One of the best ways to generate publicity for a product, service, cause or issue is to find a reporter who has experienced a problem that’s related to the story you want to pitch.
It’s called finding a reporter’s hot button and sometimes it happens purely by accident. Publicity Hound Carol Adams of Charlotte, North Carolina said she was having difficulty placing a story for her client, Bill Bennett. Bennett wrote a self-published book of fiction called “Beyond Living, A story of love, loss and living without regret.” It deals with loss, similar to what he experienced after his daughter died of adrenal cancer in May last year and a son-in-law died of a brain tumor three years earlier.
Bennett wrote the book to help others who are struggling with their own loss. He is contributing part of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society.
Several weeks ago, Carol learned from other reporters at the Charlotte Observer, that columnist David Perlmutt lost a family member to cancer. He wrote a column on it. So he was in a perfect position to hear about her client’s book. She pitched the story.
“He loved the book and the author’s story,” she says. “I got a front page local full quarter page with two color photos and a jump that included info on where to find the book locally. It also included the author’s website.
“The author is over the moon, the book is selling, and I’m using excerpts from the article to link it to additional review/web sites,” Carol says.
If you’re willing to register at the newspaper’s website, you can read the article.
“It took several weeks, and a lot of finesse, but I was extremely pleased with the finished article,” Carol says. “It was a very delicate topic and not one a typical book reviewer would normally take on. But this particular reporter writes a lifestyles section column that fit nicely and had a personal story that connected him to the subject.”
Here are other ways to find a reporter’s hot button:
–If there’s a particular reporter you want to pitch, read every article or column the reporter writes. If you see a tie-in to a topic, email or call the reporter immediately and refer to the article you just read..
–Read the “Letter from the Editor” columns in the front of magazines. Often, these will tip you off to new geographic areas, new features and columns, new writers and other departments the magazine is adding.
–If you want to pitch a specific reporter, type in their name in the Google search engine and see what other articles you can find.
–Use Google alerts if you want to be notified about articles on specific topics. My friend Terry Brock explains how to do this in a short video he created just for Publicity Hounds.
Once you’ve found reporters who you want to pitch, you can do dozens of things to build strong relationships with them and stay on their radar screens. I know, because I worked in a newspaper office for 22 years, and I relied on terrific sources to help me do my job. “Get Free Publicity in Print” teaches you how to be a golden source for print journalists.