During a recent interview for his ‘Internet Marketing
Lounge’ radio show (http://www.internetmarketinglounge.com),
Peter Twist asked me if I thought today’s journalists had
gotten lazy.

 
Peter noted that to get a journalist to do a story about
you, a product, or an idea, you almost have to do all the
work for them: give them a good headline, figure out an
intriguing angle, etc.

 
On the surface, it would seem then that’s today’s reporters,
producers, and editors HAVE gotten lazy.

 
But in fact, the opposite is true. It takes more hard work
than ever to stay in the journalism business these days, and
only the most dedicated, energetic people survive.
Think about it this way.

 
When I got my first TV job in 1974, the city where I worked
(Altoona, PA) had only ONE station. Even big cities, like
nearby Pittsburgh, only had three commercial outlets.

 
So those stations got to divide up ALL the TV advertising
dollars. The pie was cut into no more than three pieces.
Look at what you have now. Hundreds of stations and cable
channels competing for less and less money. The pie
is no longer cut into pieces. It’s down to slivers.
Plus, advertisers just aren’t spending right now.
Revenues are down.

 
As a result, some news operations are shutting down
altogether. Others are merging and streamlining
(streamlining is a euphemism for ‘cutting jobs’).

 
The laws of economics apply. Reporters, producers, and
editors who are still in the business have to do more work
for less money.

 
While that’s bad news for them, it’s good news for you. It
opens up some terrific opportunities to get exposure and
free publicity.

 
Here’s how:

 
If you’re sending a press release, make sure:

 
1. it has a great headline that offers a benefit to viewers,
readers or listeners. It has to be about something they
need to know, or would like to know. Focus on THEM, not you.

 
2. its ‘news value’ is apparent at a glance. A reporter,
producer or editor wants to be able to figure out in seconds
what the release is about, and why it would be of interest
to their audience.

 
There’s never a guarantee that you’ll be able to get the
free publicity you want from the media. By if you do the
things I’ve mentioned above, you’ll certainly increase your
chances.

 
Remember this advice from Joan Stewart, a former newspaper
editor. Joan says the five most important words you can say
to any reporter are ‘How can I help you?’

 
That’s always been true.

 
But in this day and age of shrinking budgets and expanding
job descriptions, it’s truer than ever.

 
Get a free report detailing how to use dozens of news ‘hot
buttons’ by subscribing to George McKenzie’s free ezine,
‘Get Free Publicity.’ Go to Publicity Goldmine

 
George has more than 30 years experience as an award-winning
radio and TV journalist. His work has been featured on ABC,
NBC, CBS, ESPN and CNN.