Want Free Media Exposure? What The News Media Values & How You Can Get Your Business In The News

Yes, you can buy air time for your TV ads or radio ads.

Yes, you can buy space for your newspaper ads.

But you can also get mentioned in all of these media for free if you can create a newsworthy story.

The first step is to ask the question “What do news editors look for in a news story?”

Step 1: What Do News Editors Look For In A News Story?

Source: “News Values”, Wikipedia

  • Frequency: Events that occur suddenly and fit well with the news organization’s schedule are more likely to be reported than those that occur gradually or at inconvenient times of day or night. Long-term trends are not likely to receive much coverage.
  • Negativity: Bad news is more newsworthy than good news.
  • Unexpectedness: If an event is out of the ordinary it will have a greater effect than something that is an everyday occurrence.
  • Unambiguity: Events whose implications are clear make for better copy than those that are open to more than one interpretation, or where any understanding of the implications depends on first understanding the complex background in which the events take place.
  • Personalisation: Events that can be portrayed as the actions of individuals will be more attractive than one in which there is no such “human interest.”
  • Meaningfulness: This relates to the sense of identification the audience has with the topic. “Cultural proximity” is a factor here — stories concerned with people who speak the same language, look the same, and share the preoccupations as the audience receive more coverage than those concerned with people who speak different languages, look different and have different preoccupations.
  • Reference to elite nations: Stories concerned with global powers receive more attention than those concerned with less influential nations.
  • Reference to elite persons: Stories concerned with the rich, powerful, famous and infamous get more coverage.
  • Conflict: Opposition of people or forces resulting in a dramatic effect. Stories with conflict are often quite newsworthy.
  • Consonance: Stories that fit with the media’s expectations receive more coverage than those that defy them (and for which they are thus unprepared). Note this appears to conflict with unexpectedness above. However, consonance really refers to the media’s readiness to report an item.
  • Continuity: A story that is already in the news gathers a kind of inertia. This is partly because the media organizations are already in place to report the story, and partly because previous reportage may have made the story more accessible to the public (making it less ambiguous).
  • Composition: Stories must compete with one another for space in the media. For instance, editors may seek to provide a balance of different types of coverage, so that if there is an excess of foreign news for instance, the least important foreign story may have to make way for an item concerned with the domestic news. In this way the prominence given to a story depends not only on its own news values but also on those of competing stories. (Galtung and Ruge, 1965)
  • Competition: Commercial or professional competition between media may lead journalists to endorse the news value given to a story by a rival.
  • Co-optation: A story that is only marginally newsworthy in its own right may be covered if it is related to a major running story.
  • Prefabrication: A story that is marginal in news terms but written and available may be selected ahead of a much more newsworthy story that must be researched and written from the ground up.
  • Predictability: An event is more likely to be covered if it has been pre-scheduled. (Bell, 1991)
  • Time constraints: Traditional news media such as radio, television and daily newspapers have strict deadlines and a short production cycle, which selects for items that can be researched and covered quickly.
  • Logistics: Although eased by the availability of global communications even from remote regions, the ability to deploy and control production and reporting staff, and functionality of technical resources can determine whether a story is covered. (Schlesinger, 1987)

– Retrieved from Wikipedia 24 December 2009

Step 2: Which Of These Newsworthy Indicators Can You Influence?

Many of the news values listed above are out of your control, but some are within your control.

An example is Prefabrication. If your Press Release is written so well the editor barely needs to modify it, they may be able to fill a space when one becomes available.

Need help to get free media exposure for your business?

I’m here for you. Call (07) 575 8799

– Sheldon.

Contacting a WebSite Owner Via Email? An Easy Way to Get Your Email Message Noticed

I’ve just made a discovery that I’d like to share with you.

Firstly, I’m a big fan of email.

5 Reasons Why Email is my Preferred Method of Communication:

  1. It provides me with a permanent record of what was said to who and when
  2. It’s more reliable than my memory for recording facts
  3. It doesn’t interrupt the person I’m sending it to, they can read it in their own time
  4. I can write it at my leisure and send it off anytime day or night when it’s ready
  5. It’s free

But the biggest disadvantage is:

Incoming emails are easy to ignore.

And it’s even easier not take the action that the email message asks for eg “email me back if this of interest to you”.

How often has your response been “Nope! Delete!”?

How to Get Your Email Message Noticed:

If you are contacting a website owner for whatever reason (at the moment I’m contacting a bunch of American website to ask for advertising space), here’s a trick that will get your email message noticed:

If you see something broken on their website, mention it in the email.

Even better, write a second email 5 minutes after the first (forwarding your first email so it’s attached to the bottom), and mention the bug then.

Just about every website has something broken like a spelling mistake or a link that doesn’t work.  The website owners are always keen to hear from someone that took the time to notify them of the bug.

For Extra Impact:

Pick up the phone and call the person you sent the message to (only costs 4c per minute anywhere in the world with a calling card such as Kiaora Card).

You could say “hi, just wanted to check that you received my email, my email system has been acting strangely lately”.

That’s the way to get noticed.

Need More Help?

If you own a small to medium sized business in Tauranga, I love to help you improve your sales, marketing and advertising. Call: (07) 575 8799 or email me.

– Sheldon.

How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

My notes on “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer:télécharger (3)

Which of the following 2 sentences of praise encourages kids to challenge themselves?

