CPR Promotional Check-Up - Sep 23, 2014
September 23, 2014
How To Get Press In 2014
Maybe possibly the biggest stunt (Oh no! That word. "Stunt"!) of 2014 is going to happen next week east of the Mississippi and south of Canada. Which means that that evening for me will be spent in front of the TV clicking on 100's of websites and posting a link to said-stations website.
This is how the Wired 96.5 banner tow over Charlie Sheen's house got press in Germany. It requires work. The more links that get posted, the higher you rise in the Google engine.
I have an acquaintance who is a B Level actress. You'd recognize the face because she's been on everything from The Office to Disney Channel shows. She pays her publicist $5000 a month and not for sending out press releases. He gets the big bucks for digging and finding every hook and reason to get Amy's pic and info sent and posted. He is literally a mole. He digs and digs and posts.
With the thing tonight it seems like a good time to remind you HOW to get press for your worthy things.
Back in the Days Of Fax, and even before, you would see stations that consistently got press. Why? Because they:
- Were savvy and didn't just blast over a press release.
- They usually had cultivated "friends" in the other media, and knew when to call in the favors.
- They presented them with "stuff" that was visual. Stuff you could film or take a photo of.
In 2014 sending a press release will basically accomplish…nothing. Unless you're Data Corp. and you want the Business Section of the daily to acknowledge that Matt Swedberg has just been acquired from Digitech and will be overseeing the outsourced fiber optic operation in Burma. (Yea Matt!)
Other than that? Nah. But you should still send them out when you have stuff to cover. But it shouldn't be the only avenue you work.
First? Who is in charge of working the press? I'd find an intern and give them some business cards that say "Director of Media Management" (we forget that for the average 20 year-old, a business card is pretty damn cool).
Second, a quick reminder on press releases:
- Don't "over" release the media. When you have something good? Hit 'em.
- Learn how to write them. Over-hypey ("those zany morning show nuts, Karl and Googie…") Details. Facts. Straight-forward.
- Follow up with "stupid viewer/reader" calls. "Hey, I'm stuck in traffic on 35 and was wondering what is with the car hanging from the crane in the parking lot at Lowes? I thought you might know."
The best way to get press nowadays? Is to work the 'net. It. Is. Work. But. It. Works.
I have a list of as many pop culture, gossip and related websites as I felt like digging up.Ask and I will send it. And when you have something worth sharing, hit 'em. And you should also have the "tips" links to USA Today, Associated Press, all the daily papers, suburban papers (for when you have something community specific) and the TV stations and affiliates. When Chunky from Now in NY flew a banner over Kim Kardashian's house, Jodi at CBS had a media contact list that was broken down into bloggers, TV, print and by region of the market.
Every scenario requires a different approach. Here are some examples:
Scenario #1: Launching Your Ratings Contest
So you're bringing back Pay Your Card Off for the eighth time. Cool. No one at TV 6 is going to care. Don't bother them with it. You can desensitize the assignment desk to the point where they won't even open your emails.
Scenario #2: The Big Culmination Of Your Ratings Contest
This Thursday Allie from Fly 92.3 is parachuting into the parking lot at Albany Square Mall. If she lands in your square, you win a Prius. Send out the press releases. Follow up with the calls the day-of. Is the mall in a specific suburb? Hit them too.
AFTERWARD, hit the "stupid video content" websites I have in a file and will send if you ask. Hit CNN's iReport from on-site. Hit the local paper for the winner.
Scenario #3: Your Backstage Contest Winner
Debby from Forest Lake High School won the passes to meet Selena Gomez at the Excel Center. Make sure to hit her school paper with the pic, and also the Forest Lake Times. Besides them? No one will care. But the school and community paper will cover it. Guaranteed.
Scenario #4: The Morning Show Phoner
Alyson Hannigan is going to be on the morning show Wednesday to talk about her new movie "Paige Nienaber Is Pretty Damn Cool". Don't bother with press releases and unless anything she says is really shocking or stupid, don't waste time with all the links I'm attaching.
However…there are only about 100 Alyson Hannigan fan sites. Let them know a few days in advance. Send them a link so all their stal…fellow fans can listen in on-line.
Scenario #5: The Morning Show Phoner Bombshell
B-96 in Chicago had this with Perez Hilton when he mentioned something about John Mayer that has never been revealed and would not make it past most of your filters. Bang. Hit every one of the links I will gladly send if you ask.
Why? Because there is a food chain on the internet. Specifically Google. The more posts you get, the higher on the chain you will rise. It's work. Two interns could spend a day going to these (many of which have nudity, FYI. It's just the nature of these sites) and posting links to your site with a quick "Did you hear what was said about John Mayer?" query.
Scenario #6: The Celebrity In-Studio Experience
Jessica Simpson was on the air with Dave in Minneapolis, burped in a water bottle, they sealed it and posted it on eBay. Go straight to my list, do not pass Go. Start posting. I wouldn't waste my time on the local media though.
Scenario #7: Stupid Human Tricks
Hot in Ottawa did "Dancing With Cars". Q in Memphis did Human Bowling for the Super Bowl. KOB-FM in Albuquerque did "Green Day & Ham" (pig races). Press release before, stupid viewer/reader calls, be alert for local or highschool angles, and when you get that million hit youtube clip, hit my links. Also, if there is a sports angle, like "Tackle For Tickets" in Fargo or the Dave Ryan Favre banner tow, zero in on the attached sports links. Plus, look for fan sites of the team in question. For the Lambeau banner tow, I hit every freaking Viking fan site that I could find. The photo got print in Panama. I kid you not. But it was work.
Scenario #8: The Campaign
If this is not just a one day thing but is going to spread out over a week, hit them with updates. Create a theme. Have some fun with it. A straight press release that Chet is now on Day 11 of his scaffold sit and has filled nine semi's with donations, is going to end up with the pancake breakfast letter from the Lutheran Church. Have an elf deliver it. Have the total spelled out in candycane font. Something other than a regular release.
In the case of Conan and Y-94, that kind of huge pop culture topical thing that brought a whole community together in the process? Daily releases, hit all the 'burbs, hit the links; spreading the word should take over your life for a week.
Scenario #9: The Big Event
I'll use the White Castle weddings in Chicago and New York two years ago as an example. I was at NOW the day before and Jodi and her people were barraging the press with calls, follow-ups, info, invites. And it worked. They busted their butts for days with traditional and aggressive contacts with the media, and in New York City…they got TV.
Because? They had a great visual. Two dorks getting married in a White Castle. You HAVE to think like a TV cameraman. Can you shoot people texting for BEP tickets? No. Can you shoot them holding handful's of frozen peas (The River in Nashville)? Yes.
And then, when you have your wacky footage, start hitting the sites that take and beg for wacky footage. And a bunch of them are attached.