The Power of Publicity – Finding Your Media Niche

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Whether you are the owner, manager, or public relations director of a company, chances are, you’re always looking for ways to get your name in the public eye. While advertising is a great start, enhancing your advertising with publicity creates a perfect marriage of exposure for your company. What is publicity? It’s non-paid communication to promote your company in a positive light using media vehicles like television, radio, magazines, and newspapers. Through publicity you build mutually beneficial relationships between your business and the public on whom your success or failure depends.

When it comes to publicity, most people believe they can write a press release, send it to a TV station, radio station or newspaper and just wait for the avalanche of phone calls. But time goes by… and after they realize there aren’t any reporters beating down their door, they make a few phone calls to the newsroom only to discover that no one even read the press release. All of that time and work goes down the drain. You’re back to square one and you start over, but to no avail. So how do you end the vicious cycle of disappointment?

Research can make or break your pitch

Research. Plain and simple, you need to know your audience and know your media market. And research is the key to both.. So first and foremost you need to take a look at your message and ask yourself a few questions–is it newsworthy? Is it consumer-related? Does it have a local twist? Is it a visual story? What demographic am I targeting–how old is my audience and what is their target household income? The answers to these questions will help you craft your ‘pitch’ and determine which media outlets you should target.

While most people go for the saturation effect, seeking radio, television and print media simultaneously, the reality is that your message might not be a good fit for all media. So that brings us back to the research table. Now it’s time to do a little homework and figure out where your message stands the best chance of garnering media attention.

How do I get on TV?

TV newscasts communicate to their audience through pictures and conversation. Producers look for newsworthy topics that are visual and entertaining or informative ‘how-to’ segments. They want compelling conversation and pictures that will grab the viewers’ attention. They don’t want a ‘talking head’ rattling off statistics or blatantly plugging a new book.

Worried that your message isn’t visual? Try this- ask yourself how you’d explain your message to a child? Did that help you think of any pictures or simple words that fit your message? Those pictures or simple words can translate into graphics for a TV story. We once had a life insurance agency that wanted us to arrange local and national TV appearances for their CEO. The pitch we created offered interviews discussing the importance of life insurance and why it’s vital for women to protect themselves for the future. Sounds like you could sleep right through it, right? But we offered more than just the interview. We had the client prepare graphs and bullet points with short information snippets showing the mortality rate of women versus men. The TV stations turned them into graphics and voila– it became a very powerful visual story that was successful for our client and the media.

Keep in mind too, that the morning, noon and evening newscasts are each geared towards a different audience. The early morning shows are usually watched by working adults and families getting ready for school. Notice how the news formats shift into more of a talk and lifestyle segment that’s sprinkled with news ‘updates’ after 8AM when most commuters have already left for work?

Saying Your Piece on Talk Radio

Radio talk shows engage their audience through words rather than photographs. Most radio stations are turning to local angles for interviews. So it’s important to figure out if your message has a local tie-in or is important to your community.

Because radio doesn’t require visual props or photos, it’s a great fit for just about any message, so long as you can discuss your topic for a good 30 minutes. Because what you’re really doing is having a conversation with the listeners, you need to be well-versed in your topic and able to handle plenty of questions. Your message should be topical too; something people want to talk about at the office water cooler or over coffee.

Radio talk shows, which are found mostly on the AM dial, also vary from morning to night. Morning shows have shorter interviews during this “drive time” to work. Talk show hosts don’t have time for a 30 minute interview because morning shows are jam-packed with news, weather and traffic updates.

Midday shows were once known to target women, but that’s changed because so many people listen to the radio at work. Now, you’ll find many business shows air during typical daytime work hours. After work, you’ll find the second “drive time” of the day. Unlike in the morning, listeners are more relaxed. They’re on the way home from a long day at work and there’s more time to air a 30 minute interview.

During the evening, it’s a mixed audience of people listening from home. And don’t discount the reach of overnight interviews–while you may think no one is listening, think again! Overnight talk shows (from midnight to 5 a.m.) are very important due to overnight jobs that bring in listeners – 2nd and 3rd shift factory workers, public service employees and many other industries that operate all night long.

Getting Yourself in Print

Print publicity includes magazines and newspapers. While they are two different vehicles, their requirements are similar to television. Your pitch needs to be newsworthy, entertaining, informative, and in some cases, even visual. Newspapers work on tight deadlines, so make sure you don’t wait a week after a hot story is released to offer your expertise or an interview on the topic. Magazines, on the other hand, often have a 30 to 60 day lead time. Research the publication you want to contact and make sure they have a reporter who covers your topic or message. It’s also helpful to offer quality visuals. For example, restaurants offering a recipe, a gym offering tips to a tighter tummy, even the latest trends in jewelry, can all be accompanied by photographs to support the story.

I’ve Narrowed the Search, Now What?

Once you know the types of media you want to target, how do you know which TV stations, radio stations, or print publications are in your area? You can always subscribe to some sort of media list, but why would you do this when the internet is full of free media information? Some websites you may find helpful are www.radiolocator.com, www.usnpl.com, www.newspapers24.com , www.mondotimes.com and www.newslink.org. You can also use a basic search engine and search for your city + media, for example type in “Tampa Media.” You’ll find a whole list of media outlets at your fingertips.

Now that you’ve found a list of media contacts, you’re well on your way to creating a Power Publicity campaign to drive business to your company. Now that you understand why it’s so important to find your media niche, next up in our series, we’ll focus on creating a powerful message. To be successful at publicity, you must create your message specifically for your target audience and then find the best media vehicle to drive your message home. That’s why pushing those standard press releases didn’t work for you in the first place.