  1. “You must be smart at this” (intelligence)
  2. “You must have worked really hard” (effort)

The research revealed that the kids praised for their intelligence chose a puzzle of equal difficulty. Of the kids praised for their effort 90% chose a more difficult puzzle.  When praising intelligence, the kids hear “look smart, don’t risk making mistakes”. The fear of failure actually inhibits learning. Continue reading “How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer”

Generating Revenue By Subscription – Free To Start With And Then Start Charging? Does It Work?

Are you tempted to start charging for access to your website?

Maybe it’s a blog, maybe it’s news, maybe its whitepapers in your area of expertise.

If the revenue model for your website is by subscription you have 3 primary choices:

  1. Free content
    • You ask for email addresses, but you don’t demand them for access
    • The incentive for providing the email address could be a weekly digest of new content, special offers/promotions etc, and a sense of belonging to a club
    • Advertising would be necessary to cover costs
  2. “Freemium” content
    • Most of the content is free but access to certain articles (perhaps the archive) is accessible only with a Premium subscription
    • Example: NZ’s Consumer Magazine (some articles are free, most reports are behind the PayWall)
  3. The “PayWall”
    • Erect a paywall right from the start. If visitors want to see your content, they have to pay
    • Example: NZ’s National Business Review

The question is: Can you use the “Free” model to generate a huge database of subscribers and transition them to “Freemium” or “PayWall”?

This is of course what many newspapers are trying to do with their news websites, but I don’t care about them, I care about you – could it work for your website?

I don’t envy you if you are facing that decision right now. When deciding when to flip the switch you must to worried that you’ll cut off your growth rate.

Have you been on the receiving end of one of these changes? Your favourite website suddenly flips the switch and demands you pay them for access?  Did you start paying or did you search and find that info from another source?

Meet Your Local Cybersquatter: Dave Burghardt Who Owns TaurangaAirport.co.nz and Tauranga-Airport.co.nz

Screenshot of the abomination that is TaurangaAirport.co.nz

I was looking for flights from Tauranga to Dunedin yesterday, I searched for “Tauranga Airport” and came across www.TaurangaAirport.co.nz.

It is a hideous 1 page website that talked about car rental. Not what I was expecting at all!

I was suspicious so dug a little deeper using a “whois lookup” to find out who the owner was.

Sure enough, it’s not owned by the Tauranga Airport, but by a guy called Dave Burghardt:

REGISTRANT
Name      : dave burghardt
Address   : PO Box 2397
City      : Tauranga
Post code : 3015
Country   : NZ (NEW ZEALAND)
Phone     : +64 7 5784210
E-mail    : burghardt@xtra.co.nz

(If you are ever curious about who owns a domain name, use a whois lookup such as: www.dnc.org.nz)

I dug deeper still and found a complaint made by Auckland Airport against this guy in 2008 for owning Auckland-Airport.co.nz (note the dash: “-“) which pointed to yet another car rental business owned by Dave Burghardt. Oddly, the complaint fell through which means that the Domain Name Commissioner of New Zealand did not order that the ownership of the domain be transfered to Auckland International Airport Ltd.

Today, the domain name Auckland-Airport.co.nz is owned by Auckland International Airport Ltd therefore it looks like that Dave got the big bucks when they bought it from him.

So it got me thinking, “I wonder if Dave owned AucklandAirport.co.nz too?” (without the dash)

Using the “WayBack Machine“, I found the answer to my question, here’s what AucklandAirport.co.nz looked like in February 2008:

screenshot-of-aucklandairport.co.nz

Look familiar?

Yep, that’s Dave’s handiwork alright.

So it looks like Dave got paid the big bucks for selling Auckland-Airport.co.nz and AucklandAirport.co.nz to Auckland International Airport Limited!

I bet Dave is hoping for a repeat of that outcome by selling TaurangaAirport.co.nz and Tauranga-Airport.co.nz to Tauranga Airport Ltd, which is owned by the Tauranga City Council.

Half of me congratulates the guy for his entrepreneurial spirit, the other half of me curses him for being a dirty squatter who confuses people (because people are searching for information about Tauranga Airport and find his hideous website instead).

What do you think?

Another issue is – why are New Zealand airport’s so slow to get into the 21st century and get a website for themselves?

I still can’t find an official website for Tauranga Airport.

The Most Direct Direct Mail I’ve Ever Directed

The Story

The client owns a website that lists all the 100+ thermal hot pools around New Zealand. They wanted to upgrade the 36 commercial hot pools from the free listing (every hot pools was entitled to one of these), to the Premium listing which provided greater detail and made the hot pool more attractive to prospective customers.

The first step was to call all 36 commercial hot pools around the country to:

  1. Determine who the decision maker was
  2. To confirm contact details
  3. To tell them to expect the letter in the mail soon

All the letters were sent out at once, and the following week follow-up calls were made to close the sale.

Download Direct Mail Sample (43Kb .pdf)The Solution

I wrote a 11 page document (3000 words) with the following features:

  1. Attention grabbing image on 1st page: “Imagine this sign out on your driveway: We’re Sorry, due to unprecedented demand, “name-of-their-pool” is full to overflowing. Please try again tomorrow.”
  2. Highly personalised: 43 instances of personalisation including their first name mentioned 16 times!
  3. Sent in an A4 envelope (flat) but with handwritten address so it looked official and important
  4. Content that told an compelling story that focused on what the hot pool owner gets out of the deal
  5. A limited time offer: “Respond before 5pm Friday”, + a limited number of customers “Only 10 positions available”
  6. 3 packages to choose from with ascending prices and value

The Result

  • 9 of the 10 available spots were filled