

Five Irresistible Publicity Elements for Non-profits

1. A photogenic scene. Your news item transforms from dull to
dazzling when you think up a way to inject children, puppies,
chocolate, dance, puppets, balloons or angry protesters into the
mix. Color, action, comedy and cuteness all help attract cameras
and pensters alike. Stay away from clich├ęs like shovels at a
groundbreaking or oversized checks being handed from a sponsor to
a charity.

2. A challenge. Suspense or drama is the second ingredient that
helps attract the media. This might take the form of a contest
(who will win?), an attempt to break a record (such as the
world's biggest potluck dinner), a surprising comeback attempt
(septuagenarians for Saturn High) or a fundraising wilderness
trek (combating snakes, swamps and no sense of direction). And
yes, publicity stunts still work.

3. A heartwarming story. Crown your "poster child" - a person,
family, animal or place that embodies a feel-good story, about a
triumph over adversity, a homecoming, opposites coming together,
enemies reconciling, unlikely devotion or an amazing talent.
Instead of issuing a dry, factual recital about your cause,
entice the media with an emotional tale. Whatever tugs at the
heartstrings has an excellent chance of capturing media
attention, too.

4. A holiday tie-in. Holidays include not just Thanksgiving,
Christmas and New Year's but also Mother's Day, Veteran's Day,
Martin Luther King Day, Passover, Earth Day and Labor Day. Many
times a year, media people have to fill up pages or airtime with
holiday-related stories that they would rather not come across as
exactly the same as the previous year's or as their
competitor's holiday-related stories. Create a connection
between your cause and a holiday or season of the year, and you
are helping the media do their job. And did you know you can
create your own holiday? Simply choose a day of the year, come up
with a name for the day, write up a blurb about your idea and
submit it to Chase's Calendar of Events, a standard reference
book found in most libraries. That always seems to give your
holiday an official status that makes the media want to share it
with the public.

5. Star power. In my community, any Hollywood great showing up
shoots to the top of the news. For instance, the news that
actress Kathleen Turner was going to headline a fundraiser for a
local movie house that specializes in presenting independent
films got front-page treatment, and will indubitably do so again
when the event occurs. (Turner's daughter attends a local
college.) Can you pull strings to get the governor or an Olympic
record holder to appear? Or maybe you can rustle up a dead
celebrity in the form of an autograph or painted portrait going
on the block at your charity auction.

The more you understand about what the media are constantly on
the lookout for, the more easily you are invited into the media
spotlight. With a little imagination and initiative, it's a
manageable challenge.

Publicity expert Marcia Yudkin is the author of 6 Steps to Free
Publicity, Persuading on Paper, Web Site Marketing Makeover and
eight other books. She has engineered coverage for herself or
her company in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Success,
Women in Business and dozens of newspapers around the world. Get
free access to a one-hour audio recording in which she answers
the most common questions about getting media coverage at

Greg Cryns
Wahm Search Engine - low cost but effective advertising


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