About Marsha Friedman:

Marsha Friedman is the CEO of EMSIncorporated, (EMSI) a leading publicity firm that has represented many well known clients such as Motown’s Temptations, Teamsters Union President Jim Hoffa, Jr., National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, Bristol Myers Squibb, Financial TV personality, Jim Rogers and Dr. Barry Sears.

About EMSIncorporated:

EMSI is a nationally-recognized publicity firm specializing in arranging interviews on radio shows around the country, appearances on local and national TV and obtaining editorial coverage in newspapers and magazines.

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PC Satellite TV – Expanding Your Media Center PC

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With the arrival of media center PC’s, PC Satellite TV cards have become more popular. With a media center PC, you don’t have to spend a lot of money as you would with desktop components. You can have an affordable DVD player, surround sound system, and have the ability to play a wide range of audio and video formats. Here’s a few great things about integrating satellite TV with your personal computer:

o You can receive digital satellite programming for free

o You can have a free digital video recorder (DVR)

o PC satellite TV systems are highly affordable

Receive Satellite Channels For Free

Don’t get too anxious about this. When I mentioned free, I’m not talking about satellite TV piracy. Just like there is free local television, you can receive free digital satellite channels as well. This is called Free-to-Air (FTA) satellite programming. These channels are not encrypted and you’re free to legally view them without paying any monthly fees.

Record Digital Video On Your PC

Most satellite TV cards have the functionality and software to record programs that you receive. You can either record live shows, or schedule your DVR to record at times and dates that you specify. You also have the capability to time-shift. So if you had to take a small break in the middle of a live show, you could come back, rewind, and start from where you left off. Unlike popular DVR’s on the market, you don’t have to pay any monthly fees.

Highly Affordable Digital Television

If you consider not having to pay any monthly satellite or DVR fees, you can see that you’ll be saving a lot of money. The only thing that you’re required to pay for is the satellite dish, PC satellite TV card, and any installation fees. You can save more money if you decide to install the equipment yourself.

Even though all of this might seem too good to be true, please keep in mind that all of this is free programming. It isn’t comparable to premium channels that you could receive through DirecTV or Dish Network. However, there are hundreds of Free-to-Air channels that you can receive. If you’re not too much of a TV-holic, you might want to learn more about Free-to-Air television a bit more.

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TV Program Downloads and the Legal Maze

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Is copying TV program downloads to your PC illegal?

The simple answer is no.

The only thing that is illegal is taking copyrighted material that you haven’t acquired legitimately – and, of course, distributing copyrighted material that you have acquired legitimately.

You are well within your rights to copy your own tv program downloads,music collection or whatever onto your computer or your iPod, as long as you don’t then copy those files onto your friends computer or iPod.

As for tv program downloads and music on the internet there are numerous legal options, including online services that sell individual recordings to download and keep, others offer unlimited access to a media archives in return for either a monthly fee or a one off membership fee.

There are also plenty of TV program downloads that are both legal and free, these include one-off promotions from the major companies as well as products from little known production companies or upcoming bands who are more interested in exposure and making a name for themselves than making a profit.

As we’ve already seen there is nothing the media industry fears more (for obvious reasons) than the uncontrolled distribution of its copyrighted material.

It is difficult (impossible?) to see how the companies can stop people sharing files they have copied from their own CD’s or PC files even if they manage to legally kill off the underground file sharing networks.

The major companies do however have a strategy for stopping people freely distributing media they have legally purchased.

Its called Digital Rights Management or DRM, it involves embedding special pieces of code into music files for instance, (or TV program downloads or other formats for that matter) which digitally impose certain restrictions on what you can do with that file.

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Satellite TV – Is It Right for You?

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Satellite TV is one of the most prominent options in today’s market for entertainment. Local television programming has become one of the least favorite options of television viewers. Even cable service can be limiting. However, many turn to big network providers as a way of getting more channels and improved overall service. Before you consider installing any of these systems into your home, there are a few things to take into consideration. Keep in mind that these companies offer changes all of the time.

You Don’t Have to Make the Decision on Your Own

Perhaps one of the most important things people should know about satellite TV is that they do not have to decide whether to use this service on their own. Rather, they can find experts who can offer a consultation. The consultation will involve looking at your location, your product option choices, your viewing habits and other things to determine what is really best for you.

Why do you need this type of professional service? In many cases, companies are happy to trick you or to make it hard for you to compare products offered. For example, you may find yourself confused as to which company has the better deal. You may be worried about the quality of the service you will get in your specific area (since this can change from one location to the next.) You may be worried about the installation process as well as what it may entail. All of these things can add up quickly.

Who Is It Right For?

There are key advantages to using satellite TV as your choice. If you are unsure if it is right for you, consider the following things.

– Do you want to have access to more television channels? More so, is there a channel that you want to have that is not available through your local cable provider?

– Are you looking for a lower cost? Oftentimes, this type of service is less expensive than using traditional cable television, especially if you want access to more channels and specific types of channels.

– Are you okay with having a dish and managing it? Though some say these are less reliable, they do not have to be with proper installation.

There are many questions to ask when considering whether satellite TV is the right option for you. Keep in mind that everyone’s needs are different. There is not one service that is better for everyone. However, there are many ways for you to learn about your options in programming and costs. Consider your viewing habits. How will they change once you have this type of service compared to what you are used to right now?

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