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10 Tips to Go from Nobody to Front Page News

Reaching the front page of the news is not an easy task when you are still unknown. On this post written by Keith Ferrazzi and published on his blog at http://ferrazzi.com, the Relationship expert is sharing a list of 10 tips that can help us to expose ourselves, our services/products, and our company. Use it. Try it. Share it.

When a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog that is news.  – Charles Anderson Dana

You must manage your own media. Yes, a PR firm can help you generate those contacts, but early in your career you won’t need them and you probably won’t be able to afford them.

Who better than you to tell your story with credibility and passion? Start making calls to the reporters who cover your industry. Have lunch with them. Create and send press releases. Remember, media folks need you as much as you need them. They may not need your exact story at the exact time you want, but with a little stick-to-itiveness, they’ll come around.

Here are 10 tips to help you break a big story – yours!

1. Know the Media Landscape
Nothing infuriates reporters and editors more, I’m told, than to get a pitch from someone who clearly has no idea what their publication is about or who their audience is.  So spend time reading their articles, figuring out what they cover, and what kinds of stories their publications like to run.

2. Work the Angles

There are no new stories,it has been said, only old stories told in new ways. To make your pitch sound fresh and original, find an innovative slant. What’s your slant? Anything that screams, “Now!”

3. Think Small
Are you Bill Gates? No. Maybe you’ve developed the antidote for the common cold? No again. Well,the New York Times probably isn’t knocking on your door quite yet. Go local first. Start a database of newspapers and magazines in your area that might be interested in your content. Try college papers, the neighborhood newspaper, or the free industry digital newsletter you find in your inbox.

4. Make a Reporter Happy
They’re a rushed, impatient, always-stressed bunch of overachievers. Work at their pace and be available whenever they call on you. NEVER blow off an interview, and try to facilitate the contacts they’ll need to produce a good story.

5. Master the Art of the Sound Bite
Learn to be brief—in both your written and phone pitches. Brevity is cherished in the media. Think in terms of talking points. Pick the three most interesting points about your story and make them fast, make them colorful, and make them catchy.

6. Don’t Be Annoying
There’s a fine line between marketing yourself properly and becoming annoying. If a pitch of mine gets rejected, I’ll ask what else it needs to make it publishable. Sometimes it will never be right in the editor’s eyes, but other times, you can answer a few more questions or dig deeper and repitch the story. It is okay to be aggressive, but mind the signals, and back off when it’s time.

7. It’s All on the Record
Be cautious: What you say can hurt you, and even if you’re not quoted or you say something off the record, a reporter will use your words to color the slant of the article. I’m not advocating being tight-lipped. That’s what corporate communications directors get paid for, and I don’t know anyone in the press who likes them. Just remember: All press is not good press, even if they spell your name right.

8. Trumpet the Message, Not the Messenger
All your efforts at publicity, promotion,and branding need to feed into your mission; if they’re only feeding into your ego, you’ll find yourself with a reputation you hadn’t bargained for that could hold you back for the rest of your life.

9. Treat Journalists as You Would Any Other Member of Your Network or Community of Friends
As in any interview, your primary objective when you meet with a member of the press is to get the person across from you to like you. The reporter is human (at least most are) and your empathy for his or her hard work will go a long way. If they include you in a story, thank them.

10. Be a Name-Dropper
Connecting your story with a known entity—be it a politician, celebrity, or famous businessperson—acts as a de facto slant. Bottom line: The media wants recognizable faces in their pages. If your story will give them access to someone they otherwise haven’t been able to get, they’ll make concessions.

And remember: Once you’ve put in all that hard work and landed a nice article, it’s no time to be modest. Send the article around. Give it to your alumni magazine. Update your class notes. Use the article to get even more press coverage.

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