The quote from Ben Franklin goes something like this:
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.
Franklin, of course, was a journalist.
And his advice is as true today for bloggers and new media as it was back then for town criers.
Any time you can involve journalists in your story, or whatever you’re promoting, it will result in a better story. When I worked as a reporter in the 1970s, I was assigned to cover a hypnotist who was hypnotizing 100 people to lose weight. Rather than just report on the story, I volunteered to be hypnotized.
I reported on it for the following day’s paper, lost 15 pounds, and wrote a follow-up story. I described what it was like to be hypnotized. And it was so much better than if I had reported it as an observer. A lot more fun too.
Here are 13 ways to involve journalists and bloggers in whatever you’re promoting:
1. Invite one of them to judge a contest you’re sponsoring, or a competition you’re hosting.
If it’s a food contest, ask a food blogger. If it’s a high school essay contest on the topic of entrepreneurs, ask a business reporter.
2. Ask a journalist to deliver the keynote address or speak at your event.
Warning: Print journalists are usually boring speakers. If you want the crowd to stay awake, invite your local TV anchor or a TV reporter. Or a local deejay.
3. Ask a select group of bloggers to beta test an app, software or a techie tool you’ve created and offer feedback.
This is an almost guaranteed way to get a story from writers who might not otherwise cover it. But make sure you have a bug-free product. Read 6 things you need to do to approach the press, Item #6, in the Secret Formula to Turn Beta Testing Into a Viral Success for Startups.
4. Offer to teach a journalist or blogger about how to use a social media site you’ve found successful.
Many, but not all, are tech-savvy. I taught a former TV reporter in my town how to use Twitter. And she still thanks me. It’s a great way to build the relationship.
5. If you’re an author, ask if they’d like a copy of your new book. Don’t send the book unsolicited.
Tell them you’d love an honest review, and make sure to insert a press release into the book.
If you need more reviews, don’t miss the killer free webinar I hosted with Debbie Drum yesterday on “How To Find Powerful Influencers on Amazon to Review Your Books and Help You with Your Marketing-for Free.” Our offer on a web-based program that will help you track down the perfect Amazon reviewers for your book lightning fast expires at midnight Monday night. Watch the replay here.
You can also ask a journalist who you know well enough to write the foreword to your book.
6. If you’re planning an event that features food, deliver food to the TV and radio stations the day before the event starts.
The Wisconsin State Fair delivers boxes of cream puffs to local media, and they get fabulous free publicity as a result.
7. Ask them if they’d like to feature a quiz you’ve created.
They can take the quiz first and see how well they scored.
8. Ask if they’d like to volunteer to work for a day at your nonprofit’s food pantry, or serving lunches to the homeless.
Get permission to invite a photographer too.
9. Invite them to work at your job for a day, and report on it.
Or ask them to trade jobs with you for a day.
10. Invite them to a class, workshop, teleseminar, webinar or other training session you’re planning.
CPAs, invite them to a class on how to prepare your taxes. Professional organizers, volunteer to help a reporter clean her messy desk and keep paper and digital files organized. Or ask a mommy blogger in your community if you can show her how to organize her child’s playroom or bedroom.
11. Don’t forget the broadcasters.
A Milwaukee deejay who had a snoring problem was invited to the Sleep Wellness Center to see if he could be cured of snoring. I’m not sure if he was ever cured, but I remember hearing the promos for that particular story several dozen times over a two-week period.
12. Ask news anchors or local TV show hosts to join you in a demonstration that promotes your event or product.
A Milwaukee TV station aired a two-minute segment in which two TV anchors were invited to help a local chef decorate Christmas cookies to promote a special holiday cookie workshop being held at a local hotel/resort.
13. Ask a local media personality to serve as the grand marshal in your parade.
I’ll bet a 15-second shot of the parade is on “News at 11.”
Have you invited reporters, freelancers, broadcasters or bloggers to participate in your story? Share the link in the Comments. Or add to my list of ideas.