Do you find yourself watching TV news sometimes and
thinking, ‘Why did they waste my time with a story like
that? Surely there was something more interesting happening
they could have covered.’

 
Or have you seen a competitor on the air talking about a
new trend in your field…something you knew about MONTHS
ago?

 
The truth is, the station ran that story you hated, and
talked to your competitor (which you probably hated even
more) because someone simply suggested the idea to them.

 
HOW to make that pitch is the subject for a whole separate
article. For now, let’s just look at some common
opportunities to make news that are commonly overlooked by
almost everybody.

 
***New ideas and technologies. Remember when credit card
gas pumps became available? When restaurants started
offering take-out orders sent in via e-mail? Anything that
makes life easier or more convenient for people makes for a
good story.

 
For instance, in 1993, my wife and I opened the
first combination convenience store/Subway Sandwich Shop in
South Texas. I called a reporter from the San Antonio
Business Journal, who ran a lengthy front page story a few
weeks later. It included a color picture of us standing in
front of our location. Buying an equal amount of ad space
would have cost about eight thousand dollars.

 
***Follow-ups. Have you seen a newspaper article or a TV
story about a product similar to yours? Call the reporter
who did the story, and offer ‘another angle’ or a ‘follow-
up.’

 
Recently the San Antonio Express News ran a story about
some new software that had just hit the market. Darrin
Schroeder, VP of a San Antonio based browser producer named
CrystalPort, called the reporter and offered a ‘follow-up’
about his company, which had just rolled out a similar
product.

 
Result: front page story, with a color picture, in the
business section several days later.

 
***’Piggybacking.’ This simply means putting a fresh or
different twist on something that’s already in the news.
Have you seen a story on the Today Show that reflects
something that’s happening in your industry? Call the
station that airs the Today Show and offer a ‘local angle.’
They’ll probably interview you as part of the story. You can
piggyback on news items, trends, holidays, or community
events–the possibilities never end.

 
The two most important things to remember:

 
1) opportunities to get free publicity from radio, TV and
newspapers are EVERYWHERE. But you just have to train
yourself to spot them.

 
2) you have to pitch the idea to the media. If they don’t
already know who you are, they’re probably not going to come
looking for you.

 
Remember what hockey Wayne Gretzsky once said…’One
hundred percent of the shots you DON’T take, DON’T go in.’
Take your shot with media often enough–and use the ideas
above–and you’ll be surprised how often you score big
profits through free advertising and publicity.

 
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.